Then is Now

Reviewed by Margo Rothwell


Then is Now: Sampling the Past for Today’s Graphics by Cheryl Dangel Cullen, is a book that examines 20th century design as inspiration for the 21st century designer. For every decade from the 1900 to 2000, there is a layout of the design and graphics from the media of the era. From type faces and color palettes, to layout design and advertisement, this handbook shows the evolution of the cultural design esthetic.

What I like about this book is that no matter the reader’s interest, I really feel that this book would inspire any individual. Also this book is in a way, a history book. It tells the history of the people and culture and how it develops throughout the century. It shows and talks about themes that continue and discontinue in advertisement. For example, big and bold prints are universally used to give emphasis to things like headlines on posters, newspapers and magazines, but there is a new color swatch for each decade.

Over all, I find that this book is very inspirational and have really enjoyed reading and looking through it. I can see how designers all over the world, can be inspired by looking to the past for inspiration and direction.