The Dictionary of Visual Language

The Dictionary of Visual Language


The Dictionary of Visual Language. Philip Thompson/Peter Davenport. 1980.

This is the 1982 paperback edition. Penguin Books. 1200 entries are illustrated by over 1700 examples, provided by the work of the world's leading art directors, graphic designers, photographers, illustrators and artists of the last four decades.

Rick Poynor: 'Seventeen years ago, in Eye magazine, I wrote that this book deserved immediate reissue. It didn’t happen, but I still think the same. As with some other books in this list, I include the dictionary, published in 1980, not because it will be easy to find, but because its originality will more than repay the effort. The book shows graphic design as an endlessly reusable and readaptable system of graphic ideas. So, under P, we find Painting, Palette, Palindrome, Palm Tree, Palmist’s Hand, Paper, Paper Boat, Paper Clip, and so on. Each of these kinds of graphic image is shown as it was used in a real piece of work. A wonderfully stimulating book.’

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