Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Book review [The Designer's Graphic Stew]

Book review [The Designer's Graphic Stew]

How exciting. To be offered design books to review

The Designer's Graphic Stew
, is much much more than what the cover shows

By Timothy Samara, his "visual ingredients, techniques, and layout recipes" really does feel like a book for our kitchen shelf. In this, his seventh published book on design and typography, Samara uses "menu" metaphor for structure, theme and rhythm, and "visual ingredients" season the book throughout. Even the "image cropping" section includes restaurant staff as case studies

On first inspection the book looks well conceived and professionally designed. The paper stock is high-end and the colour reproduction first class. It feels as though it should belong in any designer's library whether student or professional

And I don't mind that. Samara offers advice that will help anyone wishing to learn the basics, as guidelines and not disciplines, while also offering subtle reminders to the seasoned art director in the "dessert tray" at the rear of the book – case studies of various editorial/commercial/print/digital examples from the US

I found particular interest in the "Modular Grids" section on page 150:
In contrast to regular column grids, the modular grid also provides a set of consistent rows for increased precision...

The modular design grid is something I picked up from work with designers at the media consultancy group Innovation – a grid system that worked in any language and script

If the 'devil is in the detail', then Samara's latest book is a triple chocolate and whipped cream dessert. The layers of detail are what you make of it. The deeper your knowledge the longer your read. I spent at least an hour gorging over icon and pictogram examples

OK the cooking guises are sometimes over cooked:
Consider these strategies as building blocks–work from them with the ingredients and recipes that follow, and you're sure to become the chef de cuisine in your studio...

... but my general feeling is that this book is fun, very handy, and at times an excellent reference book to have in any studio

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