Characters: Cultural stories revealed through Typography

Review by Veronica Grow Like most typo cognoscenti, Stephen Banham is fondly known for being somewhat fanatical and nerdy on the subject of type and letters. In my opinion, it takes the obsession of one such fanatic to compile such a vast treasure of information, so clearly, in the form of this fascinating book named Characters. Characters focuses on the cultural role that typography plays (especially in the guise of signage) in defining the flavor and character of the City of Melbourne...

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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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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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Designers Don’t Have Influences by Austin Howe

I had better start by owning up to not having read Designers Don’t Read by Howe – I had seen lots of press for it but never got round to picking up a copy. So I have come to his second book without reading the first, but Designers Don’t Have Influences (Amazon US|CA|UK|DE) is stand-alone and can be picked up without any prior knowledge of Howe or his writing. Designers Don’t Have Influences is a collection of short essays on people that have influenced Howe throughout his...

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White

A small part of the book White is about color: “it is ‘all colors’ and ‘no colors’ at the same time. This identity as a color that can ‘escape color’ makes white very special. If white is not simply a color, mightn’t we be able to understand it as functioning like a design or expressive concept?” As a well-known graphic designer and art director at Muji, author Kenya Hara uses a variety of colors all the time. He does not even especially love white. As he has progressed in...

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Women of Design

Women Of Design: Influence And Inspiration From The Original Trailblazers To The New Groundbreakers is one of four books that have been written by the husband and wife team of Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit. You can find the expanse of their work, which includes many recognizable websites from the design community, their other 3 books, and the occasional client work they do at UnderConsideration. They are large contributors to the education of the design community as a whole and this book...

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Studio Culture: The Secret Life of the Graphic Design Studio

What the public eye sees most often is the finished design work – beautifully printed posters, books, websites, packaging, and signage. But little is known or said about the studios that labor day and night to deliver something creative and coherent, beautiful yet functional, all while earning enough money to survive. Studio Culture: The Secret Life of the Graphic Design Studio by Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook is the first book released by Unit Editions, and offers to shed light on this...

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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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