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Designing Pornotopia: Travels in Visual Culture Paperback – June 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568986076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568986074
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,831,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gitc on November 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
this review is largely in answer to the previous reviewer's review - john d. i think context is important with this book. rick poynor is a design critic for eye magazine, and this book is an anthology of his essays over the last three to four years. while i agree that there is not much "depth" to each essay, i think that, taken as a collection, poynor's writing provides a great STARTING POINT for further criticism, analysis, or study. he's noting a trend within visual culture. not to be taken as anything too scholarly, he comments on the trends as concisely as possible for magazine format. so for all design students, design geeks, culture geeks, this book is by no means going to illuminate everything about pornotopia for you, but it will plant seeds which you can either nourish or ignore.

buy it, it's interesting.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John D. Taylor on November 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like to take chances on books, and this is one of them. I hope someone else comes along to write something really insightful and postive about this book, 'cause I'm not. "...concise, riveting prose" Maybe for lack of ideas. "truly indispensable addition" Maybe if you're a dunderhead that thinks life has changed a little since Madonna turned oour entire world upside down--uh, almost--with her shocking self-expose' of a coffee table book. Sorry, I find that many of these essays meander far from the sexy pitch. I was hoping Rem Koolhaus would fill me in on why his quirky boxes should be getting me all hot and bothered, but mostly I learned he has an elusive and dark presence in your company. And then I frittered away a few more mornings with the usual claptrap of dingy magazines that make something of sexual toys beyond their ostensible function, and designer rehash of Pop strategies. OK, there are some essays here that relate to the title. But for the most, I find the author "not on task." Appropriately, I got all excited by the titilating come-on, but in my dull straight world, the dish is a guy. I deflate.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anton Kiba on July 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
many text and only about 10 pictures =(
i think it's a picture book but it is a text book with only about 10 pictures =(
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