Let me first start this off by saying I did not realize how much there was too graphic design. I knew many computer related things were involved, but all of the detailed thought that is dedicated to the process is absolutely incredible. Vignelli goes about explaining the processes behind this detailed thought from a designer point of view. Vignelli has plenty of experience on this end. Especially since he and his wife work together in graphic design. The first major point that was made clear to me was that the designer must have meaning or semantics. If not, then the audience will not understand what they are looking at.
Since the audience understanding the designer’s semantics is so important, there are two factors that the designer must think about: input and output. If the input is not correct, the output will not make sense. There are also several other details I learned about from reading this short book! These newly learned ideas (to me) include: pragmatics, discipline, appropriateness and visual power, timelessness, and responsibility. Pragmatics is the efficiency of the design and making sure the intent of the designer is clear. Discipline is the attention to detail, which requires boundaries and rules. Appropriateness and visual power is the importance of portraying appropriate images to highly influence the viewer in the correct manner. Timelessness is the idea that certain images and designs are a part of society and that changing something all of a sudden is not always beneficial. Responsibility involves the designer holding him or herself responsible for the work they have created. All of these thoughts and ideas are included in the first part of the book called “The Intangibles.”
The second part of the book known as “The Tangibles,” takes pragmatics, discipline, appropriateness and visual power, timelessness, and responsibility and ties it all together. Vignelli goes on to explain the use of layouts, grids, as well as many other tools used in graphic design. This part of the book explains the graphic design process all the way to the printing process.
Overall, this book was an eye opener to a world I knew nothing about! Vignelli did an excellent job at explaining the details of the graphic design process in a simple and respectable manner.