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How to Use This Book
The majority of this book catalogs a varied
collection of graphical elements to which
a graphic designer can turn in developing
unique, engaging visual solutions on behalf
of his or her clients
a breadth of composi-
tional devices that can be used as is, or
combined as needed for more intriguing
results. This section, “Graphic Elements,
presents fi fty-seven categories of such
elements, divided into four distinct groups:
“Pictorial Staples” (icons, abstract languages,
textures, and patterns); “Chromatic Con-
cepts” (formal and conceptual color palettes);
Typographic Stylings” (typeface com-
binations, form manipulations, editorial
confi gurations, and ornamental devices);
and “Layout Strategies” (methods for
dividing pages, cropping, and grid structures).
Each category fi lls two pages and has been
assigned a number; within those pages, the
individual elements are also numbered. The
category number, plus the individual element
number, create a reference code for that
particular combination. For example, the
pictorial category Textures: Representational
is numbered
10. The last element in that cat-
egory (in the lower-right corner) is numbered
072, so that elements reference code is 10072.
Once a designer has established the
elements to be mixed, he or she must then be
able to consider what possibilities exist for
these combinations in practical application
and how different elements may combine to
create appropriate communications. In the
second major section, “Project Strategies,
the elements are used in hypothetical layouts
for a range of project types
design strategies
formulated to illustrate specifi c composi-
tional and conceptual goals. Each project
strategy begins with a Project Communication
a design brief that outlines the projects
conceptual and visual communication goals
to provide readers a context for the approach-
es being demonstrated. Translation of the
English language typography that appears in
the design solutions is also provided in
this introduction. All of the elements used
are listed by their reference codes and a
Reference Code
Job:07-26153 Title:RP-Graphic Designer’s Essential Reference PB Edn
#175 Dtp:204 Page:10
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Job:07-26153 Title:RP-Graphic Designer’s Essential Reference PB Edn
#175 Dtp:204 Page:11
001-035_26153.indd 11 7/12/11 10:31 AM
brief Visual Profi le describes how those
elements interact, both visually and with
regard to the meanings they evoke. Further-
more, the effect of substituting one or more
elements in the same strategy is shown as a
series of variations, so designers may under-
stand both the visual and the evocative results
of mixing different elements in similar kinds
of layouts. Scattered among the strategy
pages are real-world examples of related
prepared by some of the world’s
top designers.
While the catalog of elements is com-
prehensive, and the strategies offer broad
approaches that will help a designer start
conceptualizing a project, its important to
note that no formula is offered here, only
a mindset
an excursion into some of the
limitless possibilities of bringing image, type,
and layout together. It will always be the
designers task to determine not just which
elements go together, but also what
modifi cations an element will need to
work best. It’s the idea of using an archetypal
icon, rather than a photograph, embodied
in that element; what the icon shows,
and its specifi c drawing quality, are other
questions to be pondered.
Similarly, the strategies present method-
ologies, rather than set procedures, for
using the graphic elements
just as cooking
recipes do for the chef. A good cook knows
that Chicken Milanese is a recipe for a breaded
cutlet in a white wine and butter sauce;
but the thickness of the cutlet, the amount
of fl our and egg, the proportion of wine to
butter, and the duration of cooking are all
variables the cook is free to change to accom-
plish his or her own vision of the dish. So,
too, graphic designers must look beyond the
hard-and-fast strategy presentation to deter-
mine which aspects of the strategy are most
appropriate, which need modifi cation for his
or her particular purposes, and which must
be discarded or combined with other strategy
concepts to resolve the project in the most
compelling and satisfying manner.
Elements used in a given recipe
are listed by their reference codes,
categorized by section, and
supplemented by their respective
page numbers.
Each recipe is accompanied by a
Project Communication Brief that describes the
reasoning behind ingredient selection
and layout decisions.
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