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Fresher Styles for Web Designers: More Eye Candy from the Underground 1st Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 000-0321562690
ISBN-10: 0321562690
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (December 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321562690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321562692
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,303,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Curt Cloninger is a writer, artist, and Associate Professor of New Media at the University of North Carolina Asheville. He has been published on a wide range of topics, including new media and internet art, installation and performance art, experimental graphic design, popular music, network culture, and continental philosophy. Recent topics have included glitch art, the "new aesthetic," electronic voice phenomenon, bodily affect, object oriented ontology, process philosophy, and artistic lying. His articles have appeared in Intelligent Agent, Mute, Paste, Tekka, Rhizome Digest, A List Apart, and on ABC World News.

His own art uses an array of media combinations to undermine language as a system of meaning in order to reveal it as an embodied force in the world. His art work has been featured in the New York Times and at festivals and galleries from Korea to Brazil. Exhibition venues include Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Granoff Center for The Creative Arts (Brown University), Digital Art Museum [DAM] (Berlin), Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (Chicago), Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, and the internet. He is the recipient of several grants and awards, most recently a grant from National Endowment for the Arts (via Turbulence.org).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason Beaird on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
In many ways, Curt Cloninger's newest book is the antithesis of my own. He states this clearly just a few pages into the first chapter: "There are two basic ways to teach design. The first is to teach general fundamental principles, follow them step-by-step, and let the specific visual aesthetics arise from the principles. The second is to show samples and examples--to begin with a bunch of visual examples of work, and then work backward to distill the basic principles."

Cloninger goes on to explain how his book takes the samples and examples approach but that both should be used in conjunction with each other. I whole-heartedly agree. The Web Designer's Idea Book also takes the learning by example approach, but the difference is that Fresher Styles intentionally side steps mainstream design patterns to focus on the counterculture and design outliers of the web.

There are 8 distinct styles that Curt introduces and characterizes in the book: "No Style, Late(st) Modern Style, Psychedelic Minimalist Style, Dot Matrix Style, 1996 Dirt Style, Corkboard Sprawl Style, Fullscreen Fashion Style & Hand-Drawn Analog Style". If you think this list sounds a bit absurd, you should know that he admittedly left out "1970s Dayglow Vector Style, Dusty Cowboy Style & Chrome Sheen". The purpose of this distinctly idiosyncratic taxonomy isn't to canonize the web; it's simply a quirky, off-the-cuff lens through which new design ideas can be discussed and digested.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Goodman on March 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Its inevitible for one to compare this book with its predecessor, Fresh Styles.

Fresher Styles is less visually oriented with fewer images and more indepth anaylsis of the background from which his currently identified web design styles arose. As a former student from his History of Graphic Design class, I nodded my head along when he mentioned various forefathers of modern web design. However, there were times when I skimmed the page in boredom wanting to get to the visuals and their explanations. Less talk, more action if you will.

I found this book less inspiring than the previous one in that many of the identified styles seem to be repetitive with little distinction between them (or worse yet, recycled from the previous edition) or almost ridiculous in any serious application of them such as 1996 Dirty Style. In this regards, I found only the second half of the volume to be informative but then again, the styles mentioned have been around for a few years already. I purchased this book with the hopes of having my eyes truly opened to new web designs but came away feeling that I could have simply browsed for a bit off Google and found the styles by myself.

The earlier edition inspired me at every turn and I continued to return to its dog-earred pages for consultation whenever I was uninspired. However I feel that this volume is going to remain on the shelf more often than not.

The book's good points can be found in the personal quirks of Cloninger's writing with his dedication and use of "off-the-chain" and his rant on Comic Sans in the Endnotes. I recommend this book as more of a place where a future browser could flip through to see a snapshot of web design at this particular point but not for the one looking for serious inspiration at this time. I hope the next edition involves more images and a greater variety of websites displaying true fresher styles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Chapman on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book claims to be for "Professional and aspiring web designers and hobbyists". While the information it presents would probably be of great use to professional designers I do not believe that the book would be of as much use to aspiring designers or hobbyists. Most of the styles that the book discusses have rather specialised areas where their use would be appropriate but that may not be so obvious to the less experienced designer who may not pay proper attention to those aspects. The book does make it relatively clear what situations the author considers are appropriate uses for the particular styles but the way that the book is laid out makes it somewhat tempting to just flip through the pages looking for ideas from the images without necessarily reading all of the associated text.

The book does an excellent job of providing useful information to experienced web designers which appears to be its target market. There are many other books on web design that aspiring designers an hobbyists will find more useful though as for most of them the information in this book will not apply to their circumstances and even where it does the way that the book is laid out will make it difficult for them to determine whether the styles in the book are really appropriate or not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By UXDesign on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Do not buy this book. As a hiring UX Design Manager for a successful online marketing agency let me tell you, if you copy the "styles" in this book and submit them in a professional portfolio to a potential employer you wil not only NOT be hired but you will be laughed at. There are some college professors out there actually using this book as a classroom textbook. A disservice is being done to all potential design students by propagating the horrific designs in this book. The majority of them are actually so poor that they are not even functional for the user. Please, save your money.
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