Autumn 2003

World Without Words [EXTRACT]

World Without Words

By Michael Evamy
Laurence King Publishing, £28

‘The graphic design in this book is the kind that slips silently by us, all the time, every day,’ writes Michael Evamy in his introduction to this critique of what he sees as the corporate sector’s increasing shift towards textless signage and visual shorthand. ‘It performs a function that is increasingly in demand in our world: that of imparting information without the need for words.’

After throwing down the disclaimer that he doesn’t have any ‘grand schemes’ in mind nor is he making any ‘claims about the supremacy’ of visuals over language, Evamy – a copywriter and self-described ‘verbal communicator’ whose previous credits include a book that told the story of the development of the Bluewater Retail Centre as well as a stint working for Design magazine – proceeds to offer an overview of ‘wordless visuals’ within a historical context, ranging from early examples of cave art to the homogenisation of road signs in Europe after the 1949 UN World Conference on Road and Motor Transport to Nike’s ‘textless swoosh’ global avertising campaign in 1996 . . .

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