Theoretical reconstructions of imaginary objects etc.



Well that was easy and I have to say, really enjoyable…funny even. I was expecting it to be heavy going, like Ways of Seeing from the same Penguin series – which, I’m reluctant to admit to be struggling with…again. It seems to me that Ways is one of those books that every designer is supposed to have read but everytime I give it a go, well, it just leaves me with a headache.
Munari‘s Design as Art (originally published in english in 1971), on the other hand was a joy: insightful, broad, macro, micro and witty. If you don’t know it, and I didn’t until recently, it’s a collection of, kind of random, essays on aspects of design; not unlike Beirut‘s and Vignelli‘s books. Munari covers topics like: colour education for all; central images in posters (which, I thought, had parallels with something Ben had reported on recently); fit for purpose; how (unnecessarily) complicated Western life is; making a lampshade out of a nylon stocking; how to geometrically construct the thorn of a rose; how many things are (unnecessarily) made to look like other things; the similarity between the growth of a tree and a nuclear explosion; and loads of other things. But what surprised me was how accessible it all is. There’s no high-brow, over-intellectualising; just plain wisdom and perceptive observation. And you can get it for just a few quid so it’s damn good value for money.
Incidentally, I haven’t given up on Ways. A lame, perhaps vacuous, strategy it may be but what I’ve decided to do is re-purchase it in the new format/design, in the hope that I’ll be more inspired to persevere. You see, there’s something about the Yes designs. I particularly like how the uncoated cover board deteriorates almost the minute you handle the book…not sure if it’s an intentional aspect of the design but I welcome it either way; I love a dog-eared book. Anyway, I’ll let you know how I get on.

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