2015-06-10 17.59.46

Abbott Miller: Design and Content

The recent monograph, Abbott Miller: Design and Content, provides a wealth of evidence for seeing Miller as one of today’s exemplary designers. In my view, this is not for any set of particular projects or for any distinctive Miller style, but for the way he has oriented himself within the design field. I see this orientation as having four parts, based on this book and on some of his previous writing, especially his pioneering Design/Writing/Research: Writing on Graphic Design (1996...

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Speculative Everything

Are designers too wedded to a realist vision of today, and of tomorrow’s prospects? Are they complacent about design’s contributions to society? The answer to both is a resounding yes according to Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. The authors, design duo Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, argue that designers are interested mostly in that which can be produced and marketed under existing or too-comfortably imagined future conditions. Designers tend to think they are...

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Design Transitions – author interview

With its obsession with creating the new and improving the old, design is naturally a field that is in constant flux. In the past decade, design has been grappling with its identity somewhat. Whilst traditional skills are still important, increasingly sub- or über-disciplines such as design thinking, service design and strategic design have marked a significant shift in the roles designers and their clients and partners play on projects. Design Transitions documents this flux, by...

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Confessions of a Generalist

Thoughtfully designed, and encased in a conceptual cover that exhibits the interwoven intricacies of human involvement and existence, Confessions of a Generalist  is an all-encompassing tale of the magnificent life and times of the renowned American industrial designer, Niels Diffrient. Beginning with his humble roots, Mr. Diffrient walks us through his life’s journey, starting as a southern farm boy and concluding as a New York City-based industrial designer where he became most known...

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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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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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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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Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig

Having only recently been exposed to the work of Alvin Lustig I was very excited to learn of the publication of the monograph Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig chronicling his life as a designer, teacher and author. I was only aware of some of his earlier experimentations with printers’ ornaments, but I was already extremely interested. I had high hopes of learning much more about the work, the man behind it, and the environment in which it was created. The book did not...

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Jun’ichirō Tanizaki: In Praise of Shadows (谷崎 潤一郎: 陰翳礼讃)

I came across this slim book (which is more an extended essay) while looking into texts on aesthetics. I was particularly interested in books about the differences in perception. Not specifically from a design point of view but more general ideas on cultural differences in the perception of everyday objects, the spaces we occupy and how we interact with them. I call this book an essay – I could easily call it a mild rant. A personal plea against homogeneity. In Praise of Shadows...

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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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