Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This is going to be a short review because there have been so many reviews and commentaries about the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson (Amazon: US|UK|DE) that it seems there is almost nothing left to say. The question this review sets out to answer is, “why should designers read Steve Jobs’s biography?” On a personal level, reading through the history of the development of Jobs’s main two successful companies, Apple and Pixar, was fascinating and at times moving...

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40% off Rosenfeld Media books until Friday 16th Dec

I don’t often plug products and services on The Designer’s Review of Books, but this one is too good to miss and from my publisher, the excellent Rosenfeld Media who publish “short, practical, and useful books and webinars on user experience design.” From today until the end of Friday 16th December, Rosenfeld Media are offering a whopping 40% off all books and webinars if you use the discount code HUMBUG. As an author at Rosenfeld, I get the perk of having a full...

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Dieter Rams Double Review – Less and More & As Little Design As Possible

Double review of Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams and Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible Review by Carolina de Bartolo “To design is to think.” —Dieter Rams, Industrial Designer (b. 1932–, Weisbaden, Germany) What can I tell you about Dieter Rams that you don’t already know? Since one of his many famed mottoes regarding good design is “less but better,” if I was to tell you too much or to tell you something about him you already know...

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Designing Type

Karen Cheng’s Designing Type is the answer to the needs of a multitude of type designers from all over the world. It is probably the first book ever to analyse, discuss and explain process of designing letterforms so thoroughly. This rather big (232 pages, 28x22cm) imprint is from the very beginning to the very end filled with useful, sometimes extremely detailed, but always very practical guidelines, tips and rules concerning designing your own text font from the scratch. All this is...

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Thoughts of a Hangman – Wooducts by Bill Hamper aka Billy Childish

Review by Peter Polaine When you pick up Thoughts of a Hangman: Wooducts by Bill Hamper aka Billy Childish book you could be forgiven for thinking that you had come across some new German Expressionist woodcuts or imitations. They may be a bit rougher but they have the same appeal where the artist almost forgets the medium to get straight to the story. Bill Hamper is a woodcarver, painter, poet and musician. Despite being dyslexic, has more than twenty volumes of poetry to his name and his...

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Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

Review by Carolina de Bartolo I’ve long thought of Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color as the one and only book you’ll ever need to understand how to use color as a designer. Originally published in 1963, Yale University Press published a lovely revised and expanded edition in 2006, which is 3.25 cm (1.25 in) taller and includes a number of additional color plates. (Click to enlarge) Designers tend to think of Josef Albers (1888–1976) only as a color theorist because Interaction of...

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Sketchbooks: The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators & Creatives

Sketchbooks: The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators and Creatives Review by Jennifer New Repository, Incubator, Laboratory, Sketchbook I had to chuckle when I read DRoB Editor Andy Polaine’s recent take on the creative process his review of Designers Don’t Read: “Over my own years of writing, I have learned a great deal more about the creative process as a designer than I have through designing.” The statement seems to hold a truism since as I writer I can invert it and...

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Seeking Contributors for the DRoB

I could use some help. When I started the Designer’s Review of Books, I had a bit of time on my hands and managed to keep a steady flow of weekly reviews. I have been helped along the way by some generous guest reviewers and to them I am very grateful. However, since starting a more time-consuming day job the pile of books to review on my desk has grown alarmingly large. Regular readers will have noticed that the stream of reviews has grown to a trickle and that’s no good. I do...

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Design is the Problem

Review by David Sherwin “Would you like a paper or plastic bag for your groceries?” Seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? Paper should be a better choice, because it will biodegrade. Plastic will go on forever in landfills and choke our oceans. Well, my answer isn’t very well informed. There are major trade-offs in the consumption, production (and related pollution), and recycling opportunities for every seemingly simple decision that we make throughout our...

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Fully Booked: Cover Art & Design for Books

Prepare for this review to become rather meta. Gestalten’s Fully Booked: Cover Art and Design for Books is a design book about book design also containing six essays, three apiece by Katherine Gillieson and Maria Fusco, one of which is an essay about the difficulty of producing a book on books. Phew. As with all of Gestalten’s output, Fully Booked is a well-produced, finely printed and sturdy affair – regardless of the content, their publications never fail on the production...

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