Designers Don’t Read

I wanted to read Austin Howe’s Designers Don’t Read just to be contrary. I read a great deal, as you might imagine writing these reviews. Indeed, one of the main reasons for starting The Designer’s Review of Books was a complaint about the paucity of writing in many design books. Howe is a Creative Director and “design advocate”, but most importantly he is a writer. So, I had high hopes for the book, not all of which were dashed, but a few worries about the title...

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Green Graphic Design

Review by Virginia Sasser We know that sustainability is an urgent design issue, despite the fact that some of us are tired of mainstream “greenness” blanketing our consumer landscape with tree frogs and leaf icons. But are we as designers aware of all the realistic ecological options that exist in our field? Doing the right thing is tough, especially when clients and budgets are involved. Brian Dougherty’s book Green Graphic Design is a useful read for any designer who wants to learn...

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Glimmer

Review by David Sherwin The further I’ve progressed in my career as designer, the harder it’s become to share with others exactly what I do. First, I managed layout at a magazine and bootstrapped a few websites in thrilling Adobe PageMill. Then, within a design studio, I was responsible for creating brands and annual reports—with little to no formal training to the otherwise. Add in a number of years in advertising and marketing, leaven it with a few more of user research and...

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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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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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Design Disasters

Disasters. We’ve all had them. The wonderful Fail Blog is a daily source of distraction and cautionary tales of idiocy. The #fail Twitter tag turns up a treasure trove of frustrations, usually with bad design or decisions. I once made a phone number typos on a 20,000 flyer run that went through the letterboxes of everyone in my neighbourhood. And whilst I didn’t kill anybody, the old lady whose number I had inadvertently used was not amused despite the bouquet of apology...

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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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