Grids: Their Meaning and Use for Federal Designers

Massimo Vignelli Grids

Massimo Vignelli Grids

Massimo Vignelli Grids

“Grids: Their Meaning and Use for Federal Designers” is a book based on a presentation given by Massimo Vignelli at a seminar for federal graphic designers at the Illinois Institute of Technology on November 10, 1976.

He covers the basics of grid design, then shows how grids were used in some of the projects that he worked on. It’s a nice little read. Hi-res scan of the entire book is available here.

Via Sean Wolcott

271 Year Old Color Guide

1692 Boogert Color Guide

1692 Boogert Color Guide

1692 Boogert Color Guide

This blew my mind.

“Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau” is an 800-page color guide, written in 1692 by an artist known as A. Boogert. The book describes and shows in detail how to use and mix colors. I can’t even begin to imagine how long this took to make, and the fact that the colors are still so vibrant is astonishing. This is a work of art, and I would bet that most of what is in this book is still relevant today.

It’s also great to see that Boogert was also educated in grid systems. Have a look at how those swatches are organized.

A hi-res gallery of the entire book is available here

Via Colossal

Five Simple Steps


Mark Boulton’s Five Simple Steps: A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web is finally available in PDF format for only £12.

A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web aims to teach you techniques for designing your website using the principles of graphic design. Featuring five sections, each covering a core aspect of graphic design: Getting Started, Research, Typography, Colour, and Layout. Learn solid graphic design theory that you can simply apply to your designs, making the difference from a good design to a great one.

I’m about to download it and check this baby out. Very exciting.        

The Vignelli Canon


I introduce to you, The Holy Grail.

Massimo Vignelli has published an amazing 96 page book on better understanding typography in graphic design, according to him. The book gives specific details on Vignelli’s methodology and approach as well as how he decides on paper sizes, typefaces and other tangibles. There is also a nice section on grids.

It’s an excellent book that every designer should read. The book is available for free online in PDF format but I do hope they print this one out because it’s a masterpiece in my opinion.        

The Typographic Desk Reference


For a type geek such as myself, it doesn’t get better than this! I know John will definitely love this.

The Typographic Desk Reference is a quick reference guide of typographic terms and classification with definitions of form and usage for Latin based writing systems. TDR contains over a thousand facts on typography.

Written and designed by Theodore Rosendorf the guide includes a foreword by Ellen Lupton, author of the excellent book Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. Can it get any better than this?

The principal text is set in Adobe Caslon, designed by Carol Twombly in 1989.

TDR will be available in January 2009 but you can pre-order a copy from Oak Knoll.        



Here’s another great studio from down under. Round is based out of Melbourne and has produced a solid body of work. My personal favorite is the beautifully designed Sydney Design Guide, a guide for the design savy tourist. Even though I live worlds away from Sydney, I might purchase this book just for the aesthetic aspect of it.