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Pretty Ugly: Visual Rebellion in Design Paperback – May 25, 2012

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Paperback, May 25, 2012
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gestalten (May 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 389955423X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3899554236
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,152,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Pretty Ugly confirms that a tendency that would once have caused dismayed design industry leaders to throw around epithets like 'garbage' is now well entrenched in parts of Europe. --Print Magazine

In the age of Instagram, the work of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii looks utterly contemporary... A rare opportunity to see the past not as we imagine it but as it was vibrant, colorful, and alive. --Print Magazine

In the age of Instagram, the work of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii looks utterly contemporary... A rare opportunity to see the past not as we imagine it but as it was vibrant, colorful, and alive. --Print Magazine

From the Inside Flap

Aesthetic rampages by the trailblazers of tomorrow's design. The variety of examples in Pretty Ugly makes clear that creative leadership in today's design world is less a matter of skilled craft and more about mastering elements that give's one's work a unique visual identity. The elements shown here may still be considered by some to by ugly, but they are already influencing the vanguard of tomorrow's design.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By plell on July 6, 2012
Pretty Ugly is hyped as a collection of rebellious examples of contemporary design. It documents a trend spread across graphics, fashion, visual communication, product and furniture design (plus art and photography) that bends away from traditional visual archetypes of taste and objective performance and strives towards originality. It pulls together projects both bright and brash but intently progressive rather than kitsch or self-consciously trashy. Once-shunned visual attributes such as pixelation, colour fades, overlaid or malformed text and imagery, clashing typography and a disdain for colour-matching are now emblems of these edgy insurgents. One thing's for sure, these non-tasteful neo-tastemakers ain't gonna stay underdogs for long.

It's a book about directional style and design decorum that works on the assumption that initially unattractive expression must be groundbreaking and original; contortion becomes confection. It follows that the visual agitators within Pretty Ugly are actively being received as ugly or unsavoury. This is a bit hasty... While many of the included spotlight artists and designers work at the cutting-edge of a new visual movement and produce unquestionably original work, they also work with large commercial clients and well-established institutions. Pretty Ugly also sails insouciantly forward without a backward glance at the over-wrung design heritage that has led it to this point. But that's the appeal of this book; a super solid, lean and sassy look at contemporary design's leading-edge. Get hip readers!

The design of the book itself (by is sympathetic to the character of the content without being overbearing and copy is sparse throughout, letting the imagery speak for itself.
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