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on January 5, 2007
Simply put, this book is an inspirational visual feast. If you're longing to incorporate the handmade in your work or are simply looking for something to kickstart your creative juices, FINGERPRINT is the perfect addition to your design library. Forget the slick and the mass-produced and dive headfirst into pages full of beautiful photography, innovative design, and an accessible layout.

Put together by Chen Design Associates, an award-winning San Francisco firm, and published under the HOW Books label, FINGERPRINT makes a good first impression with a simple but tactile cover that invites you to pick the book up and turn it over in your hands before cracking it open. The book has a good weight, as do the pages, though the paper finish seems to be prone to marking against hard edges. Inside, the text is divided into an Introduction, Foreword, seven chapters (Lettering, Illustration, Mixed Messages, Grand Finale, Objet D'Art, Indelible Impressions, and (a very brief) Gallery), and a Directory of Contributors which includes the contact information for the designers and firms featured within. Scattered throughout the text are five essays from a variety of designers including Jim Sherraden of Hatch Show Print and Martin Venezky. Some of these are more interesting than others (Ross MacDonald's "Hollywood Handmade" provides insight into the business of creating authentic design-related props for television and film), but all are worth reading.

The design of the book itself is excellent and conveys FINGERPRINT's concept without going overboard. The type is restrained and there is a clear hierarchy within the descriptions on each page, but don't think for a moment that it's boring. On the contrary, due to interesting typefaces and structure, the descriptions in FINGERPRINT are some of the most readable of any design book save for one failing: on some pages where the displayed works are vertical, the descriptions rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise, necessitating a rotation of the book as well if you want to read the text. However, this is a small qualm when weighed against the book's many well-executed details.

The work itself - the real meat of FINGERPRINT - is generally outstanding. One might think that a majority of "handmade" design would feel the same, but the pieces showcased in the book display a range of aesthetics and execution, and there's something to be learned from almost every one. Almost all of the descriptions include the materials used for the designs, so it's possible to get an idea of the effort that goes into each piece and perhaps even provides a jumping-off point for those interested in exploring a similar style. (And in some cases the design transcends the media so much so that you'll be left scratching your head, saying "They did that with WHAT?")

There's a good representation of formats within FINGERPRINT. Featured designs range from stationery suites to posters to promotional mailers to packaging and beyond, so there's something for everyone. And the nature of the work is such that you'll find yourself thumbing through the pages again and again just to notice a plethora of new details to digest.

FINGERPRINT is more than just eye candy, though - it's motivation. Inspiration. If you don't like getting your hands dirty, then maybe this book isn't for you. But if you love the hands-on approach, your fingers will be itching to pick up a pen or a pencil and just draw (or paint, or collage, or...) after you've skimmed through the book. See, absorb, and incorporate. Go create some fresh design.

Prior to picking FINGERPRINT up at the store, I'd neither heard nor seen anything about it and figured it was simply an overlooked design gem. But it won't be a secret much longer because the newest issue of HOW (naturally, given the book's publisher) has a feature on it and includes some of the pieces from the book. Handmade is back, and it's beautiful. Do yourself and your brain a favor and pick this book up!
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on June 27, 2007
Fingerprint is a feast for the eyes and the spirit. Simply delicious. It's one of the most inspiring books I have ever seen and I have not let it out of my sight since I got it. I want to crawl inside this book and roll around on the pages.
Fingerprint features graphic designs with handmade elements. Next to the amazing art are notes by the designers. I love this. The artists tell you they used a pencil, a photograph, and a scanner. They don't tell you how you can get this identical look by buying 12 different products that cost lots of money. It's art without a sales pitch, which is rare these days. Everything in this book is unique and there's so much personality jumping from the pages.
Buy it, you will LOVE it.
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on August 3, 2007
This book should be on the desk of all aspiring graphic artists and illustrators. Wonderfully designed with emphasis on the artwork, NOT the authors' ego-centric design skills.

Designs include:
Wine lables
LP covers
Book covers
Theater/theatre/concert posters
CD (disc and liner notes)
Magazine illustration
DVD cover art
Tactile components
(green) Holiday card
Media kit
Stamp sheets
Folded notes (not origami)
Embossed paper
A sundial watch (!!)
3D art/functional design
Recycled backpack

...and a directory of over 60 contributors: most are from the U.S. with some as far away as Switzerland.

I am certain that you will be amazed by the content of this book. There is surely something for every artist. I highly recommend this book!
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on February 20, 2007
This book is a collection of some very nice examples of more 'tactile' design. It offers inspiration to go and do some stuff yourself without booting up your computer first. I like the fact that this more characteristic approach to design is growing up - it survived its infancy and is now turning up into more and more professional and commercial work than ever before. The mix between craftsmanship and pure coincidence gives the designs a nice edge over the perfect vector slickness we see all too often nowadays.

All in all a great antidote for adobe addicts.
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on December 12, 2007
This book is fabulous! The imagery is awesome and the designs chosen are very well thought out. This is a great reference of design using handmade or hand-incorporated elements. Its nice to be able to get away from digital design every now and then. I really like the way they included the designers thoughts on their compositions. I can't stop looking at this book. You won't be disappointed with your purchase.
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on January 8, 2008
This book is very inspiring and I pore over it whenever I need some inspiration. Personally I think handmade is making a real comeback because the public are tired of looking at the technological sameness that a lot of design seems to share.

The essays are really interesting to read and just the right length. The overall presentation of the book is gorgeous.

Handmade can be very beautiful and versatile with the examples shown in this book varying from clean, neat designs with lots of whitespace through to punky party designs adorned with sequins (that somehow amazingly still manage to look tasteful). Each design is accompanied by the design credits and a short comment on the design. The materials they used are listed and sometimes the designer will explain the process but mostly they talk about the inspiration behind it, so in essence, this book won't show you how it was done, it's not really a how to book so if that's what you're looking for then this may not be the right choice. On the other hand, if you want to get inside the heads of these great designers to find out the story behind all this great stuff then this is just what you need.
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on April 7, 2008
This is a fantastic resource filled with great examples of handmade design masterpieces. There are a few sections of illustrations that are already starting to look very dated, but a lot of the featured designs are timeless in their inginuity and beauty.

Whether you are already using hand-made techniques in your work, or you are searching for some inspiration on how you can get a more hands-on tactile feel with your designs in this age of InDesign, Photoshop and stock graphics, this book is great.
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on March 29, 2007
This book is a great source for inspiration and motivation and a definite owner. Especially for those that have a niche for a hands-on approach to design. This is the new movement right now ... back to basics.
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on March 8, 2007
This is a great book. Very innovative and fresh design. It's raw and fun to read. It's a nice alternative to the usual slick graphic design books.
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on January 25, 2008
I bought this along with 8 other design books- and this was by far the best purchase. The book leaves you wanting more, but the examples it does have are excellent. There is a good variety of media, style, and artists. There were no examples that i thought were a waste of ink.
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