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MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer

36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0735711655
ISBN-10: 0735711658
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Editorial Reviews Review

With his first book, Flash Web Design, Hillman Curtis quickly earned Flash guru status, and deservedly so. Like the coolest mentor one could ever hope to find, he struck a chord with his audience by sharing not just the nuts and bolts behind his Flash creations, but his ideas on good design methodology.

MTIV expands on that. Here he shares his respect and excitement for new media, gives a blueprint for design challenges of all types, taps into the myriad visual and literary inspirations that fuel his imagination, and shows readers how to get past their own moments of "designer’s block."

Curtis is a fine storyteller. He takes anecdotes of coffee breaks, book tour lectures, work, life, and art, and weaves them around design maxims. For every morsel of advice, there are three or four personal stories that illustrate how he arrived at it and puts it to use. He shows how books, movies, print ads--just about anything--can be used in the search for creative solutions.

The seven steps in "Process" compose the bulk of the book. These are the exact steps Curtis’s design team applies to each project. Without giving too much away, they are Listen, Unite, Theme, Concept, Filter, Justify, and Eat the Audience. (Well, you’ll just have to get the book to find out about that last one.)

In "Inspiration," we learn that Curtis draws from Hemingway, Mies van der Rohe, Sidney Lumet, David Mamet, Leonard Cohen, Mark Rothko, and Joseph Müller-Brockman, among others. And the book finishes with a bang in the third chapter, "Practice," a collection of helpful tips in typography, color theory, XML, grids, and much more, from experts like Joseph Lowery (author of the Dreamweaver Bible) and usability authority Steve Krug.

MTIV is not just an easy read, it’s fun, warm, encouraging, and, yes, inspiring. A self-taught artist, Curtis has made MTIV the perfect Boy Scout manual for those who have stumbled on design as a new career or just languished through too many uninspired afternoons in front of the computer. --Angelynn Grant

From the Publisher

MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer is an indispensable guide about HOW to approach commercial design and become a better designer. This beautifully written and designed book unveils the methods behind Hillman Curtis' phenomenal success as a New Media designer. In well-crafted narrative and instructional form, Hillman outlines his systematic approach for working with clients to develop clear, cogent, and creative communication - three "musts" for successful design. Through trial and error, Hillman and his company honed a seven-step process for creating concepts, developing and designing New Media. Often overlooked or unknown by designers, the methods in this book are distilled from years of experience, and enhanced by years as a leader in the design field. Divided into three parts – Process, Inspiration and Practice – the book offers a practical methodology for successful artistic and professional work. Hillman poignantly explores the works and ideas of writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians that influence his own creative mind and offers insight into how others may learn to identify their influences as well. The third section, "Practice," is a diverse collection of instructional essays from design experts, covering cutting-edge technologies, color theory, and font use, to name a few. Lined with a subtle sense of humor and narration that really flows, this book is a joy to read and offers great advice to help designers with their own design work.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders (June 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735711658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735711655
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Nearly Nubile on May 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hillam Curtis, veritable Flash mavens as they are, show less interest in spewing out a snazzy graphic-design treatise or a 'Web Graphics for The Rest of Us' series of tips stash on how to make your designs ooze sex appeal.
They offer instead a rather refreshing and long overdue thoughtpiece on 'New Media' design that is not confined to the web. Our world has obviously chugged along since the days of whimsical DHTML and the other Nielsenesque extreme of prosaic "usability for everything", and we now have truly new mediums, modern technologies that need increasingly intelligent designing for.
This book presents some of the most practical, common-sensical ideologies to deal with such new-fangled challenges. Several philosophical elements of creative design are discussed, and while such rhetoric may not be everyone's bag, the writing is real-worldly and intuitive enough to be engrossing.
What makes it an outstanding book though is the smart undercurrent of design as an art of 'problem solving', with its primary agenda of identifying and meeting goals that target users expect from the medium they interact with.
You won't find tips, techniques and code snippets here except when inevitable to illustrate an idea. When we discuss color for instance, we talk about the affective influences of colour on people, not Pantene decimals or the spokes of a colour wheel. Discussing typography is not about quaint typefaces or font sizes but about leading the reader into the information, aiding and facilitating communication. The illustrations are fresh, exciting and for anyone related to design, veritably inspiring.
Is this required reading in graphic design courses yet? It should be. It certainly could be. A highly recommended reading for anyone in the business of design.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the dim dark early days of the Web a then unknown author combined personal anecdote, design insights, HTML code, layout tips and website samples into a unique book that became a bestseller over the course of two printings.
That book was David Siegel's Creating Killer Web Sites, and Hillman Curtis' MTIV is an admirable successor to the first Web bestseller. MTIV does not contain quite the same mix of stuff as its predecessor, and that's a good thing, as the Web and our understanding of it has changed since Siegel's time. Foremost is the fact that Flash has now assumed an importance that plain vanilla HTML once held.
Curtis the Flasher of Renown.
Hillman Curtis is one of the best and most famous Flashers on the planet. He is the Flash designer who first started using the term motion graphics for what he was doing in the early days of Flash, and he is the first Flash author I've read who emphasizes story, story, story as the motivation and prime mover of what he does. In fact he is possibly the first well-known and well-respected designer who has had the guts to come out and say such a thing.
In a rerun of the legend of the blind men and the elephant, people have perceived the Web as they want to, based on personal interests. Hence technologists seeing it as a technology problem, IT (IS, for North American readers) specialists see it as an IT solution, programmers assuming it is a programming exercise, traditional graphic designers seeing websites as a collection of pages like those in a book, and corporate marketing communications types treating websites as online brochures.
They are all partially right. Websites can be some or all of these things, but the Web itself is about communication and storytelling.
Read more ›
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
and paid the price. Here's my take on it.
Process. Hillman Curtis makes good points about identifying and listening to your audience. Also he warns us, don't get too wrapped up in your design; remember it is the client's web site and their objectives come first.
Inspiration. Curtis recounts several tales about how he gets inspired; but after a few weeks he realizes his "flash" just isn't serving any real purpose, so he goes back to basics. Curtis' claim to fame appears to be the design of the Adobe web site. You decide - is the Adobe web site a source of inspiration for you?
Practice. In this section Hillman defers to other notable web authors, including articles by Joseph Lowery and Steve Krug. These authors are good, but I already have their books. There is also information in this section by other authors on type, font and color. It is all very basic. For example, an entire page is devoted to identifying 12 colors (count em, twelve) as either primary, tertiary or secondary. As an added bonus, red is identified as warm and green as cool.
The slick pages in this book make it too expensive for what you get in return - a glossy photo of Chris Hillman on the cover.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Let me tell you why I bought this book: I'm a self-taught designer, and I do what Mr. Curtis does - New Media Design. I create web sites, Flash, multimedia, video, and more through my company Wicked Penguin.
I've bought many books on software and technical aspects- ColdFusion, Flash, XML, etc. However, what all those books lacked was one simple word: INSPIRATION. Yes, they told you what buttons to push, what code to type, etc. But what is all that worth if you don't have great ideas and a good way of getting them across to people?
That's where this book comes in. First off, it's great to know you're not alone when it comes to having difficulty finding that right idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but finding a GOOD idea is no easy feat. This book encourages you to find ideas anywhere, whether it's in movies, print, old posters, etc. As long as you arrive where you need to be, it doesn't matter how you get there.
Secondly, as a designer who went to art school, I've never been schooled in business practices - the art of the deal, so-to-speak. While I feel I'm adept at the design part, it's the interaction with the client that's always been somewhat of a challenge for me. This book opens doors to new ways of approaching clients, particularly by stressing a "you're all in this together" theme.
Mr. Curtis' style of writing is excellent. He presents an idea, delivers a related anecdote or story, and then brings it home. It's a blend of theory and practical experience that can immediately make you see what he's talking about.
This book is not for those who want a nuts-and-bolts instruction on Flash programming, or web design. This is - in its essence - a philosophy book. If you're looking for in-depth line-by-line breakdowns of SQL database queries, walk away.
As I said, I've bought tons of web and media design books. This is the only one that ever made me go "WOW".
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