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If All the World Were Paper
By David Barringer
Apologies to the anonymous poet of “If All the World Were Paper”

If all the world were paper,
And all the sea were ink,
Becoming a Graphic Designer
Would be just the thing, I think.

If I didn’t know where to start,
I could always look for help
On the shelves and shelves of bookstores
Where guides grow thick as kelp.

From A History and Design Literacy
To Universal Principles of Design,
I’d never find out how good I could be.
I’d be reading all of the time.

I’d be doing Visual Research
Into Visual Design Fundamentals.
And I’d be getting a Visual Workout
In the gym of the two-dimensional.

I would dream of Designing Books,
Not 1,000 Bags, Tags and Labels.
And I would use The Digital Toolkit
To brace my rickety table.

The table, after all, would buckle
From the weight of Colossal Design.
The tomes and volumes could move me
To a career of a lighter kind.

But that’s the trick of the business
Of publishing this and that guide.
The books believed in my talent.
I just needed their tools at my side.

So maybe I lacked Visual Literacy.
Graphically Speaking, I was blind.
But the purchase of a mere book or three
Could put A Smile in the Mind.

If I have to ask, “What Is Graphic Design?”
Perhaps I will never know.
But I can rely on publishers
To sell me a Creative Jolt.

To help me unlock the Creative Code
To the bank of Visual Creativity,
I’d add one part of Creative Sparks
To two parts Inspirability.

I’d need the Geometry of Design
To plot my Creative Edge.
And I’d calculate Design by Numbers
To know which bets to hedge.

From 100 Habits and 7 Essentials,
Design is a matter of knowing
That there is no Creative Utopia
Only various degrees of logo-ing.

Open the Graphic Design Cookbook
In the kitchen of creativity.
For Fresh Ideas, follow closely
The Little Book of Logo Recipes.

Resenting The Power of Paper,
I might opt for The Design of Dissent.
Or else I might cry, “Graphic Design Now!”
If I were feeling impatient.

I doubt I’d dig Design Management.
There’d be More Paperwork than I’d like.
I’d rather make Marks of Excellence
And stay home Thinking with Type.

The “rebels” want Bullet-Proof Logos
And Radical Type Design.
They’re always Making and Breaking the Grid
When profit is on the line.

You want an Idea Revolution?
The Idea of Design causes stress.
Creative Solutions or Quick Solutions?
Problem Solved, I guess.

I’d expect Graphic Agitation,
Frustration, ennui, and remorse.
But after a mere 401 Design Meditations,
I’d be calm, and on track, and on course.

I’d climb Inside the Business of Graphic Design
To see all Forms, Folds and Sizes.
There’s more to The Business Side of Creativity
Than anyone ever realizes.

Success in Selling Graphic Design
Depends on knowing dark arts,
Like giving an Emotional Branding
Without ever leaving Lovemarks.

Eat Me, Touch This, and Surprise Me!
I’d never let the audience get bored.
Emotion as Promotion makes Designs That
Stand Up, Speak Out, and Can’t be Ignored.

If The Culting of Brands were my aim
When Designing Brand Identity,
Then as Citizen Brand, I’d be bound
To lose all Brand Sense and sensibility.

Oh, to be a Creative Type
Who knows how to keep Type in Use,
I need only visit the bookstore
For a few Design Secrets and clues.

Whatever index I’d need to read
I’d read today, if not quicker.
I know I could fill in The Brand Gap,
Just by shouting, “Make It Bigger!”

I’d need no Visual Thesaurus
To describe what’s on the shelf:
Identity Solutions are there in a row!
Read up! And Design Yourself!

If all the world were paper,
And all the sea were ink,
I’d cling to the promise of guidebooks
To help me swim—or sink.

Sixty-nine book titles appear in the 26-stanza poem. Sixty-three of the books were published between 2000 and 2005. Thirty-one were published in 2004 and 2005.

In Order of Appearance:

Becoming a Graphic Designer: A Guide to Careers in Design, 2nd Edition
by Steven D. Heller, et al (Paperback — March 8, 2002)

A History of Graphic Design
by Philip Meggs (Hardcover — July 24, 1998)


Graphic Design: A History (Discoveries)
by Alain Weill (Paperback — July 1, 2004)

Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design
by Steven Heller (Paperback — September 2004)

Universal Principles of Design
by William Lidwell, et al (Hardcover — October 2003)

Visual Research : An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design (AVA Academia S.)
by Ian Noble, Russell Bestley (Paperback — April 28, 2005)

Visual Design Fundamentals: A Digital Approach (Graphics Series)
by Alan Hashimoto (Paperback — December 24, 2003)

Visual Workout: Creativity Workbook (Paperback)
by Robin Landa, OnWord Press (Acquired Titles); 1 edition (July 18, 2000)

Designing Books: Practice and Theory
by Jost Hochuli, Robin Kinross (Paperback — April 2004)

1,000 Bags, Tags, And Labels: Distinctive Designs For Every Industry
by Cheryl Dangel Cullen (Paperback — September 30, 2005)

The Graphic Designer’s Digital Toolkit
by Alan Wood (Paperback — December 15, 2003)

Colossal Design
by Clare Warmke (Hardcover — August 2003)

Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Graphic Problem Solving (Paperback)
by Judith Wilde, Richard Wilde
Watson-Guptill Publications (April 15, 2000)

Graphically Speaking: A Visual Lexicon for Achieving Better Designer-Client Communication (Graphic Design) (Hardcover)
by Lisa Buchanan, How Design Books (November, 2002)

A Smile in the Mind
by Beryl McAlhone (Paperback — August 13, 1998)

What Is Graphic Design?: Essential Design Handbooks (Graphic Design for the Real World)
by Quentin Newark (Hardcover — December 2002)

Creative Jolt (Paperback)
by Denise Anderson, Rose Gonnella, Robin Landa
Publisher: North Light Books; 1st ed edition (November, 2000)

Creative Code: Aesthetics + Computation
by John Maeda (Paperback — October 30, 2004)

Visual Creativity
by Mario Pricken (Hardcover — September 30, 2004)

Creative Sparks (Hardcover)
by Jim Krause, How Design Books (August, 2003)

Inspirability: 40 Top Designers Speak Out About What Inspires
by Matt Pashkow (Hardcover — May 30, 2005)

Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition (Paperback)
by Kimberly Elam, Princeton Architectural Press (August, 2001)

Creative Edge: Letterhead + Business Card Design (Creative Edge)
by Lynn Haller (Hardcover — April 2001)

Design By Numbers
by John Maeda (Paperback — October 1, 2001)

100 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers: Insider Secrets on Working Smart and Staying Creative (Hardcover)
by Plazm, Sarah Dougher, Joshua Berger. Rockport 2003.

The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design
by Allison Goodman (Paperback — September 2001)

Creative Utopia: 12 Ways to Realize Total Creativity
by Theo Stephan Williams (Paperback — April 2002)

Graphic Design Cookbook: Mix & Match Recipes for Faster, Better Layouts
by Leonard Koren, R. Wippo Meckler (Paperback — May 2001)

Fresh Ideas in Letterhead and Business Card Design (Fresh Ideas, 4)
by Gail Deibler Finke (Paperback — February 2002)

The Little Book of Logo Recipes : Successful Designs and How to Create Them
by David E. Carter (Paperback — May 4, 2004)

The Power Of Paper In Graphic Design
by Catharine Fishel (Paperback — October 2004)

The Design Of Dissent
by Milton Glaser, et al (Hardcover — May 31, 2005)

Graphic Design Now
by Charlotte Fiell (Editor), Peter Fiell (Editor) (Hardcover — November 2005)

Design Management: Using Design to Build Brand Value and Corporate Innovation
by Brigitte Borja De Mozota (Paperback — March 2004)

More Paperwork (Hardcover)
by Nancy Williams, Phaidon Press (July 1, 2005)

Marks of Excellence
by Per Mollerup (Paperback — March 18, 1999)

Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students (Design Briefs) (Paperback)
by Ellen Lupton, Princeton Architectural Press (October 31, 2004)

Bullet-Proof Logos: Creating Great Designs Which Avoid Legal Problems
by David E. Carter (Editor), James R. Higgins (Introduction) (Paperback — March 15, 2000)

Radical Type Design
by Teal Triggs (Paperback — May 1, 2005)

Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop
by Timothy Samara (Paperback — May 31, 2005)

Idea Revolution: Guidelines and Prompts for Brainstorming Alone, in Groups or With Clients (Graphic Design) (Paperback)
by Clare Warmke, Lisa Buchanan, How Design Books (January, 2003)

The Idea of Design
by Victor Margolin (Editor), Richard Buchanan (Editor) (Paperback — February 21, 1996)

Creative Solutions for Unusual Projects: Includes Templates, Formats, Guidelines
by Scott Boylston (Paperback — August 2001)

Quick Solutions to Great Layouts
by Graham Davis (Paperback — November 2001)

Problem Solved (Paperback)
by Michael Johnson (2004)

Graphic Agitation 2: Social and Political Graphics in the Digital Age
by Liz McQuiston (Hardcover — July 6, 2004)

401 Design Meditations: Wisdom, Insights, And Intriguing Thoughts From 244 Leading Designers
by Catharine Fishel (Hardcover — April 30, 2005)

Inside the Business of Graphic Design: 60 Leaders Share Their Secrets of Success (Paperback)
by Catharine Fishel, Allworth Press (January, 2003)

Forms Folds and Sizes: All the Details You Can Never Find but Need to Know (Turtleback)
by Poppy Evans, Rockport Publishers (April, 2004)

The Business Side of Creativity: The Complete Guide for Running a Graphic Design or Communications Business (Paperback)
by Cameron S. Foote, Mark Bellerose (Illustrator), W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (June, 2002) 432 pages

Selling Graphic Design, Second Edition
by Don Sparkman (Paperback — July 1999)

Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People (Hardcover)
by Marc Gobé, Sergio Zyman
Watson-Guptill Publications; 1st edition (January 15, 2001)

Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands (Hardcover)
by A. G. Lafley (Foreword), Kevin Roberts
powerHouse Books; Revised edition (November 4, 2005)

Eat Me: delicious, desirable, successful food packaging design
by Ben Hargreaves (Hardcover — May 2004)

Touch This: Graphic Design That Feels
by Scott Witham (Hardcover — April 30, 2005)

Surprise Me: Editorial Design
by Horst Moser (Hardcover — December 2003)

Emotion as Promotion
by Rick Valicenti (Hardcover — April 21, 2005)

Designs That Stand Up, Speak Out, And Can’t Be Ignored: Promotions
by Lisa Hickey (Hardcover — October 30, 2004)

The Culting of Brands : Turn Your Customers into True Believers (Paperback)
by Douglas Atkins, Portfolio Trade (May 31, 2005)

Designing Brand Identity: A Complete Guide to Creating, Building, and Maintaining Strong Brands (Hardcover)
by Alina Wheeler, Wiley; 1 edition (January 15, 2003)

Citizen Brand: 10 Commandments for Transforming Brands in a Consumer Democracy (Hardcover)
by Marc Gobé, Watson-Guptill Publications (November, 2002)

Brand Sense : Build Powerful Brands through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound (Hardcover)
by Philip Kotler (Foreword), Martin Lindstrom
Free Press (February 1, 2005)

Creative Type: A Sourcebook of Classical and Contemporary Letterforms
by Cees W. De Jong, et al (Hardcover — September 1, 2005)

Type in Use: Effective Typography for Electronic Publishing
by Alex White (Paperback — June 1999)

Design Secrets: Products 2: 50 Real-Life Projects Uncovered
by Lynn Haller, et al (Hardcover — October 2004)

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
by Marty Neumeier, New Riders Press; 1st edition (January 24, 2003)

Make It Bigger (Paperback)
by Paula Scher (2002 hc, 2005 in paperback)

Visual Thesaurus: A Quick Flip Brainstorming Tool for Graphic Designers
by Hatmaker (Turtleback — February 2003)

Identity Solutions: How to Create Effective Brands With Letterheads, Logos and Business Cards
by Cheryl Cullen, Amy Schell (Hardcover — April 2003)

Design Yourself!
by Kurt Hanks, et al (Paperback — August 1977)
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ARCHIVE ID 2506 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Jan.01.2006 BY Speak Up
Elizabeth’s comment is:

We are such nerds (in a totally awesome way!) Thanks for the great compilation.

On Jan.02.2006 at 01:16 AM
Ravenone’s comment is:

How I ache for a Barnes & Noble, or for a library that actually gets in the things I'd ask it to loan...

Poetry and a book list.

Now the question is: How many of these books 1) do you own and 2) Have you read?

On Jan.02.2006 at 02:19 AM
marian bantjes’s comment is:

Holy ... cow! I don't know what to say, except what a wonderful post. It's refergraphalicious!

On Jan.02.2006 at 02:21 AM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

David, as always, you deliver a fun and informative read.

On Jan.02.2006 at 09:09 AM
djs42s’s comment is:

The poem is a great Holiday Treat!

The irony of it is, is how often does reality

and book knowledge agree or meet?

On Jan.02.2006 at 02:44 PM
Randy’s comment is:

I feel like I keep hearing news of a decline in the livelihood of design publishing. Is that really the case? Obvivously there is an increased market for design books which vary greatly from eye-candy to critical writing, so what's the forecast?

Own: 14

Read: 16

On Jan.03.2006 at 04:43 PM