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Thoughts on Design Paperback – August 19, 2014
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About the Author
Paul Rand (1914–1996) is widely recognized as one of the major influences in the history of graphic design.
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However, I would have preferred a bit more of examples descriptions and a bit more of content.
Top international reviews
Straight out of the gate it focuses on design and its applicability to the job in hand. My friend Stephen used to talk about designers falling into two categories:
Idea led designers that focus on the communications problem
Style-led designers. Their work has a particular look and feel, that might be fashionable (for a while). The Designers Republic as falling into this category
Rand is blunter in his assessment under a section called The Beautiful and The Useful. His point isn’t that they are mutually exclusive. Obeying classical art rules creates useless design unless it addresses the communications. The sad thing is that 70 years later it still needs to be said with the same urgency.
Rand describes the designers challenge as an overlap with strategy and planning functions in agencies. Rand started in agencies a generation before planning emerged as a discipline. Planning started in London advertising agencies. The idea of leaving pre-conceptions out of the process is a keystone of planning and strategy.
Finally, Rand focuses less on typography than one would expect. Instead he focuses on the creative use of space and direction. He viewed debates around the use of typography as an unnecessary distraction. Typography decisions would be resolved by wider thinking on space and direction. Thoughts on Design is surprisingly accessible.
Why only 2 stars? you ask....well they aren't for Pauls work or writing, he's a 5, they're for this particular publishers version of this book and the "bang for your buck" you get, or rather lack of it.
1. Out of the 95 pages, only 20 or so are reading - the original published version had 164 pages (see Paul Rand website), which I understand won't all be readable as a good majority are images of his work, which is great to see but I'm left wondering why this is so short? (I'd completed it in about an hour).
2. The original (again see Paul Rand website), " 94 halftone illustrations and 8 color plates.", this version has no colour versions of his work at all!. If they could manage it back in 1947 it makes you wonder why they didn't choose to use some in this version?.
So is it worth a read?, yes definitely, is it worth £12 though?, I'll have to say no. I would suggest getting the cheaper Kindle version, try a local library or if this version was half the price it would be better. It would be nice to read the original but to buy they seem very expensive and few and far between.
I would also note that Pauls writing seems sexists as it all refers to the designer as "he", I gather that was the way in 1947 but thank goodness times have changed......don't let that put you off though.
But ok, maybe it's ok as teaser to buy the "real" printed hardcover version.