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Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist Hardcover – November 1, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

From his introductory notes explaining the book's subtitle, Kalman demonstrates a clear contrariness to the common understanding of the role of graphic design. From window dresser and shopping bag designer of the nascent Barnes & Noble in the 1970s to founder and leader of the award-winning M & Co. design firm in the 1980s to his revolutionary anti-selling aesthetic as founding editor-in-chief at Benetton's Colors magazine, Kalman has sought out roles unfamiliar to him and done them in his own way. This hasn't stopped him from developing one of the best-known and most influential bodies of work in the field. If all this monograph did were to convey this complex personality?as it does in the more than a dozen essays by and interviews with former clients and co-workers?it would be a grand success. But, more than that, it surveys important work from his entire career in more than 600 illustrations, all thoughtfully captioned. Essential for all academic libraries, this addictively browseable tribute is also recommended for larger public libraries.?Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The New Yorker

"A witty, eclectic tome of images and writings-half catalogue, half manifesto- spanning the career of thc graphic designer Tibor Kahlman, the man behind Benetton's Colors magazine; a Communist-theme apartment building called Red Square that hastened gentrification on the Lower East Side while seeming to subvert it; and the new Forty-Second Street, for which he claims full responsibility. Kalman creates powerful, unprecedented, sometimes haphazard imagery (Ronald Reagan with AIDS, a saint having an orgasm), but always for commercial purposes (to sell sweaters)."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568981503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568981505
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 8.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ghost in the Matrix on May 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have tons of design books! Too many books! Of all the books this one travels with me everywhere I go just in case I need a little inspiration. Tibor and his pack of designers I believe have defined what design and communication is all about. They have pushed ideas to the point of rare novelty. With many of the designs in this book I can see that M&Co never stops asking the greatest of all creative questions: "What if?" There is only one thing I hate about the book - It makes me second guess everything that I do. Is it orginal? Is it "What if" enough? Am I following the creative line that is widely walked or have I grown enough spine to stray off the beaten path?
...Or am I just full of s**t?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is an inspiration. Check out his exhibit at the SF Moma if you can, and pick this book up for reference.
Here is a designer that realized that everything should not look neat, polished, and bland- reflecting what every corporate machine thinks is "tasteful". The designer has a responsibility to add flair, artistic integrity and originality into his/her work. That means punch, depth, grit, irony- everything that we used to see in advertising before MTV and online megastores.
Today's web designers often copy the latest "polished" style in an attempt to look professional, and garner more clients. That's why so much of the web looks alike right now. I even admit that I look back on old designs and wonder if I designed something because I liked it- or if I knew that the client would like it.
This book helps to shake forth the notion that we can propel design (even on the web) both artistically and commercially, forward with social and political integrity! Buy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Monteiro on August 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is just plain required reading for anyone in a creative field. Tibor puts the humanity back into the design experience for both the designer and the viewer. Before we designed for "users" Tibor taught us that we were people designing for people. He was also a huge believer of the designer as an active participant in the social landscape. It's a shame that he's gone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
what a fantastic book this is. i often buy books here in toronto at one of the big chain stores and return them for the money because they're too darn expensive (this one was $95!). but i cannot bring myself to return it so instead i'm eating kraft dinner for a month. an absolutely fantastic book!
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