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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Art of the Modern Movie Poster & Translating Hollywood

(Guest review by Daniel Gray) As commercial art produced to sell another form of commercial art, film posters can often be crass, repetitive, disposable. They’re just adverts to convince you to sit in a dark room for a couple of hours, right? They’re all about big floating heads, questionable quotes from reviewers, mugging comedians accompanied by bold red text on white backgrounds, right? Well mostly, yes. But, as with the films themselves, amidst all the dreck you’ll find...

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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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UPPERCASE Magazine

I am cheating here because UPPERCASE is a magazine and not a book, but rules are made to be broken. How could a web site that bills tags itself with “books for the creative mind” turn down a review of the first issue of a magazine that bills itself as a “magazine for the creative and curious”? Exactly. So, what can one say about another magazine in such a crowded marketplace? Although it is hard to tell just from the first issue, UPPERCASE differs from most glossy...

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Paul Rand: Conversations with Students

What would Paul Rand have been like as a teacher? He was renowned for his stinging critiques ornery manner, yet in Paul Rand: Conversations with Students (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) Philip Burton chooses the word ‘compassionate’ to describe him. It seems that almost all of Rand’s students have praise for his brutal honesty and integrity. As painful as it might have been to receive those lessons at the time, they came from Rand’s heartfelt desire to pass on what he had learned...

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Designing Design

“Creativity is to discover a question that has never been asked. If one brings up an idiosyncratic question, the answer he gives will necessarily be unique as well.” – Kenya Hara, Designing Design. This philosophy is the thread that runs through the entire text of Kenya Hara’s deep and thoughtful book, Designing Design (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE). The book begins with several exhibitions that Hara organised and for which he devised the question that should be answered. For...

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The Design Entrepreneur: Turning Graphic Design into Goods that Sell

Guest review by Colin Ford Clients blow. Designers the world over know this to be the unfortunate truth. Clients come to you for your artistic vision and then try to drag your design back into mediocrity by insisting that 12-point Times New Roman be used for all body copy, or that their second cousin thinks chartreuse would be a better color for the packaging. With their new book, Steven Heller and Lita Talarico tell you to say to hell with clients and their second cousins – you should be...

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Designing the Mentoring Stamp

In an age of Twitter, texting, e-mail and barcodes, the humble postage stamp is in danger of dying out. Yet the stamp has been a tiny canvas for artists and designers to disseminate their work to one of the largest and certainly the broadest of audiences for decades. Designing the Mentoring Stamp by Lance Hidy is designed, delicately typset and published by the independent Kat Ran Press. Much like the stamp itself, this slim volume is an insightful journey into Hidy’s creative process.

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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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Designing Gestural Interfaces

Dan Saffer has a knack for writing the right book at the right time. His first book, Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices pulled together various disparate approaches and aspects to interaction design into one volume. “In general, the response has been positive and it is being used by universities and others to teach new interaction designers. But now, four years after I started writing it, I’m mostly unhappy with it. It’s too theoretical...

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