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Love national parks? You’re going to want this new book

‘Parks’ is a love letter to the United States’ National Parks Service

Yellow cover of book named “Parks”. Brian Kelly

Standards Manual, the publishing house-meets-bookstore-meets-purveyor of long lost graphic design ephemera, has a new book out. This one is about national parks, and it’s a gorgeous coffee table tome for anyone who has a passing interest in the United States’ network of natural wonders.

Created by graphic designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth with photographer Brian Kelly, Parks is filled with 384 pages of U.S. National Park brochures, maps, posters, and more that span decades of design styles. The objects chart the history of the parks, from the early days when photography was a technical marvel to the 1950s and ’60s when designers experimented amply with color and typography.

Book spread showing national park pamphlets. Brian Kelly
Spread of national park graphic design. Brian Kelly

Much of the design collateral in Parks goes uncredited because most of the designers are unknown, but the book pays special attention to Massimo Vignelli’s 1977 redesign, which united all of the parks under a single, consistent visual system. The book is a love letter to, and an important reminder of, the nation’s natural beauty and resources. Intrigued? You can pre-order a copy now for $55.

Book open to spread of a colorful chart. Brian Kelly