Graphic: 500 Designs that MatterPhaidon Editors

Five hundred of the most iconic graphic designs of all time, from the beginnings of mechanical reproduction to the present

The process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, space, image, and colour informs the way we connect across languages and cultures. Derived from the acclaimed Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design, this fascinating compendium celebrates the long, rich history of graphic design, from the first sample of movable type and the Nuremberg Chronicle of the fifteenth century to the cutting-edge magazines, posters, and ephemera of today. Compiled and written by a global team of experts, this book is international in its scope and appeal.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 163 × 123 mm (6 3/8 × 4 7/8 in)
  • Pages: 708 pp
  • Illustrations: 1000 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714873848

Conceived and edited by Phaidon Editors

"Good graphic design can be informative, persuasive – and sometimes even moving... [This book] surveys some of the highlights over the past 600 years."—Wall Street Journal

"Wonderful... A history of visual astonishment." —Observer

"An impressive, exhaustive, rigorously researched, and beautifully produced compendium of seminal designs spanning newspaper, magazines, posters, advertisements."—

"The commercial art cannon embodied... Everything from a 700-year-old Buddhist text to the album art of Beck's The Information."—T: The New York Times Style Magazine

"Each entry is like an individual artwork... A defiant stand, perhaps, against the digital world, and all about the beauty of paper and printing."—Financial Times

"[T]his stocky red book is a compendium of the 500 most important pieces of graphic design, ever... Who could ever resist parsing such a superlative list?"—Wired Online

"Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter is like time travel for design nerds."—Wired Online

"...Delightful."—AIGA Eye on Design

"Celebrates six hundred years of typography, symbols, slogans and logos shaping our world. An appropriately minimalist and visually satisfying approach sees each example presented as a single, full-page illustration."—

"Admire Beatles album covers and I Heart NY posters."—Stylist

"Bad Graphic design. It can never be justified. Thankfully Phaidon has compiled a book of some of the best examples and, oh crop, it's good... What's really nice about it all is how quickly you start to pick up on the peaks and troughs of the medium. The book's laid out, not alphabetically or chronologically, but by similarity... An invaluable resource to design students the world over."—

"Never before has anyone brought together the most iconic graphic designs of all time, but now you can see them all in Phaidon's latest epic masterpiece... This isn't a text that simply explores iconic designs; it's an historical work that visually catalogues our history."—

"You've probably encountered the same kind of issues we have with coffee table tomes. They're all just so BIG... and you'll never read them in case moving them should cause injury. Sigh. BUT Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter is rather petite in comparison. A bold red brick of a book, it's an international celebration of the most brilliant, creative and thought-provoking designs since the art began. And guess what? You can perch it neatly on the top of your stack, like the peak of a literary pyramid."—

"Dinky but comprehensive... An international range of successful and timeless designs... Stylish and inspiring book... of interest with anyone with a feel for design in any capacity."—Absolutely Home

"The postcard-size, 700-page book spans 600 years, presenting readers with the best in visual communication... For clarity, the chunky tome also feaures a timeline, highlighting graphic design's journey that spans both geography and time."—

"Books about design tend to be like supermodels-tall and slender. Graphic: 500 Designs That Matter is short and fat, the shape of 16 smartphones stacked on top of one another... A solid introduction to the subject."—Newsweek

"...Spans all mediums and time periods to create a truly unique perspective on design as a whole... [A] greatpiece to add to your collection of design nerd books."—Cool Material

"The selection and, in particular, the double page pairings, are very pleasing... Throughout the book all of the designs, chosen by Phaidon's editorial team alongside designers and critics, are well placed."—Aesthetica

"Explores the impact of design on our social and cultural lives."—

"[Graphic] remixes 600 years of graphic design to encourage a fresh look at its most iconic visuals through unexpected connections of color, shapes, patterns, and themes."—Hyperallergic

"A superbly eclectic volume."—Daily Telegraph

"[C]ollects milestones from the rich history of visual communication into a single tome of pioneering design and typology."—Timeline

"Typography and graphic design lovers, adorn your coffee table with Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter, an illustrated chronicle of iconic visual communications throughout history."—Phoenix Home & Garden

"[T]his fascinating treasury of classics... is a captivating cultural and historical examination of five hundred iconic works... It is a pivotal addition to the development of graphic design as a scholarly discipline and an important resource on contemporary graphic design."—Technical Communication

"Good design has power... This book explores the most important designs in the past 500 years." —Wired