8vo: On the Outside

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8vo: On the Outside [Hardcover]

Mark Holt , Hamish Muir
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 11, 2005
Founded in London in 1984 by Mark Holt, Simon Johnston, and Hamish Muir, 8vo was one of the most influential design studios in the 1980s and continues to be significant in the design world today. The design studio used traditional, craft-based working methods but an experimental approach to design in order to anticipate the computer-aided aesthetic of the 90s. The magazine Octavo, published in eight issues from 1986 to 1992 has long held cult status and is thoroughly documented here, along with the background against which it emerged. 8vo's work pushed back the boundaries of commercial design, and was a key factor in preparing the way for many contemporary designers. Designed and written by two of the studio's partners, this attractive, chunky-format book will be a delight to students and practioners of architecture, design, and art alike.

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8vo: On the Outside + Jan van Toorn: Critical Practice (Graphic Design in the Netherlands)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller; 1 edition (November 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3037780193
  • ISBN-13: 978-3037780190
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.7 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This is a really interesting book that breaks the common mould of graphic design career reviews. The usual "slide show" of finished posters/books/etc is shunned in favour of a deeper look at the thought process & physical development behind selected work.

The book is by Mark Holt & Hamish Muir -the principals in 8vo from around the time of its inception in the early 80s until its eventual closure in 2000. In this time they most notably worked for Factory Records, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, "Flux" music festival & Holt Hinshaw Pfau on very open, unconstrained briefs to design posters & other printed material. On these "creative" (as some would have it) briefs, they applied their own interpretation of rational "international style" - resulting in some of the best graphics of the era. However, the more interesting aspects of this book are their application of grid systems & rational design process to more everyday items - such as phone & water bills.

The book openly shares their exploration of intellectual & physical process behind a form of graphic design that shied away from using images, and through that mechanism, the reader is introduced not only to how they produced graphics - but what "design" meant to them. When everything in the late 1980s was "designer", 8vo described themselves as "visual engineers" rather than "designers". With this exploration, the reader should come away with an appreciation of the process behind credit card bills as much as an appreciation of the aesthetics of a good type-based poster.

The book is dimensionally small, but does come in at over 500 pages. It is very well designed & features 5 essays from esteemed designers. If you are looking for a glossy career retrospective - this isn't your book. If you are looking for a fantastic insight into the process behind great design, then it is!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff April 13, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very cool little retrospective on a small shop I knew nothing about. I recommend it if you're interested in their style of typographically-oriented visual solutions and experiments.
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