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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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Editorial Reviews

Review

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....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.

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.

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.

Metropolis magazine:
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.
               
Surface magazine:
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.


[The] book takes a very open approach, starting with a unique format that makes for a rich and multifaceted reading experience... [It] encompasses surprise, stories, and meaning as well as care, wit, clarity, connections, questions, answers, value, change, and joy. (Perrin Drumm Eye On Design)

Scott Stowell’s Design for People is groundbreaking in its approach to design literature. Focusing on 12 design projects by Stowell’s design firm, Open, the volume offers a sort of oral history as told by those involved with each project. (Grain Edit)

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. (Metropolis)

From the Author

Scott Stowell:
Every design project brings people together, including the people who make it and the people who use it. In this book, you'll hear the stories behind 12 of those projects from lots of those people, including me.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolis Books (January 26, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938922859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938922855
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I had been anticipating Design for People for some time; when I finally got my hands on it, I devoured it in less than a week.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Full disclosure: I know Scott Stowell personally. But I was also a huge fan of his work long before I knew him. (And I don't throw around such compliments lightly.) Now he's created a monograph so good that I'm super inspired—and insanely jealous. Design for People is almost an anti-graphic design book—and in the best way possible. Where most tomes of this ilk barrage one with beautiful images free of any context or explanation, this book focuses instead on the process and the results of 12 varied design projects Scott and his team at Open have completed over the last two decades—and told through the many voices involved in and affected by the work. Where so much of graphic design continues to burrow inward and speak to only other graphic designers, Scott's work is proudly populist and approachable. And. So. Goddam. Smart. (And. Funny!) My copy is now desecrated with post-it notes because of all the insights here that I want to remember for my own work. There are only a handful of books about graphic design that are truly indispensable. This is one of them. Really. (And for the glossary alone, I'd argue.) Good job, Scott.
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