Guide to Graphic Design

Scott W. Santoro  
Total pages
January 2013
Related Titles


Learn to Conceptualize, Create, and Communicate in Graphic Design.


An exciting first edition, Guide to Graphic Design helps readers learn the mechanisms used to convey information, integrate ideas into full concepts, but most importantly, to think like a graphic designer.  Scott W. Santoro focuses on the principle that design is a layered and evolving profession. The text highlights step-by-step design processes and illustrates how to build good work habits.


Creations from top design firms and design school programs are presented in each chapter engaging readers through the book.  Designers have contributed short essays on their work style, their studio habits, and their inspirations. Each designer, showing a passion for design and communication, offers a new perspective and approach to possible working methods.


MyArtsLab is an integral part of the Santoro program. Key learning applications include, Closer Look tours, 12 Designer Profile videos and Writing About Art. 


This text is available in a variety of formats – digital and print. Pearson offers its titles on the devices students love through Pearson’s MyLab products, CourseSmart, Amazon, and more. To learn more about our programs, pricing options and customization, click the Choices tab.



A better teaching and learning experience

This program will provide a better teaching and learning experience–for you and your students. Here’s how:

  • Personalize Learning  - MyArtsLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program. It helps students prepare for class and instructor gauge individual and class performance.
  • Improve Critical Thinking - Exercises throughout the text help readers to make decisions and understanding the connection between an idea and its execution.
  • Engage Students - Each chapter presents quick, in-class exercises and longer, more involved projects.
  • Support Instructors - Instructor recourses are available in one convenient location. Figures, videos and teacher support materials create a dynamic, engaging course.





  • MyArtsLab - MyArtsLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program that truly engages students in learning. It helps students better prepare for class, quizzes, and exams—resulting in better performance in the course. It provides educators a dynamic set of tools for gauging individual and class performance. And, MyArtsLab comes from Pearson—your partner in providing the best digital learning experiences.
  • MyArtsLab Margin Icons - Margin icons guide students from their reading material to videos, Closer Looks, and exercises and projects at the end of the chapter.
  • Writing about Art - A complete and fully searchable guide on the forms and functions of writing about art. Written by Henry Sayre, and available online for the first time in its entirety.
  • 12 Designer Profile - Videos, recorded by the late Hillman Curtis, are intimate portraits of designers in their studios talking about their approaches, ideas, and love for the field of graphic design.
  • Pearson eText and Chapter Audio - Like the printed text, students can highlight relevant passages and add notes. The Pearson eText can be accessed through laptops, iPads, and tablets. Download the free Pearson eText app to use on tablets. Students can also listen to their text with the Audio eText.
  • Personalized Study Plan - Students’ personalized plans promote better critical thinking skills. The study plan organizes students’ study needs into sections, such as Remembering, Understanding, Applying, and Analyzing.
  • Blackboard Single Sign-on - MyArtsLab can be used by itself or linked to any course management system. Blackboard single sign-on provides deep linking to all New MyArtsLab resources.
  • Assignment Calendar & Gradebook - A drag and drop assignment calendar makes assigning and completing work easy. Theautomatically graded assessment provides instant feedback and flows into the gradebook, which can be used in the MyLab or exported.
  • MediaShare - A new digital drop box and portfolio tool can help students submit their work to instructors and facilitate online peer critiques.
  • Customizable - MyArtsLab is customizable. Instructors choose what students’ course looks like. Homework, applications, and more can easily be turned off and off.



  • Steps in the Design Process - Readers are given step-by-step instructions on how to approach solving a specific design task.
  • Chapter Objectives - List key learning goals that readers can work to achieve in each chapter.
  • Speakout - Personal accounts and experiences from designers and educators, intended to expose students to unique and varied perspectives on the field of graphic design.



  • Designer Vignettes - Interviews from well-known designers intended to inspire students and pique their interest in the material being discussed.
  • In Practice/ In Perspective - These features provide tips that offer real-world perspectives to the specific design problems being discussed.
  • Worklist - Sets of checkpoints and practicalities help students throughout the design process.
  • Virtual Crit Wall - Readers can virtual critique works of art by following Guide to Graphic Design on Instragram @guide2graphicdesign.
    • See some of Scott Santoro’s best student work currently displayed on the critique wall in his classroom.
    • Explore Santoro’s encounters with great graphic design in New York City.
    • Readers can join the conversations, or submit their own work by using hashtag #mycritwall.



  • PowerPoints - Featuring a selection of images from the book and links to videos with corresponding classroom discussion questions.
  • Custom course material - Work with a dedicated Pearson Custom editor to create your ideal textbook and web material- publishing your own original content or mixing and matching Pearson content. Contact your Pearson representative to get started.

Table of Contents

In this Section:
1) Brief Table of Contents

2) Full Table of Contents


Preface. Virtual Crit Wall, Dear Reader and Features

Chapter 1. About Graphic Design

Chapter 2. A Brief History of Graphic Design

Chapter 3. Graphic Design Concepts

Chapter 4. Researching a Graphic Design Project

Chapter 5. Generating Ideas

Chapter 6. The Elements and Principles of Form

Chapter 7. Type and Typography

Chapter 8. Proportion Systems: Grids and Alignments

Chapter 9. Concepts in Actions

Chapter 10. Visual Coding: Loading Form with Meaning

Chapter 11. Interactions and Motions Design

Chapter 12. Becoming a Designer


Chapter 1. About Graphic Design

Graphic Design’s Heritage

Graphic Design Categories

Being a Graphic Designer

Influences in Graphic Design

The Nuts and Bolts Process of Graphic Design

Chapter 2. A Brief History of Graphic Design

Industrial Expansion

A Turn-of-the-Century Response to Industrialization

Moving towards a Modern Sensibility

The Modern World

Designing Utopia

Ideological Independents and the New Typography

Modernism in America

Advertising Design and the New York School

Conceptual Image-Makers

Postmodernism and the Digital Age

Chapter 3. Graphic Design Concepts

From Ideas to Concepts

Concepts Go Further

Metaphoric Concepts

Analytic Concepts

Meta Concepts

Applying Conceptual Approaches

Chapter 4. Researching a Graphic Design Project

Gathering Information

Defining the Problem

Techniques for Visualizing Research

The Saturation Point

Chapter 5. Generating Ideas

Making a Creative Work Environment

Actively Generating Ideas

Generating Montaged Ideas

Benefitting from Playful Accidents

Refreshing Your Vision

Chapter 6. The Elements and Principles of Form

Form and Function

Compositional Elements

Compositional Principles

Chapter 7. Type and Typography

Speaking with Type

Historical Type

Type Classifications

Typeface Anatomy

Typeface Families and Fonts

Analytic Typography

Readable Texture

Metaphoric Typography

Vernacular Inspiration

Recontextualizing Type

Type in the Third Dimension

Chapter 8. Proportion Systems: Grids and Alignments

Defining a Grid

Developing Modular Grids

Developing Modular Patterns

Typographic Grids

Freestyle Alignments

Exploiting the Grid

The Golden Ratio

Paper Formats

Paper-Fold Formats

The Rule of Thirds

Chapter 9. Concepts in Actions

Concepts Inspired by a Subject’s Location

Analytic-Based Concepts

Using Research as a Conceptual Approach

Bringing a Bigger Idea to a Concept

Chapter 10. Visual Coding: Loading Form with Meaning

Visual Codes Do Send Messages

Tools for Visual Coding

Gestalt Perception

Design Using Gestalt Perception


Icon, Index, and Symbol

Visually Coded Identities

Logo Application

Why Create Meaning in a Design

Chapter 11. Interactions and Motions Design

Designing for a Virtual Space

Interaction and Motion Concepts

Digital Storytelling

The Design of Sound

The Expanding Realm of Graphic Design

Chapter 12. Becoming a Designer

Getting a Job in Graphic Design

Personal Website and Design Blog


The Business of Design

The You in Your Work

Design and Technology

Design and the Fine Arts


Scott W. Santoro is principal of Worksight, a New York City graphic design studio. He holds graphic design degrees from Pratt Institute (BFA) and Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA). He is also a graphic design professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and is an active speaker on graphic design issues. Scott has served as vice president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Design (AIGA) and as a national screening committee member for design as part of the Fulbright program. Visit him at