Penn State

Keith M. Cummings - associate professor of graphic design, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Meggs' History of Graphic Design

Author: Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis

Book Description:

When Philip B. Meggs published the first edition of A History of Graphic Design in 1983, the book was immediately recognized as a seminal volume for the discipline of graphic design, for in the book Meggs created, for the first time, a substantive and linear history of the graphic design profession--detailing technological innovations, related historic events and artistic movements from the earliest forms of visual communication to the digital era. The book quickly became the standard instructional manual for young designers and design educators, and I was introduced to the book several years later in my first history of graphic design class. For me, as for countless other students, the book was—and continues to be—an inspiration, instilling a love of history, providing context for contemporary trends in design, and acting as a valuable research tool.



As a graduate student, I had the pleasure of studying under Meggs at Virginia Commonwealth University and was taken by his vast store of historical knowledge, his wit and humor, and above all, his profound humility. Since Meggs’ passing in 2002, the fourth edition of the book has been published, and for this edition the title has been changed to Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, a right and fitting tribute to a man who dedicated himself to graphic design history and to the education of young designers.

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