Parting It Out

About the book

Parting It Out is a collection of essays spanning much of Graphic Design as it applies to aspects of contemporary culture - from the Olympics to Japan to typography to R. Kelly to Cuba to sign painting. A practicing graphic designer, design teacher and design critic based in Tokyo, Ian Lynam has crafted an assembly of writing that is equal parts personal narrative, design criticism, design history and cultural study.


View sample spreads from the book in PDF format here.

  • Introduction by W. David Marx, co-founder of Neojaponisme
  • Art & Craft, Together. John Downer: Type Designer, Sign Painter, Gilder, Artist, Writer, and Critic.
  • Candid Thoughts On The 2020 Olympic Logo
  • Faith/Void Split
  • Japanese Graphic Design: Not In Production
  • Glue Vapors & Go
  • Hands On
  • Hoofin' It
  • Manga & Graphic Design
  • Heft, Gravy, And Swing
    The Life & Times Of Oswald Cooper
  • Sound And Physicality
  • Subterranean Modernism: A Critical Retrospective
    by Ian Lynam & Randy Nakamura
  • The Human Memory Machine
  • The Lean Alternative
  • Where The Wild Things Were
  • With A Spatula In Her Hand
  • Talking It Out:
    An Essay About Ed Fella That Doesn't Quote Him
  • On Potential:
    A Parable. Of Sorts.
  • The Grey Empire
  • A Graphic Design Reading List
    An encyclopedic list of suggested graphic design literature in essay format vital for graphic designers, graphic design educators and graphic design students alike.
  • Assignments
    Each chapter is broken up by 1 of 18 undergraduate and postgraduate homework assignments used in his classroom in Tokyo, including an essay by Korean graphic designer and design educator Chris Ro.

Parting It Out collects previous writings by Ian Lynam published outside of the American graphic design press alongside previously unpublished writing. The topics within are diverse, yet primarily focus on the subject of graphic design. The book itself is lovingly designed, with extreme detail given to both the typography and the imagery within. It has been printed using a mix of unique printing processes and features heavy duty binding so that it will remain a design classic on your bookshelf or on your coffee table.

Download a sample pdf of select pages along with the excerpted introductory essay.


  • Softcover, 256 pages, lovingly printed in eight spot-colors and two split fountain ink combinations in Japan on fine acid-free paper.
  • Indestructible UV softcover binding.
  • Die-cut wraparound cardstock dust jacket.
  • Foil-stamped fabric jacket.
  • Heavy-duty cardstock cover.
  • USD $45.00 postpaid (including international shipping) Purchase Parting It Out by Ian Lynam

Parting It Out can also be purchased via these fine bookstores internationally:




What people (who have read the manuscript) are saying:

"It may be billed simply as a anthology of design writing, but it is far more heartfelt than any such collection I've come across and fully surpasses those confines."
- Evan Mast, Ratatat

"Lynam is a bitingly humorous writer - gifted with the intuition to give stories depth. This is no accident - he writes from experience - design criticism that is not dry and painful, but lived and approachable. A reading pleasure!"
- Lars Harmsen, Slanted Magazine

"Eschewing the shortsighted practical nature of much graphic design-oriented writing, Lynam focuses on demythologizing contemporary graphic design - opening up a new horizon of discourse both East and West."
- Kiyonori Muroga, Idea Magazine

"Ian Lynam likes thinking about design as much as making it. Luckily for us, he also likes writing about it that much too. The payoff: he is amazing at all three."
- Shawn Seymour, Lullatone

"Rilliant, unrelenting prose from one of the best writers on design and aesthetics today."
- Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, Klein Dytham architecture/Pechakucha


Parting It Out by Ian Lynam

About the author

Ian Lynam is a graphic designer and writer living in Tokyo. He runs a multidisciplinary design studio that focuses on pan-cultural identity design, multilingual web design & development, interior design and editorial design.

He is Chair of the MFA Graphic Design program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, faculty at Temple University Japan, The Tyler School of Art, and Meme Design School.

Recent projects from his Tokyo graphic design studio include the interior graphic design and wayfinding for Google's new Tokyo offices, exhibition design for NASA, the interior graphic design for YouTube Space Tokyo, and custom typefaces for Whole Foods.

He is a graduate of Portland State University (B.S. Graphic Design) and California Institute of the Arts (M.F.A. Graphic Design).

He is available for interviews. Please contact us for coordination.