Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 5 images

Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition Paperback – August 1, 2001


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$8.89 $3.34

There is a newer edition of this item:



NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Shop the New Digital Design Bookstore
Check out the Digital Design Bookstore, a new hub for photographers, art directors, illustrators, web developers, and other creative individuals to find highly rated and highly relevant career resources. Shop books on web development and graphic design, or check out blog posts by authors and thought-leaders in the design industry. Shop now

Product Details

  • Series: Design Briefs
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568982496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568982496
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fantastically interesting look at the role proportion has played in all manner of design projects...informative and insightful..." -- Design Issues, Summer 2002

"It's a great little book, one that all teachers and students should see." -- The Ballast Quarterly Review

"This small eye-opening paperback is a ‘rare gem’!" -- Choice

"Studies of the underlying geometric structures and visual relationships. . . both educate the reader and bring the designs to life." --New Design

About the Author

Kimberly Elam is chairperson of the Graphic and Interactive Communication Department at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

More About the Author

Kimberly Elam is chairperson of the Graphic and Interactive Communication Department at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

Customer Reviews

I would highly recomend this book.
Wood Maestro
This is a good book for the graphic design student.
Brent G.
It is easy to follow and well written.
mr john washington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

160 of 160 people found the following review helpful By Mark Wieczorek on October 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've been looking for this book for years now. I would wander the aisles of book stores looking for a concise treatise on the geometric elements of design. I open book after book in the design, architecture and art sections looking for a description of this "Sacred Geometry" passed down from master to student, used by Leonardo DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Greek sculptors, the Parthenon, and countless other masters and imitators, but which is sadly missing from many of the fine art and design curricula throughout the country.
Judging from the title, I thought this book would be wordy and academic. Or on the opposite end, written by ... a protractor, a compass and little else. I couldn't be more wrong. What I found is, after a section describing how certain geometric relationships exist in nature, and what their mathematical properties are, page after page of designs analyzed.
First the design is reproduced for you to see, unadorned. Then the author shows you the same picture, but with red grids, circles, diagonals, stars, etc. covering it to show you the precise geometric relationship, of say, the Clestory Window in the Cathedral at Notre Dame to the building as a whole. Or how the Eames Chair conforms to the geometry of the Golden Section. Breif text accompanies each picture.
The text "The typography of the poster forms a triangle which serves to anchor it to the format and enhance visual interest" is found next to a small reproduction of the poster with a red triangle drawn on it. Some pages even have translucent overlays so you can see the picture with a grid, or circles, or both - "an overlay comparison... reveals that the... proportions in both drawings... are almost identical."
This book gives you the tools to evaluate design.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By David Kadavy on June 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Kimberly Elam presents a simple yet comprehensive overview of the role of geometry in the beauty of design and nature. Elam first explores the prevalence of the Golden Section in nature, art, and architecture, and supports the storied beauty of its proportions with an overview of the cognitive proportion preference studies of both Gustav Fechner and Lalo. Red-highlighted illustrations illuminate Elam's clear explanations of how to construct Golden Section (or Fibonacci Series) rectangles, ellipses, and triangles.

Geometry of Design doesn't only cover the Golden Section. Elam also explores the root 2, root 3, root 4, and root 5 rectangles and explains their role in the more familiar European DIN system (root 2), and the construction of hexagons (root 3).

After introducing these common geometric proportions, Elam reveals the geometric structure of historically significant works such as Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Chair, A.M. Cassandre's Wagon-Bar Poster, and Jan Tschichold's Konstruktivisten Poster, as well as contemporary industrial designs such as the Braun Aromaster Coffee Maker and the modern Volkswagon Beetle. Her analyses are concisely written and aptly accompanied by translucent overlays which reveal geometric structures that range from the astonishingly deliberate to the seemingly unintentional.

Kimberly Elam's Geometry of Design is a flawless introduction to the role of design's least visible, yet most powerful, methods of achieving aesthetic beauty. It is a must-read for anyone curious about geometry's role in design.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dr.Daphne Lange-Rosenzweig on July 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Why do we instinctively admire the 1997 update of the Volkswagon Beetle? Why are Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chairs of 1929 still relevant in twenty-first century interior design? Why have everyday Braun kitchen products achieved iconic status in museum settings?
In her pithy (101 page) essay, GEOMETRY OF DESIGN: STUDIES IN PROPORTION AND COMPOSITION, Kimberly Elam admirably succeeds in illuminating fundamental concepts underlying successful modern design. Through the elegance of Elam's arguments, readers are painlessly introduced to a set of mathematically-based compositional elements developed in classical antiquity and reflected in acknowledged masterpieces of later design. From the Parthenon and Notre Dame de Paris to Mies van der Rohe's Chapel at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and from Leonardo's "Man Inscribed in a Circle" and a chambered nautilus to Le Courbusier's "Chaise Lounge", selected works succumb to Elam's acute analysis of successful proportioning and composition. Her exploration of these fundamentals, including the dynamic rectangles exemplified by the Golden Section and the European DIN Root 2 system (so different from the sectioning system used in American design), is aided by the excellent vellum overlay diagrams.
So much of our response to art and design is intuitive, and we categorize as outstanding those works from which we derive intense aesthetic pleasure. The efficiency, the very orderliness which form their basis is a revelation. Elam's book is a classic and very readable summation of the foundation of successful design.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
58 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
At the concept level this is a great book, very well thought out and a nice layout. It is well worth the price. Very nice!!
A great book!!!
So why did I give it only a 2.
Because the beauty and logic of the book are only demonstrated in very simplistic designs which already would have geometric thinking built in....cars, building, furniture, commercial posters, fish, shells, etc. Symetrical snowflakes.
These objects would be driven to good design because of utilitarian functioning which is required by their physical nature. One example is A coffee maker, A car, A building . Kim is on to something great with this book,but I think she should have tackled more creative and complex objects and compositions where utilitarian value is secondary. She walks down the usual Leonardo and Greek path but the analysis is only of primarily singular objects. She does a great job but most of the objects are isolated objects or poster graphics which are already contrived on a pure geometric basis.
The great value of this book would be in the context of the evolution of design, proportion, and compostion with some of an Art aesthetic bent.
Analysis of complete compostions would be of value, some Durer engravings, some Raphael, some Petro da Cortona, some Poussin, some Raphael, Baroque, Neoclassical, Rococo, Cubist, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, etc. The books concept is great but the interaction of objects in paintings, or multi-group sculptures within the spirit of the books intent would have been a nice addition. The analysis objects are mostly trivial cases. The analysis methods are wonderful but I mean .........a chair by itself!!!
Great design problems are worked out by the interaction of objects, not just singular static objects.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search