The Vintage & Classic Style Guide

In order to deal with the ever-growing pile of design books on my desk, I have become more choosy about what to review. Some design books are simply gorgeous design objects, others contain insightful content. All of them vie for attention. Even when I find an engaging book, that there are very few that are destined for my coffee table. The Vintage & Classic Style Guide, published by earBOOKS (Amazon US|DE), might just make the grade. The Vintage & Classic Style Guide is a collection...

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A Way to Learn to See: The new Interaction of Color iPad app

Reviewed by Carolina de Bartolo In my 2010 review of Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color, I summarized this most excellent volume as “an eternal gift to the world of design.” I stand by that statement. I’d now like to add that the new Interaction of Color iPad app is yet another beautiful gift to the world of design. This app is brought to you by Yale University Press, The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation and the NYC design agency, Potion, on the 50th anniversary of the...

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Design Anthropology: object culture in the 21st century

Design Anthropology: object culture in the 21st century, edited by Alison J. Clarke Publisher: Springer, Vienna, 2011. Review by Maria Blyzinsky ‘This book describes a seismic shift in the way experts and users conceptualize, envisage, and engage in object culture.’ Lofty claims like this always catch my eye because I’m in the business of trying to understand material culture. I work in museums and my curiosity regarding objects is twofold: as something to collect...

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Draw Your Own Fonts: 30 Alphabets to Scribble, Sketch, and Make Your Own

As a graphic designer who can barely draw, I have always envied those who can incorporate hand drawing to make their designs look unique. When I saw Draw Your Own Fonts: 30 Alphabets to Scribble, Sketch and Make Your Own, by Tony Seddon, I was intrigued. Could this teach me to draw my own type? In our increasingly digital world, technology enables more and more people to produce work that is polished and tasteful. I’m not saying a designer’s job is easy, but, as Seddon...

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Cause and Effect: Visualizing Sustainability

Lester Brown, an American environmental analyst and founder of the Worldwatch Institute said: The communications industry is the only agency possessing the capacity to convey the knowledge necessary for sustainable development to the required extent and in the timeframe we have at our disposal. These words inspired the editors at Gestalten press to publish Cause and Effect: Visualizing Sustainability, a book that showcases effective communications projects that educate people on the...

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An interview with Andrew Shea on Designing for Social Change

Identified as a “place to start” by renowned designer and social entrepreneur, William Drenttel, Designing for Social Change by Andrew Shea, is an insightful guidebook and designer’s co-pilot containing a compilation of case studies that illustrate project concepts, funding resources, processes, strategies, and outcomes. It is a go-to resource for any designer interested or engaged in community-based work. A first-of-its-kind, Designing for Social Change is marked by ten strategies, an...

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Comparison Review: Graphic Design Theory

For those interested in graphic design theory, there are two compelling books on the market with nearly identical 
titles: Graphic Design Theory: Readings From the Field, by Miami University professor Helen Armstrong, 
and Graphic Design Theory: Graphic Design in Context by NC State professor Meredith Davis. 
Although the books sound similar, they take different yet complementary approaches to the subject. Armstrong’s book is a collection of excerpts from groundbreaking texts written...

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The Sketchnote Handbook

Hear. See. Think. Draw. This is the approach to visual note taking that author Mike Rohde, illustrator of the wildly popular book Rework, outlines in The Sketchnote Handbook. While most of us take notes in order to retain information, and those of us who are designers tend to doodle in the margins, “sketchnoting” is a much more thoughtful approach to getting the most out of meetings, presentations and other varied discussions. Mike shares his process with readers in this thoroughly...

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Little Big Books

The holidays are a time for family and that includes children, of all ages. With that in mind I thought it would be great to take time out and review Little Big Books, a great new collection of illustrations for children’s picture books published by Gestalten. Sorted by illustrator, the book takes a thorough survey of the modern industry of children’s book illustration letting the reader visually explore the vast variety of aesthetic differences contained within. (Click to...

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Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili

Designers, typographers, illustrators and letterers the world over will already be familiar with the work of Louise Fili. Her book covers, restaurant identities, food packaging labels and lettering have defined excellence in typography since the mid-1980s. No matter how much of her work you may have spent countless hours reviewing it is unlikely that you understand her as well as you will after reading Elegantissima: The Design & Typography of Louise Fili. (Click to enlarge) Elegantissima...

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