on November 28, 2009
I think the title is a little misleading: A lot of the stuff in here would be better described as grungy than retro, necessarily. I was particularly disappointed that--even though the bottom of the cover says "1000s of Photoshop brushes,..."--that there were only two Photoshop brushes (a distressed texture one and a light flares one), neither of which seem particularly retro.
As far as the patterns and vector graphics go, there is some useful stuff, but overall they're rather underwhelming. (I liked the vintage font guide, though.) It also would have been good if the gallery of retro art by other designers used elements from the book. But, then again, since a lot of the elements in the book aren't particulary exciting or even retro-seeming...
I had really high hopes for this book. It's a shame it doesn't live up more to my (understandable) expectations. I'm a big fan of Grant's Colorburned site, and I really hate to give a negative review, but perhaps doing so will contribute to the next one in the series being a bit more up to snuff.
on February 12, 2010
The two reviews so far that state that the book is "low on content" don't get the point of "Retro Style Graphics:" it's a printed sourcebook with a CD packed with resources so that the buyers of this book can get to work with their own creations.
Unlike the Taschen series of books, where we get to see prints and photos for inspiration, RSG helps designers with a quick and easy reference to all the resources offered. Think of it as a Pantone Color Chips book, but for Illustrator and Photoshop brushes, color palletes, fonts and vectors.
Detractors of this book might think it's not worth the low price for which it sells, but when designers are inundated with information, management of digital assets can, more and more, become a chore. RSG is accessible, easy to thumb through, and well-organized. It makes finding the materials on the CD easy. The savings in time, as well as the resources themselves, make this book valuable for all my retro design projects.
on January 11, 2010
I adore "retro," though I'm amused at the popularity of a family design that combines graphic concepts created by well-known professional designers as well as concepts some of them reviled. What other "school" of design would encompass both the sophisticated work of someone like Reid Miles and that of some anonymous grunt slaving in studio bull pen creating matchbook art? This book, Retro Style Graphics, is an interesting compendium of patterns, fonts, high-resolution scans of textures such as letter and ledger paper and vector graphics. If you're looking for a comprehensive overview of retro artwork, I'd keep searching, but if you want a great little resource to flesh out your design toolkit this is the book for you.