Meggs’ History of Graphic Design

Review by Patrick Holt Because the design industry is populated not only by the well-educated, but also by the self-taught and the self-tutored-after-a-mediocre-education (I fall into the latter), it’s likely that many of us missed an opportunity to read Philip Meggs’ A History of Graphic Design (Amazon: US|CA|UK |DE), now in its fourth edition, during our formative years. And since textbooks rarely find a place on the bookshelf after one leaves school or if one never attended in the first...

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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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A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web

(Guest Review by Shannon Smith) Mark Boulton just saved me a ton of money on design school. His new book, A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web, is meant to help Web designers who haven’t been to design school ‘learn the basics of graphic design and apply them to their Web designs – producing more effective, polished, detailed and professional sites.’ I definitely fall into that category. (Click to enlarge – Picture: Mark Boulton Design) Of course his book...

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The Advertising Concept Book

What makes a good ad? What makes an award-winning creative idea? These days its easy to get distracted by fancy art direction and technological novelties, but when you strip all that away, does the idea still stand up? This is the essence of Pete Barry’s The Advertising Concept Book (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) in which you won’t see a single glossy image. No 3D, no photography, no screenshots, just pencil sketches and thumbnails. Sketches are still a staple of the process of developing...

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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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Tangible: High Touch Visuals

“Remember the small, cheeky, hand-scribbled notes that were reproduced on a photo or poster design? Those with the simple message: “I was here!” Indicating that someone actually worked with the photo and that these are their thoughts.” – from the Preface to Tangible: High Touch Visuals. In such a digitally dominant world, Gestalten’s new book, Tangible: High Touch Visuals, is a reminder of the pleasure of the physical. Tangible is the third in a series of books...

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Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks

I hate forms. Germany is full of bureaucrats that love them, but their forms are amongst some of the most poorly designed I have ever encountered. The ones lying under the book in the picture above have been sitting on my desk for a year waiting to find someone who can understand them. A year! What a sad indictment – whoever designed those should be weeping right now. By rights a whole book devoted to Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks should be as interesting as watching paint dry, but...

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Shapes for Sounds

Guest Review by David Sherwin A is for Aleph. B is for Beit. G is for Gimel… When I was a child, Hebrew was beaten into me by a series of well-meaning teachers. Upon reflection, they were probably my first foray into hand-lettering type. Sadly, the letters stuck, but comprehension of the words peeled away past my teenage years. I have always had a nagging thought in the back of my head that if I’d seen a clearer historical thread between Hebrew and modern English, I would have...

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Universal Principles of Design

Reviewed by Rob Tannen. Although Universal Principles of Design was published in 2003, I am embarrassed to admit that I only learned about it several years later via Amazon’s related books feature. Embarrassed, because it is simply the best book I have read on general design and usability principles in terms of both its content and its presentation. From its academic textbook-style cover, one might overlook this book or assume that its content would be dull and dry. In fact, it is an...

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