Starting my essay on propaganda finally…

Well, it’s been a full week since I updated this blog, and I don’t want to neglect the poor thing, as it’s my own academic Tamagochi, and needs a bit of care and attention every now and then.

Today I’ve been pouring over various books on propaganda, PR, design, design history and semiotics, in a fraught attempt to tie the whole thing together into one cohesive essay, and I’ve actually filled my personal sketchbook with notes and quotes from said books. I’ve tried to look over a pretty wide range of material, the list of which is down at the bottom of this post for my own reference more than anything.

[Meggs’ History of Graphic Design by Phillip B. Meggs / Alston W. Purvis]

One book I took a gander through was the mammoth encyclopedia of visual design that is Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, a book I’d heard plenty about, and managed to haul back from the library this morning. It’s just over 600 pages long, and isn’t the smallest piece of literature in the world, but is without a doubt the most comprehensive historical document of design that you’ll find out there. It was, for the purposes of the essay, a tad too factual, as the essay needs to tackle abstract concepts such as semiotics and Roland Barthes’concepts of dennotation and connotation in symbols used in society, but for simple facts and such it’s a handy resource.

Though it doesn’t really have a contents page. Design fail right there. It baffles me why a book would not have a contents page, and the same goes for the otherwise beautifully design Graphic Design: A User’s Manual, which I featured a couple of months ago.

Anyway, here’s the literature list I’ve gotten through over the course of my propaganda research, they’re all thrilling and rivetting in equal measures… though some of them are actually quite fine reads.

Richard Hollis     Graphic Design: A Concise History

Adrian Shaughnessy       Graphic Design: A User’s Manual

Phillip B. Meggs / Alston W. Purvis           Meggs’ History of Graphic Design

Nancy Snow       Propaganda Inc. : Selling America’s Culture to the World

Roger Silverstone            The Message of Television

Marshall McLuhan           The Guttenberg Galaxy

Roland Barthes                 Mythologies


Listening to: Big Red Machine by Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner


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