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Design as Art Paperback – September 1, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bruno Munari (1907-1998) was the enfant terrible of Italian art and design for most of the 20th century, contributing to many fields of both visual (paint, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphics) and non-visual arts (literature, poetry). He was twice awarded the Compasso d'Oro design prize for excellence in his field.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141035811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141035819
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mnemosine on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I find it strange that this book is not available except for used copies printed in Canada around 20 years ago. I decided to study design after reading this book, even though I grew up being told I would be an architect or a writer.
On the visionary chapter titled "what is a designer", Munari made it clear to me that design is a much needed public and collaborative art. He wrote as translated to english in 1966: "Art is once more becoming a trade, as it was in ancient times when the artist was summoned by society to make certain works of visual communication (called frescoes)..." and keeps going. It never made sense to me that art could only be self absorption hidden in galleries, but I guess that is yet another kind of trade.
He writes with humour and honesty, and keeps me focused on my discipline. I owe Munari a great deal.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Chan on January 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a review for the new edition of this book by Penguin:

Part social commentary in a world of design, part designerly musing, and part thoughtful criticism at a world filled with abused objects, Munari's new publication by Penguin is a welcoming oasis of short essays (many merely one page long concisely argued and written) to the tyranny of cognitive science and user research tomes dominating design thinking today (think Norman and IDEO combined).

Clearly, Munari was writing in and for another period. That was a period spearheaded by designers-thinkers from the ranks of Nelson, Eames, Maldonado, Rittel, Bill, Aicher and Dreyfuss. Like Munari, these designers offer the insight that acute observation combined with thoughtful reflection of the material world is one of the most powerful forte of a designer.

In this book, I like the Munari's insight of 'wearing' best. He asks us to look at how objects become worn in their everyday use. Should we design objects on the sole merit of personal aesthetics and upon the Platonic plane of Ideal Geometry? Or should we design objects according to a limited sampling of user-needs study? Or as Munari suggests, should we design objects according to how it has been worn across time?

Munari did not answer his question (neither would I!). But it is this pensive quality of his work that merits his presence in the mind of every design thinker--a mind that seeks to ponder the thoughts on design across time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jonny B on September 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this on a whim, the cover looked cool and the title was intriguing. I'm a graphic designer by trade. I had no idea who Bruno was but his writing is easy to read. It flows pretty well and you definitely learn a lot. It gives me a bit of extra leverage when I'm defending what my job is and isn't. It's more of a philosophy of design.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Goffredo Puccetti on May 3, 2012
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I have read it again this year after more than 20 years. When this book cease to be relevant to designers, that will be the day design ceases to have meaning and value in our societies.
A gem of a book from one of the greatest designers of all time, still fresh and inspiring after almost half a century.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Vasiliadis on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful book by the 'Leonardo Da Vinci' of product design and the master of playful graphic design to make the kids react and understood. You can learn a lot of this book. About the simplicity in our place we live, in our life and the objects we buy. To do this, Bruno Munari makes a study in japanese traditional way of living.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dennis on August 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book deserves its "classic status". It is also very strong on design as design. Great for organizing once scattered thoughts on the subject and very well written.

A great book to include as foundation reading on design, on art, on communication --even perhaps software development.
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By Carlos on June 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Writing in a smooth yet profound way. The book has many chapters, which make it easy to read. I read it in airports and planes (a long trip) and it kept me laughing, it has a fine dose of sarcasm, and learning, Munari doesn't take art and design issues lightly but he remains the best example, other than Italo Calvino himself, of the six principles for literature. I learned more about design and art in those sheets than anywhere else.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Munari has no need of me to explain why this work is a classic. So many of us have used it as a guide to teaching and it was a resource from grade-school to University and wonderful just for raising aesthetic consciousness in non artists.
He was a born teacher, a gifted artist, a wonderful designer - and a kind and amusing person.
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