designers books

Published by Sébastien Hayez

Graphis Diagrams – Walter Herdeg (Graphis, 1974)

Written by Sébastien Hayez, 2 years ago, 23 Comments
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  • Graphis Diagrams – Walter Herdeg (Graphis, 1974)


184 pages: 354 b/w and color examples.
Print with a good result, nice colors and some pages are transparent specially for multy-layers maps.

In 1973, the issue 165 of Graphis magazine was a special issue The Artist in the Service of Science, then published in 1974 as an hardcover edition. Herderg continue with this scientific side of graphic design with a whole book full of diagrams & abstract data graphics. A small part of the examples were published in the previous issues but most of the content was selected and published for the first time. Herdeg said:

“The purpose of this book is to show the designer how abstract facts or functions which cannot be simply depicted like natural objects may be given visual expression by suitable graphic transformation. It also reviews the means of visualizing physical and technical processes which are not perceptible to the eye. The optimum synthesis of aesthetics and information value remains the essential objective in every type of diagrammatic presentation…”

Probably one of the preciousest Graphis book, Diagrams is the synthesis of what graphic design can do at his best: giving a body to abstracts concepts and help the reader to think by himself. It could be easy to link this book to modernism style or to what is commonly called Swiss style (the cover is a perfect example). Functionnality, legibility are important keywords but a lot of graphics show that diagrams can be designed with a powerfull style without loosing it soul. With the great success of this volume (2 others augmented editions were published in 1976 & 1979) B. Martin Pedersen (new President of Graphis Press) continue in 1988 with a new serie of Graphis, numbered from 1 to… 2: well, even if some examples are great, the quality and interest are not the same for theese two editions.

A book like this is not so hard to find, Graphis was spread all over the world: copies can be found from Japan, Europe or USA without any problem. Prices are mostly over 150€ but I’m selling my own personal copy on eBay. Post a comment with your e-mail for more informations.


  • Editors Foreword by Walter Herdeg
  • Introduction by Leslie Segal
  • Comparative Statistical Diagrams
  • Flow Diagams, Organization Charts, etc.
  • Diagram Visualizing Functions, Processes
  • Tabulations, Timetables, etc.
  • Cartographic Diagrams, Decorative Maps
  • Diagrams used as Design Elements, Computer-plotted diagrams
  • Index to Artists & Designers
  • Index to Agencies & Studios
  • Index to Clients &Publishers

French graphic designer and teacher Peter Gabor have done 3 complete post on his blog about Graphis Diagrams. It’s here, there and here.

About Sébastien Hayez

Art director, graphic designer & illustrator from Lyon, France. Admin at Co-admin of the Facebook group Archives Graphiques Curator at Writer at The Shelf, issue 2.

  1. S.LemonSeptember 6, 2009, 6:20 pm

    I would love to see a copy of this in person. Guess it will be another book I add to my list of titles I hopefully stumble upon in a used bookstore.

  2. Sébastien HayezSeptember 6, 2009, 6:29 pm

    I read several books about diagrams and data visualization, and it’s probably the one with the best examples.

  3. LTFSeptember 6, 2009, 8:22 pm

    I can’t believe I sold my copy last year for 78 dollars. Who knew it was so valuable?

  4. Sébastien HayezSeptember 7, 2009, 7:10 am

    That’s why I’m doing book sourcing. It’s always nice to find books at a very sheap price, but not if your are the seller.

  5. Dara KeoganDecember 16, 2009, 1:49 pm

    Looks sweet, picked up Graphic Annual 1980 for 10 euros at a book fare. It’s the same feeling as finding rare a 7 inch vinyl in a 2nd hand record store.

  6. Sébastien HayezDecember 16, 2009, 2:00 pm

    The Graphis Annuals published in the 80′ are really cheap. Most of the copies are in the USA and are around 10-15$.

  7. laura southcottJanuary 5, 2010, 12:01 am

    Hi I was wondering how much I could get a copy of the graphis diagrams
    book for?

  8. Sébastien HayezJanuary 5, 2010, 8:32 am

    Hi Laura, A quick search give a result of 4 copies avaiable (2 from 1974, 2 from 1976). Prices are quite high even if it’s always possible to find a nice copy for 12 euros (like mine), 178 to 217 euros are the actual rates.

    But you can sometime find it for a cheaper price. I’ve found mine for 12 euros. And lucky people can have it around 12 to 50 euros.

  9. tabApril 8, 2010, 6:15 pm

    I found mine in near mint condition at local second hand bookshop costing only 2 euros. It’s really good book and I will never sell it. 🙂

  10. gil scot heron rip.May 28, 2011, 1:57 pm

    What’s are the differences between the 1974 and 1976 editions?

  11. Sébastien HayezMay 28, 2011, 2:39 pm

    I’m not sure but the 1976 edition is just a reprint of the 1974 edition. But the 3th edition of 1981 have an extra content with new material.

  12. BudSeptember 10, 2011, 9:56 pm

    I’ve go through several of the content on your blog now, and I enjoy your style of blogging. I included it to my favorites website collection and will also be checking again soon.

  13. Matthew MarshallOctober 6, 2012, 3:44 am

    This book is on top of my “Most Wanted” list. By far.

  14. JoFebruary 13, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Im trying to track down a copy of this for my boyfriends 30th birthday. Do you have any links to where i could get a copy (i know it might not be cheap!)

  15. Sébastien HayezFebruary 14, 2013, 6:11 pm

    Sorry but I can’t find any copy. Good luck.

  1. Designers Books | Pocket NoodleSeptember 30, 2009, 9:13 pm

    […] Designers Books – Rare and out of print books reviewed by designers including this beauty ‘Graphis Diagrams‘. […]

  2. […] my everyday quest for good old books, I found a nice copy of the 1981 Graphis Diagrams edition for a very low price: around 30 $ and not 250 as usual. As I don’t want to set a […]

  3. — REFS P01 DIAGRAMAS — | DC.II.IIINovember 15, 2013, 11:48 am

    […] ” O objectivo deste livro é mostrar ao designer como factos ou funções abstractas, que não podem ser representadas simplesmente como objectos naturais, podem adquirir uma expressão visual através de uma transformação gráfica adequada. O livro revê igualmente os meios de visualização de processos físicos e técnicos que não são perceptiveis ao olho humano. A síntese ideal de estética e valor da informação continua a ser o objectivo essencial em qualquer tipo de apresentação diagramática … “ retirado de. […]

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