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Design for People: Stories About How (and Why) We All Can Work Together to Make Things Better Paperback – January 26, 2016
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AIGA Eye on Design:
Design for People takes a very open approach, starting with a unique format that makes for a rich and multifaceted reading experience. Words are underlined as if they're hyperlinked to their definitions in the appendix....but the design stories themselves are told in a way that's engaging for design lovers who simply want a chance to peek behind the finished, public-facing work and learn how all those elements actually come together.
De Boekenwereld magazine [Netherlands]:
In a publication from a design studio of its own work, the focus is usually on propaganda and less on instruction and entertainment....This book gives a refreshing twist on the genre by offering the reader an insight into how a contract is embodied in the triangle of client, designer and contractor. Stowell has managed to combine meaningful learning, engaging entertainment, and excellent propaganda.
Communication Arts magazine:
Who better to design for people than people? Injecting the human element back into case studies, Scott Stowell offers readers a collection of memorable projects...as recounted by teams of designers, creatives and clients. The narrative from multiple viewpoints can get dizzying at times, but it reminds us that we all too often think of a design firm as a unified entity, instead of the teams of people who make it up.
Eye magazine [UK]:
Stowell tries to provide as full a picture as possible of the mechanics of the design process, an approach that is less about diplomacy or pulling back the curtain on a magic trick, and more about demystifying design and celebrating the act of people working together. Design for People is a book for everyone, no matter what their pre-existing knowledge of design. It feels as if you are being welcomed into a conversation.
LZ Sunday Paper:
Scott and his team do a great job presenting a sense of how a design solution comes to be--what the job's goals are in the first place, how many people are behind the success of what is seemingly singular vision, and how that vision gets articulated when the fantasy of pure design gives way to the realities of execution--tight parameters, budgets, layers of approvals, and the foe of all hope for unanimous vote: radical subjectivity.
Tough concepts are best made accessible through compelling but concise artwork that says very little in order to say a lot. Members of the Open design studio, led by Stowell, walk readers through the stages of many different design projects, including a revamp of The Nation magazine, signage for the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Bravo tv network.
The byline of Design for People--"by Scott Stowell and a cast of hundreds"--seems like hyperbole. Crack it open, though, and it's immediately apparent that it's not....The tome communicates through its form as much as through its text. The transparency afforded to the reader in the design process--especially to its less glamorous side--is echoed in the book's translucent cover.
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Design for People has something for everyone; seasoned graphic designers will find indispensable stories about running a studio and putting work into the real world, while non-designers will find a friendly ambassador making a case for design's role in the world. After reading Design for People, I had an insatiable appetite to go make work that matters.
“How” and “Why” are at the center of this book; where most design monographs are lacking in process, Scott Stowell's is nothing but. Design for People comprises twelve projects from the history of Stowell’s studio, Open, and each is accompanied by its own oral history. The book’s editors interviewed nearly two hundred people, from designers to clients to users. Nothing is sugarcoated; Stowell and company speak candidly about challenges and frustrations, mistakes and disagreements.
Underneath it all, though, is a sense that the people involved were having the time of their lives. As we follow along with the process, each project’s end product feels like an inevitability, a natural result of the collaborative struggle that got us there. Reading Design For People is like getting to live through each of these projects and learning all of the lessons Open learned about pitching to clients, working within limitations, and venturing into the unknown.