From Publishers Weekly
In this sharp collection of design and advertising criticism, Poynor explores the aesthetic value of and the meaning behind the unending visual stimuli that dominates today's consumer culture. In the title piece, Poynor ties increasing sexual content in the mainstream media to increased availability and acceptance of hardcore pornography. In other essays, Poynor sharply rebukes the presence of billboards as excessive eyesores, laments the lack of variety in women's magazine covers, and lambastes the advertising industry's steady encroachment into the personal lives of consumers. Poynor's measured, no-frills style and his detailed understanding of the design industry give his judgments authority; he rarely relies upon purely emotional or abstract arguments, instead referring to specific images and documents to make concrete arguments. The collection also includes profiles of important design figures such as Stefan Sagmeister and Rem Koolhaas, who benefit from Poynor's well-reasoned praise and journalistic skill. Though beautifully designed, the volume would have benefited from a few more illustrated examples of the myriad objects that Poynor references. Poynor overstates the thematic consistency of the book in his introduction by focusing on the ad industry's briefly discussed sexual obsession, but his insistent and convincing distaste for the unimaginative and the crass in visual media carries the book nicely.
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(Poyner) writes engagingly... Disturbed by nascent trends, Poynor's curiosity peels back the product label and studies the consumer. -- Communication Arts, 2006
Poynor (takes) to task in brutally straightforward language the visual forces that... dumb down our culture... and ecourage artists and designers to sell out. -- I.D. International Design Magazine, Nov. 1, 2006