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Designing Design Hardcover – July 23, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-3037781050 ISBN-10: 303778105X Edition: 2nd printing

9 New from $896.78 14 Used from $399.00
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Hardcover, July 23, 2007
$896.78 $399.00

There is a newer edition of this item:

Designing Design
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This title will be released on March 25, 2015.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller; 2nd printing edition (July 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 303778105X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3037781050
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #969,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kenya Hara (1958) is a graphic designer, Professor at the Art University Musashino and communication advisor for Muji.

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Customer Reviews

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This book gives some insight into the mind of the designer.
Joanna Daneman
Great book on design with great images, I understand there are other books and magazines by the same author that I wish them to be available again.
J. Bonilla
I personally recommend this book to whom are learning product design or doing product design.
Zhong Liang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
DESIGNING DESIGN is quite possibly the most beautiful book on design ever published. Not only is the content illuminating and intelligent, allowing the world to gain an appreciation for one of the truly unique voices in the design field - that voice being the Japanese master Kenya Hara - but also in keeping with the subject, the book itself is a paramount of elegance, simplicity and superb creative force. This is a white book, a volume of information and illustration that embraces the purity of white as the matrix upon which everything blossoms and emerges.

In an introductory essay by John Maeda the author states `Kenya Hara is a complex man. He views the world through his many lenses of seeing, tasting, smelling, erasing, evaporating, and all the forms of construction and deconstruction.' And after those appropriate words this pristine book opens into the genius that is Kenya Hara. `Verbalizing design is another act of design....To understand something is not to be able to define it or describe it. Instead, taking something that we think we already know and making it unknown thrills us afresh with its reality and deepens our understanding of it.' What follows on the pages are images of page design, paper, bowls of white cabbage leaves, signs, images of Swatch watches that come down through projected air onto any surface presented, unique signage for public spaces, soft ice cream shapes, furniture, spaces, lamps, posters - any object that requires rendering is treated and discussed in concept and philosophy by a man of great wisdom as well as endless creativity. The illustrations accompanying the text are clean and as well placed on the page as any creation by Hara. This is a seemingly endless array of fascinating subjects.
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Format: Hardcover
This book gives some insight into the mind of the designer.

The idea of involving the senses, first in how to consider what to design (a glass, a rug, a car) to how the senses are involved by the design is a considerable part of this abundantly-illustrated book.

A lot of the book is devoted to Japanese modern design, which, if you have ever looked at the stunning graphic ads on Tokyo subways, will astonish you with its beauty and sometimes sideways way of looking at the world. Much is covered about how to stop the eye and make the brain see something old in a new way.

It's very hard to cover all that is in this book, but my impression is that if you are involved in any kind of design, this might be a book to stimulate the creative process and get you thinking when a new project is on your drawing board. Beautiful, pictorial and thoughtful book. It's hard to be more specific, but if you are in design, you will probably find huge ideas and new ways to look at the world.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinarily beautiful book in which scores of works by graphic designers are presented, commended upon and sometimes explained by famed Japanese graphic designer Kenya Hara.

There is no way I can do justice to either the beauty of this book or to the insightful text by Hara or to the range of design displayed. You have to see the book yourself to really appreciate the fact that, of all the gorgeous designs presented within--and there are scores of them--none is more gorgeous than the book itself. I think anybody in the book business might want to take this book in hand and peruse it as an example of what can be done in book design.

There are hundreds of strikingly beautiful illustrations: color photos, photos done in brown light, in black and white, in tones of gray, in green and blue and many other colors, and in white. There are drawings and photos of drawings, and photos of objects artfully placed upon the page. From commercial products such as a cute and clever paper roach trap, to a power outlet with curves that looks somehow like a stylized mother and child, to a road designed like a river, to cultivated landscapes and hotel exteriors, the designs are exquisite and the presentation most appealing. In looking at the illustrations, one is struck with the modernity but one senses in the background the influence of ancient traditions: the clean lines of sculptured rock gardens, perhaps, the mannered elegance of the Japanese tea ceremony, the power and simplicity of the watercourse way of the Tao and--most amusingly--the impishness of Zen.

Hara begins with "re-design." Design artists are commissioned to redesign some "daily products of the 21st century"--toilet paper, matches, the roach motel, exit stamps, diapers, tea bags, and macaroni.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Will-Harris on November 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A plain white cover with some black text in Helvetica. That's the dust jacket cover of a design book? If I'd judged the book solely by the cover I would have missed what is actually a quite unique and wonderful book about design.

The cloth-bound cover itself is also all type, but now white type embossed into a white cover--not the most readable (though you can read it) but in a way the essence of this book--minimal, elegant, playful, clever and thought-provoking.

This understated and often witty approach is a refreshing antidote to the frantic overkill that constitutes much of the commercial design we're bombarded hundreds of times a day.

Like the cover, the text can be mysterious. When I first read the preface I balked. But I was intrigued and read it again and this time, it was surprising and beautiful.

"To understand something is not to be able to define it or describe it. Instead, taking something that we think we know already and making it unknown thrills us afresh with its reality and deepens our understanding." It's almost as if he's talking about a Claes Oldenburg sculpture which takes a common object and shows it to us in a gigantic size that makes us see it in a new light--yet the designs and ideas featured in the book give us this new perspective right on a printed page.

You're not going to see innovative typography in this book (though the book itself is beautifully designed, typeset and produced). But you are going to see stunningly understated photography and a Japanese approach to design that can be an inspiration everywhere in the world.
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