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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Design Books


The 1950s scrapbook, Robert Opie 1998 New Cavendish
Saw this one in the locak bookshop - its a visual treat with all the Dan Dare comics and the Ovaltine wrappings and so on - great for demonstrating your visual acumen to art directors when suggesting references. There's a 1960s version, also 1920s and 1930s plus wartime, Edwardian and Victorian. They'd make good presents as well. Thoroughly coffee table and only £13 squids apiece.
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The art of looking sideways, Alan Fletcher 2001 Phaidion
This book is ASTOUNDING! It defies categorisation. Apparently it has 72 chapters though you could have fooled me. It is a kind of scrapbook of images but it runs to 530 pages and the juxtaposition of pictures and quotes is extraordinary. Pick it up and you won't put it down for at least 10 minutes and when you do you'll struggle to find that bit you wanted to tell someone about. I defy anyone stay stuck in a rut after dipping into it. It is stuck on my coffee table and no you can't borrow it. I had to kidnap it back from the last person who did. Amazon describe it as a " virtually indescribable concoction of anecdotes, quotes, images and bizarre facts that offers a wonderfully twisted vision of the chaos of modern life." Alan Fletcher has sunk 20 years of his life into compiling this book and it is in my humble opinion a masterpiece.
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The Non Designers Design Book, Robin Williams 1994 Peachpit
Why a book on design? Do you mean you want to leave it all up to the art director? I've squinted at enough unreadable crosstrack posters in my time. This a very accessible introduction to the principles of good design: promiximity, alignment, repetition and contrast and good typography. Perhaps you only think you should be expressing an opnion on the concepts and the words presented to you. Think again. This is a very readable way to learn some simple and powerful rules. Robin Williams (not the Mrs Doubtfire one) has written a lot of different books based on print, the web etc. Don't bother with all that. Stick to the basics.
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The Visual Display of Quantitative information, Edward R Tufte 1983 Graphics Press
Edward Tufte is a genius. In this work and two others he has written the textbooks on how to picture numbers, nouns (things) and verbs (changes). Most business communications is full of non data ink - stuff which because it doesn't actually provide information takes away from it and confused. Tufte shows how to ensure you communicate economically. The books are works of art, finished by hand with copious fantastic illustrations. See also Envisioning Information 1990 and Visual Explanations : Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative 1997
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Designed by Matthew Pattman