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Wordless Diagrams Hardcover – March 24, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nigel Holmes was the graphics director of Time magazine for 16 years. He has done graphic explanations for the BBC, the Ford Motor Company, American Express, and a number of other companies. His work has appeared in many magazines, including Esquire, the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. He lives in Connecticut.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (April 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582345228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582345222
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nigel Holmes (me; born 1942) grew up in England, and moved to the US in 1978 to work at Time Magazine. When I left in 1994 I was the graphics director, and had written three books about graphic design. (They're out of print now, but Amazon usually has second-hand copies.) Newer books include Wordless Diagrams (2005) and Nigel Holmes on Information Design (2006), by Steven Heller.

My first children's book is Pinhole and the Expedition to the Jungle. It's for children aged somewhere around 11 or 12 (but people tell me it's not really a children's book at all!) You can also get a full-color version of it for the iPad, with jungle sounds.

NEW BOOK! The Book of Everything (Lonely Planet, December 2012). It's full of tips, friendly warnings, diagrams, maps, charts, lists and fun associated with travel (some only tangentially associated, I must say).

Please don't get me mixed up with another Englishman named Nigel Holmes. He has written lots of books about a particular aspect of photography.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Fisher on September 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of the work of designer Nigel Holmes, the former Graphics Director for Time magazine and principal of the firm Explanation Graphics, for many years. His 1985 book "Designing Pictorial Symbols" was very helpful in teaching me, early in my career, to distill concepts down to their simplest forms. With his newest book, "Wordless Diagrams" from Bloomsbury Publishing, Holmes continues the entertaining form of education for which he is known through his publications and public speaking engagements. While not directly related to the practice of identity design, this volume is an excellent creative concepting tool for any designer interested in the creation of logos. Actually, any designer could benefit from the included lessons - and have a few chuckles in the process. The book reinforces the old K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle of design I learned in college three decades ago. In simple graphic forms, chronologically numbered for ease of use, Holmes clearly illustrates nearly 100 tasks such as how to wave like a Royal, how to make a snowman, how to pierce a tongue, and how to cremate a body. In addition, readers will also learn how to milk a cow, pour a beer and keep a low-cut dress in place as they are taken on this wordless, visual adventure. "How to train for and then eat 53 1/2 hot dogs" immediately reminded me of the lesson in simplicity, visually and verbally conveyed by Holmes, in a past HOW Design Conference presentation: "Always line up your sausages." - Jeff Fisher, "Logo Notions" column, CreativeLatitude.com
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Houser on March 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hilarious actions diagrammed with simple but technical precision, such as how to curtsy and how to do the queen's wave - from the carriage, no less! It's a great conversation starter in my living room and everytime I pick it up I notice something new.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles Runels Md on July 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The two page description of CPR tells all anyone would need to know as a lay person to do what they could to keep air and blood moving for a few minutes. So, the book may be worth having for that very clear description alone.

The picture-hanging diagram was also useful (I never could figure out how to put the nail in the right place so that the frame hung at the height I wanted).

Felt a little tricked by the tie-the-cherry-stem-with-your-tongue diagram. It simply shows the stem go in and then the mouth swish around (from the outside) and then the knotted stem emerge. Absolutely no explation is given. I've read good explanations and saw one diagram on line but hoped to see something more clear to recommend.

On the otherhand, he gives a wonderful inside-the-mouth view of how to blow a bubble with bubble gum.

Overall a fun book. I liked the fact that none of the diagrams are labeled with what they're explaining (so you can flip through the book and try to deduce the point of the diagrams--some are easier to deduce than others). No worry though, the table of contents describes the point of the obtuse.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By andrei on April 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I guess some of you had hard time figuring out one of those instruction manuals without any pictures, something like "connect the supplied cord with three yellow and 1 green connectors to the rear port of the front panel on your VCR, while pushing middle round button on the left side of the right operational panel..." and so on. Don't you hate it? This book is not an attempt to explain you how to operate your washing machine or VCR. It's a good collection of "instructional manual" illustrations, which don't require any words. Almost all of the illustrations are "manuals" how to: "to propose", "to lasso a steer", "to parallel park your car", "to fold a T-shirt", and 154 of others.

I would recommend this book as a fun read and a good present, although i found it very inspirational.

also you might find useful a similar book "Open Here: The Art of Instructional Design" ISBN: 1556709625.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jan D. Mccoy on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book presents information in a very interesting way. I bought it to see how the technique worked but was amazed to see how much I learned from the various demonstrations. It was very interesting and informative.
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