Here are some links to very good and comprehensive online resources about the historiy of visual communication. Needless to say they are very well designed.
in 10 chapters by Elif Ayiter teaching at the Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey; She starts with Rocks and Caves, carries on with Ideograms, The Alphabet, The Art of The Book, passing the Renaissance Masters of Type , Breaking the Grid, The Avantgarde, The Modernists and ends with the Computer. Wonderful image resources, which are downloadable.
in 11 chapters by Nancy Stock-Allen teaching Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia USA. This is truy beautiful and informative. Start by looking at this chapters on Symbols: The Alphabet of Human Thought, How Handwriting developed into Printed Type, continue with the condensed History of the Book and you may be hooked.
by George L.Dillon from the UW Technology in Washington. I have posted this link before. Comprehensive overview covering aspects of visual communication, design and art, starting with an introduction on Imagetext, Multiples, and Other Mixed Modes, and fascinating chapters on