Design Anthropology: object culture in the 21st century

Design Anthropology: object culture in the 21st century, edited by Alison J. Clarke Publisher: Springer, Vienna, 2011. Review by Maria Blyzinsky ‘This book describes a seismic shift in the way experts and users conceptualize, envisage, and engage in object culture.’ Lofty claims like this always catch my eye because I’m in the business of trying to understand material culture. I work in museums and my curiosity regarding objects is twofold: as something to collect...

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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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A History of Graphic Design for Rainy Days

Who can resist a book that provides a paper doll of Saul Bass? Jam-packed, whirlwind, and charming are the three best words to describe A History of Graphic Design for Rainy Days from Gestalten Press. On a rainy afternoon “somewhere in some country” the reader is introduced to the two main characters, Gramps and Kiddo. The young bored Kiddo ventures into the office of his Gramps, who is working on a letterpress machine. Kiddo asks the simple question, “What in the world is graphic...

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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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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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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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Bibliographic

While graphic design does not have as long of a history as some of the other visual mediums, say sculpture or painting, it has certainly come a long way in establishing itself through the work, writings and published thoughts of the designers, typographers, artists and writers involved in its evolution. There have been many books published about the work, ethos and personas associated with the different aspects of graphic design. Bibliographic is a book that chronicles some of the most...

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Euro Deco: Graphic Design Between the Wars

(Click to enlarge) My initial reaction to the book Euro Deco: Graphic Design Between the Wars was disappointment. But it wasn’t because of the book itself, it was because of my own ignorance. On a previous book buying escapade I managed to track down all eight of the books in the Chronicle series on Art Deco design, which include Dutch Moderne, British Modern, Deco España, Italian Art Deco, German Modern, Streamline: American Art Deco, French Modern, and Japanese Modern. I even bought...

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Jost Hochuli: Detail in Typography

Or to give it it’s full title: Detail In Typography, Letters, Letter spacing, words, word spacing, lines, line spacing, columns. (Amazon UK US) Detail in Typography… is one of the more recent publications by Hyphen Press, the imprint set up by Robin Kinross; typographer, author & critic. Published for the first time in English in 2008, Detail in Typography… was first published in Switzerland in 2005 and it’s translation to English has given this slim book a...

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