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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Daniel Eatock – Imprint

I have been wanting to write the review of Daniel Eatock’s book, Imprint, (Amazon: US | CA| UK | DE) for some time. It has lain on my desk for weeks and I have delved into it over an over, but the truth is that I have struggled to really work out how to describe it. Martin Soames does a good job in Eye magazine by using Eatock’s list-making obsessiveness to describe Eatock and the book itself, but he also barely scratches the surface of its complexity. (Incidentally, there is a good...

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Camoupedia

Review by Daniel Gray Within minutes of picking up Roy R. Behren’s Camoupedia (Amazon link), I was regurgitating fascinating bits of camouflage-related trivia at anyone who would listen, like some kind of third-rate Stephen Fry. Did you know that in 1918, Walt Disney drove an ambulance for the Red Cross, covered not with a standard camouflage design but with early Disney cartoons? Or that snipers in WWII would hide inside fake horse carcasses? How about the fact that there is a specific...

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The Designful Company

Review by David Sherwin “If you wanna innovate, you gotta design. – Marty Neumeier From the airy confines of interior design to the tailored minutae of the type designer, the varied disciplines of our profession continue to rush outwards like galaxies fleeing the Big Bang. And the force that drives our profession’s expansion? The universal process we call design. As designers, we have lived and breathed this process often enough to embody its power, in whatever domain we...

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The Rhetoric of Modernism: Le Corbusier as a Lecturer

(Guest review by Becky Quintal) ‘You only have to see his notes to feel the emotion of the speaker. It is evident that this kind of discourse, even if expressed only in the intimacy of his notebook on the train, reveals a therapeutic aspect of the lecture for someone like Le Corbusier. His life was a roller coaster between peaks of fame and harsh setbacks, all of which he felt bitterly.’ – Tim Benton, The Rhetoric of Modernism: Le Corbusier as a Lecturer Unlike extemporaneous...

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Designing For People

Guest review by Phillip Hunter “Design is a silent salesman… contributing not just increased efficiency… but also assurance and confidence.” So asserts American Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss (1904 – 1972) near the beginning of his 1955 memoir, Designing for People (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE). Those characteristics emerge again and again throughout the anecdotes and explanations filling the book. It’s a very good thing, however, that Dreyfuss is decidedly not...

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UPPERCASE Magazine

I am cheating here because UPPERCASE is a magazine and not a book, but rules are made to be broken. How could a web site that bills tags itself with “books for the creative mind” turn down a review of the first issue of a magazine that bills itself as a “magazine for the creative and curious”? Exactly. So, what can one say about another magazine in such a crowded marketplace? Although it is hard to tell just from the first issue, UPPERCASE differs from most glossy...

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Cars: Freedom, Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything.

The car sums up the contradictions of industrialised age more than any other design object. Simultaneously a symbol of desire, design and engineering brilliance and of over-consumption of resources and destruction of the environment. The subtitle to Stephen Bayley’s Cars (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) comes from Tom Wolfe’s The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. “Cars mean more to these kids than architecture did in Europe’s great formal century, say, 1750 to...

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Subject to Change: Creating Great Products and Services for an Uncertain World

(Guest Review by David Sherwin) Underwhelmed. We’ve all had this reaction when encountering a product or service that just didn’t cut it. Take, for example, the alarm clock next to my bed. There are two alarm switches side by side: one for me, and one for my wife. Invariably, every morning I hit the wrong switch and the alarm keeps sounding. By the time I’ve shut the thing down, my wife is wide awake. And she goes to work two hours after me… I kept thinking about my...

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Designing Design

“Creativity is to discover a question that has never been asked. If one brings up an idiosyncratic question, the answer he gives will necessarily be unique as well.” – Kenya Hara, Designing Design. This philosophy is the thread that runs through the entire text of Kenya Hara’s deep and thoughtful book, Designing Design (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE). The book begins with several exhibitions that Hara organised and for which he devised the question that should be answered. For...

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