Just Design, Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes

“Designers are the mediators of our daily experience. The easier my compost bucket is to use, the more appealing my reusable grocery bag, the more likely I am to participate in environmentally sound practices. Designers carry a heavy responsibility, but at the same time they can offer our future the greatest gift.” So says Gavin Newsom, current Lt. Governor of California and former Mayor of San Francisco, setting the tone for Just Design, Socially Conscious Design for Critical...

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Thoughts on Interaction Design, Second Edition

How often do you read a design text that impacts your life dramatically? As someone relatively new to the field of Interaction Design, John Kolko’s Thoughts on Interaction Design, Second Edition has allowed me to understand so much about the way I think, and the approach I’ve taken towards designing over the years. It’s content has shed light on many thoughts and ideas I’ve contemplated at one point or another, regarding design and its role in many aspects of human life...

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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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Just My Type: More Than A Book About Fonts

If every typography book were written like Just My Type: A Book About Fonts (Amazon: US|UK|DE), more people would care about the subject. British author and journalist Simon Garfield’s tone is so accessible, it feels like he lived through 600 years of history and just popped by to talk about it. Font geeks will enjoy his snappy vignettes on influential designers, why quick brown foxes jump over lazy dogs, and the life and death of something called an interrobang. For the casual font user...

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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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I Heart Design

I Heart Design. No, really I do. I design every day, spend my spare time obsessing about typography, and could never imagine doing anything else. Design holds a near and dear spot in my heart. But this isn’t about me. It’s about a book. I Heart Design by Steven Heller is a collection of, as it boldly proclaims on the cover, “80 remarkable graphic designs”. Each piece of graphic design was selected by a different person, at the request of the author, as something that was...

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Explorations in Typography

Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting by Carolina de Bartolo is a marvelous book that explains some of the most commonly used typesetting devices. The book is comprised of 24 different examples of ways to set the same piece of text, the short essay Type Builds Character by Erik Spiekermann (originally published in his 2002 book Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works). Topics that are covered include leading, drop capitals, column widths, margins, tracking...

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Thinking With Type

I’m not the first one to say this, and I definitely won’t be the last, but the statement is worth repeating. Thinking With Type is a book that should be in the collection of every designer, writer, editor, publisher and typographer. Ellen Lupton’s excellent analysis of thinking with typography is perfect for everyone from the first-year student to the seasoned professional. The book covers an expansive amount of typographic information including application, theory, and...

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