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A Smile in the Mind Paperback – August 13, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Beautifully edited, lovingly and carefully compiled ... both intellectually and aesthetically stimulating. Oh, and it's funny too.' (Graphics International) 'This book keeps the fun coming. There are so many wonderful (and superbly reproduced) examples of sharp, deftly done pieces that the reader becomes greedy, devouring hit after hit.' (Print)

From the Back Cover

The best graphic design does more than capture attention and make the audience linger. It prolongs the encounter, compelling the reader not only to notice, but to remember. This book is about making graphics memorable by using witty thinking. It argues that ideas which happen in the mind, stay in the mind. Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart begin by explaining what wit is and how it works. They make the case for wit in graphic design, seeing humour as the shortest distance between two people. The different routes designers can take are explainedincluding ambiguity, missing links, substitution and double-takes - to clarify the options available at the start of an assignment. A Smile in the Mind documents the power of intellectual playfulness as it invades even the corporate heartland of annual reports and the dry territory of technical literature. Designers can refer to examples for every category of graphics, from direct mail to information graphics, and for a variety of sectors from leisure and the arts to manufacturing and the law. For the finale, witty designers answer the big question: how did they get the idea? They offer a peep into their private working methods, as they check out word lists, look at things sideways, or put several jobs on the table at once. Gathering together the best examples of graphic wit over the past three decades, A Smile in the Mind shows work from over 300 designers in the USA, Britain, Europe and Japan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press (August 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714838128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714838120
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If graphic design to you is pretty decoration and the latest cool font then this book is not for you...
However, if you want to gain the ability to apply witty and conceptual thinking to create communicative and memorable graphic images, then buy this book!
Concept and wit (two forgotten tools in the "computer first" design education in today's schools) can aid the designer in creating work that provokes the viewer to solve clues in his/her mind, sometimes resulting in a smile or "aha!" When this happens the graphic image leaves a lasting impression because the viewer has participated in it's closure.
Some may consider the contents of the book "old school." But good examples of wit and ideas are two things that will never go out of style!
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Format: Paperback
I've been doing (and reviewing) graphic design for three decades now, and this is the one book that I recommend every designer have on his or her shelf. Why? Because it not only contains some of the wittiest design from the last couple of decades, but it takes a good stab at explaining what made it witty in the first place. Interestingly, you quickly learn that what makes design witty is pretty much the same thing that makes it innovative. If you're intent on mastering the art of graphic design, or if, like Paul Rand, you just want to know what you're doing, this is your book. Personally, if I were stuck on a desert island and could only have one book, this would be it. A delight from start to finish.
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Format: Paperback
this book has an awesome collection of works by hot shot designers plus the 'receipe' for their displayed idea. this adds significant amounts of life and meaning and fun into this book. however, i cite it as a reference because most of the designed works in it are frozen in the past and will most likely need a rejuvenation process before long. the only timeless part in that book is the 'wit' section. this is something a designer must have to stay afloat in a continuously steeper competition. my rating goes for this only. again, 90% of the featured designs are the now dusty images of pentagram, the partners and the like. actual design doesnt look like this anymore. if that's what you're looking for, check out books by Metadesign, or Bruce Mau.
do i advice you to get this book? if you're a designer, YES because our past is a rough draft for a better future and there's no use denying it. amateurs and computer-only freaks will not find this book helpful at all.
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By A Customer on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Smile in the Mind" is the probably the best design book that I own. It goes beyond grids and "pretty pictures" to show you design that thinks and involves the viewer. It's informative and inspiring. Also, the text is as interesting as the many examples displayed, a rarity for design books.
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Format: Paperback
This is a big nice books with tons of witty graphics. If you love humor and grahic you will love this one, but if you are a serious designer and wit is not your cup of tea, then you should skip this. The explanation is clear and it gives you the idea behind the graphics. I love creativity books, and i do creativity seminars, I also run a graphic/multimedia design company, so i might be a bit bias, but i highly recommend people who like to smile and laugh a lot, AND love enjoyable graphics to buy this book. This is a bit out dated, but still very fresh to those who has never seen it. 5 Parts in all: The case of With explaining the concept of WIT, different type of wit, items that use wit, business application, witty designers. A nice sunbath in the beach of Bali, a cup of fresh coconut drink and a book like this would make life worth living ;-).
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Format: Hardcover
This book goes beyond just a collection of pretty graphics. It brings you into the process of creativity. That is unusual and commenable.
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Format: Hardcover
In an era when "graphic design" is reduced to savvy computer skills, it's nice to see a celebration of our most powerful creative tool - the MIND. A must for any designer who wants to think outside the box and inspire others to do the same.
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Format: Paperback
I have had this book for several years now, and my copy is getting rather ragged and dog-eared from frequent reading. This is not simply a picture book of interesting designs but an analysis of what makes witty, effective and memorable designs. Should be required reading for all design students.
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