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Toothpicks and Logos: Design in Everyday Life Paperback – May 8, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

An ambitious overview of the concept of design in the largest sense of the word, this volume tackles a diverse range of subjects, from tableware to advertising campaigns. Heskett (design, Illinois Inst. of Technology) guides the reader through a cursory yet compelling exploration of the myriad incarnations of design. Rather than organizing the book by profession or discipline, he takes the perspective of the end users (or receivers) and considers how they encounter design in their day-to-day lives as objects, environments, communications materials, identities, wayfinding systems, etc. Moving rapidly from one example to another, the book whets the appetite for deeper information and comes through with a robust "For Further Reading" section. Members of various design-related professions (graphic, interior, environmental, and industrial) will find this book of interest, but it will also prove rewarding for anyone interested in mass media, information glut, consumer buying habits, propaganda, ergonomics, and the cultural differences inherent in globalization. It is best suited to larger libraries or libraries with extensive liberal arts, fine arts, or communications sections. Phil Hamlett, Turner & Assocs., San Francisco
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Heskett, a professor of design at Chicago's Illinois Institute of Technology and author of the textbook Industrial Design (1981), defines design in a "meaningful, holistic sense" by working from the recognition that "design is one of the basic characteristics of what it is to be human, and an essential determinant of the quality of human life." In a notably lucid narrative rich in provocative examples, he succinctly traces design's development from the earliest of technological breakthroughs to today's frenzied array of gadgets, graphics, and objects great and small, essential and frivolous. He goes beyond the classic duo of form and function to discuss utility and significance and to differentiate between the ephemeral and the enduring. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192804448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192804440
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,321,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book held my attention and enjoyably helped me understand the concept of design from a holistic point of view rather than a "graphic design," "industrial design" or "any-other-niche design" point of view. Heskett has written a very readable (5-6 hours, and I don't read fast) book that successfully communicates what design is and why it is important. He helped me understand why design is personal, cultural and everywhere. Most of us, at some level, understand why design is important (especially when we experience poor design), but it was very educational to be reminded of this by someone with his perspective and understanding. He provides foundation (The 1st three chapters are "What is Design?," "The Historical Evolution of Design," and "Utility and Significance") and then details five applications of design (a chapter per application). The areas of application are "Objects," Communications," Environments," Identities," and "Systems." He concludes with a chapter on the contexts in which design exists and a look at the future of design. It is well written, and packed with great insights. I look forward to reading it again and gleaning more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written snapshot of what comprises the disciplines of "design," from industrial products or even entire environemnts to the crafting of organizational images. In a perfect economy or detail, the curious reader can explore the modalities of all these disciplines as they are practiced today. It is useful and indeed fascinating. I know of no better source for those interested in these issues.
For example, according to Heskett, there are product design companies that rely on single maestros - designers celebiritries such as Philippe Starck. Then, there are team-based groups springing up in the US, like IDEO, that can design anything very quickly on demand, from toothbrush handles to Palm Pilots. Finally, there are sepcialised design groups within corporations, some of which act like consultencies that have to bid for business in competition with outside competitors (this occurs in Philips). Heskett does the same for graphic design, public relations, etc., so there is much here for those seeking specific answers to certain questions as well as a larger contextual overview.
It is nice to find a design book that is not a picture book, but one based on content and analysis. I will consult this for years to come for its holistic perspective on the multi-faceted disciplines that make up "design."
Recommended warmly.
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By A Customer on April 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Gives a quality overview of the layers of design concerns and approaches for industrial design. No topic is examined in depth, which keeps the book flowing and light.
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