Paul Rand: Conversations with Students

What would Paul Rand have been like as a teacher? He was renowned for his stinging critiques ornery manner, yet in Paul Rand: Conversations with Students (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) Philip Burton chooses the word ‘compassionate’ to describe him. It seems that almost all of Rand’s students have praise for his brutal honesty and integrity. As painful as it might have been to receive those lessons at the time, they came from Rand’s heartfelt desire to pass on what he had learned...

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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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Designing Universal Knowledge: The World as Flatland – Report 1

Given that it is a book about classification, Designing Universal Knowledge: The World as Flatland – Report 1 (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) by Gerlinde Schuller is oddly difficult to classify. Schuller is head of the Information Design Studio in Amsterdam and begins the book by reminding us of the relationship between knowledge and power: “Knowledge is power. If one possesses a collection of the ‘universal knowledge’ of the world, one has ultimate power. Establishing...

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The Design Entrepreneur: Turning Graphic Design into Goods that Sell

Guest review by Colin Ford Clients blow. Designers the world over know this to be the unfortunate truth. Clients come to you for your artistic vision and then try to drag your design back into mediocrity by insisting that 12-point Times New Roman be used for all body copy, or that their second cousin thinks chartreuse would be a better color for the packaging. With their new book, Steven Heller and Lita Talarico tell you to say to hell with clients and their second cousins – you should be...

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Designing the Mentoring Stamp

In an age of Twitter, texting, e-mail and barcodes, the humble postage stamp is in danger of dying out. Yet the stamp has been a tiny canvas for artists and designers to disseminate their work to one of the largest and certainly the broadest of audiences for decades. Designing the Mentoring Stamp by Lance Hidy is designed, delicately typset and published by the independent Kat Ran Press. Much like the stamp itself, this slim volume is an insightful journey into Hidy’s creative process.

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Kenya Hara Preview

I have been doing some moonlighting over at Eye magazine’s blog for their The Form of the Book series. The Form of the Book is about what books look like – how they are designed, produced and feel more than the content itself. The physical aspect of design books is one of the key reasons why The Designer’s Review of Books was started and we try to cover some aspect of the production in most reviews. I chose Keyna Hara’s Designing Design because it stands out as a lovely...

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The Back of The Napkin

The subtitle of Dan Roam’s best-selling book, The Back of the Napkin is “Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures” – a reasonable description of what designers do for a living. If you are thinking you have nothing more to learn on that front, think again, because Roam has plenty to help sharpen those skills (and pencils). The Back of the Napkin is squarely aimed at the business community, but it useful to a much wider audience. Books about those two battered and...

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Indexed

Before we begin, I should admit that I think Jessica Hagy is pretty cool and her blog Indexed is not only a regular read, but also one of the things on my far-too-long a list of “things I wish I had thought of”. It is no surprise that Time magazine listed Indexed in their pick of the top blogs. Time also billed it as a “one-trick pony with legs”, which is a fair description except that I thought all ponies had legs, even the trickless kind.

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