It’s been a long time since I last opened a graphic design textbook. With the “Guide to Graphic Design”, I have now refreshed my design school memories. Thanks to the author, Scott Santoro.

When opening this book, the fist good thing for me was the structure of the book. The textbook I had in Switzerland was basically just a history of graphic design. It was very good, but not practical. Santoro’s book includes exercises, step-by-step design processes, and access to MyArtsLab (which doesn’t come with every version of the book), among other things. One thing is sure, it required an experienced graphic design professor to build this textbook.


The theory included in the book does a great job mixing some historical parts with case studies that show the real-life work of top graphic designers. However, the theory is not the most interesting part of this book. The real added-value comes from the exercises that help the students, or even experienced designers, to develop their critical thinking.

The exercises are designed in a very engaging manner, with a mix of quick exercises and more in-depth projects. It is taken one step further with personalized learning through MyArtsLab, the online homework, tutorial, and assessment program that is useful for both the students and the teacher, who can evaluate the class performance through it.


In the book, readers can also learn from the designers’ contributions. The author asked some graphic designers and firms to write short essays about their work, their working habits, and their inspirations. Other people’s experience is a great way to learn as well.

Now do yourself a favor, even if you are an experienced graphic designer, do yourself a favor and go buy the book. Even if you don’t have the time to read it for yourself (which you should), it makes a great gift for the interns in your design studio.