Classic Books Revisited: Sixties Design


Originally published over two decades ago, Philippe Garner's "Sixties Design" remains the gold standard in encapsulating the visual aesthetic of those ten years. As comprehensive as a single volume can be, Garner looks at most every area of design, from corporate branding to household product design to concert posters.

A decade of conflicts, the '60s were the period where companies pared down their image with streamlined Helvetica logos (pictured below) while hand-drawn, acid-influenced graphics dominated the psychedelic scene with artists like Wes Wilson (above right). It was also the era of space exploration, which lead to iconic films (see: Kubrick's heavily stylized "2001: A Space Odyssey") as well as futuristic furniture, like the profusion of "globe chairs" (below).


Written in French, German and English, the actual editorial substance is light. But what it lacks in words it more than makes up for with stunning imagery. Simply flipping through the pages creates a barrage of stunning designs that still echoes in today's visual landscape.

A must-have in the collection of professional or novice designers of any stripe, "Sixties Design" was out of print in recent years. Taschen has the book and is now releasing a special 25th-anniversary edition. You can purchase it for $15 on their Amazon.