Cecilia Villegas
Industrial and Graphic Designer

Graphic Design Theory Book

The book “Graphic Design Theory” is used vastly for introductory design classes where people need to learn the history of graphic design through the ideology of some of the most influential designers in history. This book was approached as an information design project, since it seeks to represent each of the authors, their location, and relationship in time, to explain the nature of the book itself. Through the used of color, the book identifies each designer/writer with a particular color, predominant in the overall compendium of work throughout their professional career.  The design showcases the book’s heterogeneous content, as well as, the differences and relationships between all the authors and designers featured in the book. Portray the transition in the history of all the designers and the different design movements.


Based on interviews with classmates and other design students, I identified that the design of the current cover didn’t convey the eclectic content of the book. However, they realized the diversity and importance of the content for their design education. Aside from the cover and dividers design, I was assigned to design the essays by Paul Rand and Massimo Vignelli. Therefore, I did an extensive qualitative and quantitative research on both of them and their design strategies. This research led me to the research and analysis of, not only the authors assigned to me but also to all other authors, the relationship between them and their transition in history. 

When doing the qualitative research about Massimo Vignelli and Paul Rand, I started to wonder, if the other authors had a prevalent color that identifies them, the way Paul Rand and Massimo Vignelli are identified with a specific color or scheme. By using the website color thief (which identifies the most dominant color from an image), I put together outstanding projects from each of the authors and was able to determine what was the most dominant color for each contributor of the book. Based on these colors the design of the book became a systematic design where each essay has its determined color and in the cover and openers that the authors are organized chronologically, people can see the evolution of color use throughout history and design movements. The combination of the different colors reflects and portraits the eclectic content of the book, while at the same time, give an idea of who are the authors of the essays. The selection of the typefaces and the clean and straightforward design of the layout achieves the goal of showcasing the principles of design that Massimo Vignelli and Paul Rand in their careers.

The photos for this project are the result of a Collaboration with the talented photographer Hannah Kraus