Most helpful critical review
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2011
I thought this book was going to be a really great guide on how to incorporate my "hand" back into graphic design. In some ways I feel like this book has achieved that, but in others, I really feel like it's a huge failure.
Firstly, let me just say that 'graphics' is a term used quite loosely in this book. There's a lot of work represented by 3D and fiber-based artists here (specifically hand sewn plush toys..I'm not kidding), which is great if you're trying to push the envelope or think outside the box and what have you, but frankly most of these examples I would never even consider 'graphic art' (let alone graphic design) and there really isn't a strong argument for their place in the book.
Another issue I had was that from the first reviewer, I really thought this was going to be a kind of 'how to' book (not in the sense of having steps and everything, but telling you how they achieved these effects and what materials they used, etc). It does outline steps for some examples, but [a.] I don't need a tutorial on how to paint my sneakers (really? I did that when I was ten in the middle of math class), and [b.] some of the tutorials that I was interested in seeing simply didn't exist or weren't in enough detail. In other words, this book doesn't actually show you how to do all of the work it presents (which is kind of a tease if you ask me, especially with a subtitle like that), and tends to err on the side of 'oh, that's kind of what I did that one time...' versus 'wow that's really inspiring, I didn't think of that'.
Lastly, Wray is a graphic designer, marketing primarily towards fellow or budding designers, but her content is more geared towards general creatives in my opinion. Even so, as a fellow graphic designer I see many flaws with this book that simply cannot be pardoned. Pixelated and blurry images are a big problem that I immediately noticed even just flipping casually through the pages. Another issue is her typography, which attempts to be impromptu and convey that sense of being handmade when really it just appears contrived and takes up an unnecessary amount of space that could be filled with more detailed views of the work.
I think this book is great for high school or early college-level creatives who want a broader spectrum of what can be done with 'graphics' and how they can be applied, but I really don't think this book is very helpful for middle to higher-level graphic designers or illustrators. I might be returning this book for myself but maybe I would have used it more when I was younger and newer to graphic work.
I hope this helps. If you are looking for a more 'grown up' version I highly suggest Ellen Lupton's books, which are really worth reading and are efficiently designed to meet more attentive needs.