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Designers are conceptual pack rats. They pack as much raw material in their brains as possible and then use that to build their own unique designs. "The Anatomy of Design" is what, in the butcher business, they call a "side of beef." The authors selected fifty examples of graphic design that will be dissected, piece by piece, tissue by tissue, revealing an array of influences and inspirations. These are not necessarily the most well-known or celebrated objects of graphic design, though many contain the genetic codes of some canonical works. Instead, these represent contemporary artifacts that are well conceived, finely crafted, and filled with hidden treasures. Some are overtly complex and their influences are somewhat easy to see with the naked eye. Others are so simple that it is hard to believe there is a storehouse of inspiration hidden underneath.
The selections include all kinds of design work including posters, book and record covers, packages, catalog covers, and more. Each exhibit is selected based on its ubiquity, thematic import, and aesthetic significance, and every page is a means to show how great work is derived from various inspirational and physical sources, some well-known, some unknown. Each design is presented on a gate-fold showing the featured design and and other works that share the key influences with extended captions explaining the whys and wherefores.
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