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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Picturebook of Typography / Design, November 3, 2000
This review is from: Designing Books: Practice and Theory: (Hardcover)
As indicated by the review above, the book is divided up into three sections that tackle the history, methods, and styles of book design. The title, "Designing Books," may sound like a technical reference, but it's not. The book should have been named "Book Designs," for it is more a picturebook of illustrations and typography from books of poetry, novels, brochures, art books, and other publications.
The author does cover Swiss grid design, proportions of text areas and margins, and the differences between asymmetrical and symmetrical design theories. It is perhaps this historical reference of asymmetrical and symmetrical styles that make this book worth having. It presents intelligent comparisons of both theories, the history behind each movement, and the cultural stereotypes attached to each. Case in point, Jan Tschichold's groundbreaking work in asymmetrical design / book layout, before totally reversing course and becoming one of the great symmetrical designers in his later years.
The author intelligently illustrates the positive and negative aspects of both design theories, without leaning towards either as a preference. The author finds beauty and intrigue in both styles.
To clarify however, the "asymmetrical" theories illustrated here are based on 1960s Swiss/German grid layouts using lots of Univers and white space. This is not a collection of cutting-edge typography or radical design work. The illustrated examples are clean, modest and classic.
A good starting point for those who need a clear entry point into this field, but by no means a reference manual for the experienced.
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