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One of the last surviving members of the futurist generation, Bruno Munari's Design as Art is an illustrated journey into the artistic possibilities of modern design translated by Patrick Creagh published as part of the 'Penguin on Design' series in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The designer of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and the public, between livin One of the last surviving members of the futurist generation, Bruno Munari's Design as Art is an illustrated journey into the artistic possibilities of modern design translated by Patrick Creagh published as part of the 'Penguin on Design' series in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The designer of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and the public, between living people and art as a living thing' Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as 'the new Leonardo'. Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible, and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use everyday. Lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children's books, advertising, cars and chairs - these are just some of the subjects to which he turns his illuminating gaze. How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. Bruno Munari (1907-1998), born in Milan, was the enfant terrible of Italian art and design for most of the twentieth century, contributing to many fields of both visual (paint, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphics) and non-visual arts (literature, poetry). He was twice awarded the Compasso d'Oro design prize for excellence in his field. If you enjoyed Design as Art, you might like John Berger's Ways of Seeing, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the most influential designers of the twentieth century ... Munari has encouraged people to go beyond formal conventions and stereotypes by showing them how to widen their perceptual awareness' International Herald Tribune


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One of the last surviving members of the futurist generation, Bruno Munari's Design as Art is an illustrated journey into the artistic possibilities of modern design translated by Patrick Creagh published as part of the 'Penguin on Design' series in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The designer of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and the public, between livin One of the last surviving members of the futurist generation, Bruno Munari's Design as Art is an illustrated journey into the artistic possibilities of modern design translated by Patrick Creagh published as part of the 'Penguin on Design' series in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The designer of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and the public, between living people and art as a living thing' Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as 'the new Leonardo'. Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible, and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use everyday. Lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children's books, advertising, cars and chairs - these are just some of the subjects to which he turns his illuminating gaze. How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. Bruno Munari (1907-1998), born in Milan, was the enfant terrible of Italian art and design for most of the twentieth century, contributing to many fields of both visual (paint, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphics) and non-visual arts (literature, poetry). He was twice awarded the Compasso d'Oro design prize for excellence in his field. If you enjoyed Design as Art, you might like John Berger's Ways of Seeing, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the most influential designers of the twentieth century ... Munari has encouraged people to go beyond formal conventions and stereotypes by showing them how to widen their perceptual awareness' International Herald Tribune

30 review for Design as Art

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vikas

    "Art asks questions,Design practically answers them" -what I got out of the book Its really gotten out of hand lately and its vague as it is! but to answer most of the questions In a short informative thingie I always do here at Goodreads! I will say its the bridge between science and everyday life and thats my own philosophy what design is, you may have your own Idea about it! but its more related to having a practical solution rather than have a stylized approach in mind like most of the des "Art asks questions,Design practically answers them" -what I got out of the book Its really gotten out of hand lately and its vague as it is! but to answer most of the questions In a short informative thingie I always do here at Goodreads! I will say its the bridge between science and everyday life and thats my own philosophy what design is, you may have your own Idea about it! but its more related to having a practical solution rather than have a stylized approach in mind like most of the designers do now!! As a working professional(interaction&industrial design) I would like to give an example: Bruno Munari asked an old Designer namely the chief engineer who designed a scooter- why did he choose the particular color he used for the scooter? His simple answer was 'it was the most suitable and it was the cheapest' and I know its much more complicated than that! but you get what the general approach looks like and what it should be-"effectiveness over stylized accessories", I will leave your thoughts at that! And if you wanna have a chat what it is to you or you disagree! feel free to drop a message -So long guys!soooooloooonngg

  2. 5 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    I started reading this book since I am fascinated by design and this book is considered one of the best on it. But, sadly, I just couldn't get into it. I was bored throughout and had to stop reading midway. The reasons being - most of the concepts which might have been earth shattering 50 years back are now common knowledge and the other being that we have progressed into the realm of computers. The book is not really at fault for not addressing the second point but it just feels so dated. I started reading this book since I am fascinated by design and this book is considered one of the best on it. But, sadly, I just couldn't get into it. I was bored throughout and had to stop reading midway. The reasons being - most of the concepts which might have been earth shattering 50 years back are now common knowledge and the other being that we have progressed into the realm of computers. The book is not really at fault for not addressing the second point but it just feels so dated.

  3. 4 out of 5

    sevdah

    This has been my Italian year reading wise. After Elena Ferrante, Umberto Eco, Roberto Calasso, Felice Benuzzi, I'm adding Bruno Munari to my list of the best experiences of 2016. For me, Design as Art might be the definitive book on design, because it's precise, smart, and humorous, and because I've never before read anyone talk about design with such combination of joy and gentle scolding that at times I needed to close the book and laugh to myself. His idea that children are like cats (sit qu This has been my Italian year reading wise. After Elena Ferrante, Umberto Eco, Roberto Calasso, Felice Benuzzi, I'm adding Bruno Munari to my list of the best experiences of 2016. For me, Design as Art might be the definitive book on design, because it's precise, smart, and humorous, and because I've never before read anyone talk about design with such combination of joy and gentle scolding that at times I needed to close the book and laugh to myself. His idea that children are like cats (sit quietly and wait for them to notice you instead of pulling silly faces which will simply make them think you're silly), his descriptions of peas, rose or orange as design objects ("contains a small seed [...], a small free gift offered by the firm to the client in case the latter wishes to start a production of these objects on his own account"), his mediations on when design needs to step back and when it needs to step up, his maddening account on the various types of chairs or knives ("and is there anyone who doesn't know about the knife for making slits in chestnuts?"), his attempt at a poem made entirely out of graphic symbols... What a great read this one is.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Part social commentary in a world of design, part designerly musing, and part thoughtful criticism at a world filled with abused objects, Munari's new publication by Penguin is a welcoming oasis of short essays (many merely one page long concisely argued and written) to the tyranny of cognitive science and user research tomes dominating design thinking today (think Norman and IDEO combined). Clearly, Munari was writing in and for another period. That was a period spearheaded by designers-thinker Part social commentary in a world of design, part designerly musing, and part thoughtful criticism at a world filled with abused objects, Munari's new publication by Penguin is a welcoming oasis of short essays (many merely one page long concisely argued and written) to the tyranny of cognitive science and user research tomes dominating design thinking today (think Norman and IDEO combined). Clearly, Munari was writing in and for another period. That was a period spearheaded by designers-thinkers from the ranks of Nelson, Eames, Maldonado, Rittel, Bill, Aicher and Dreyfuss. These designers offer the insight that acute observation combined with thoughtful reflection of the material world is one of the most powerful forte of a designer. In this book, I like the Munari's insight of 'wearing' best. He asks us to look at how objects become worn in their everyday use. Should we design objects on the sole merit of personal aesthetics and upon the Platonic plane of Ideal Geometry? Or should we design objects according to a limited sampling of user-needs study? Or as Munari suggests, should we design objects according to how it has been worn across time? Munari did not answer his question (neither would I!). But it is this pensive quality of his work that merit his presence in the mind of every design thinker--a mind that seeks to ponder the thoughts on design across time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liam O'Leary

    Video review here Appealing coffee book material, but conceptually vapid and over-opinionated as an art theory book. Many, many two page essays here explain basic principles that you forgot you already knew. 'The circle represents infinity, the square is home or a house'... The problem is that he treats readers as his consumers rather than his peers or pupils. This reads like a sales pitch. This is a book convincing the public that 'design is art', but not a book informing future designers what m Video review here Appealing coffee book material, but conceptually vapid and over-opinionated as an art theory book. Many, many two page essays here explain basic principles that you forgot you already knew. 'The circle represents infinity, the square is home or a house'... The problem is that he treats readers as his consumers rather than his peers or pupils. This reads like a sales pitch. This is a book convincing the public that 'design is art', but not a book informing future designers what makes design that is art. As someone learning 3D and 2D visual art and design and who specializes in science illustration there just isn't that much interest here. I'm not sure if this was intended for a Western audience, but some of the cultural issues he has with bamboo just aren't that relevant or generalizable to other aspects of design. None of these essays have principles that can be extracted and applied to other areas, they are basic musings that are as specialized as they are useless to inspiring design. They don't encourage further thought, they question nothing, they simply state observations. The majority of the book is saying 'it is this way *just because* it is'. Being told fast cars are a luxury as if we didn't know this before without critiquing it in any useful way seemed patronizing, pandering and pretentious. Maybe this is the stride of a designer, to simply identify consumer interests and provide a sellable solution, but there's just no self-awareness or detail to this here. It felt like he wanted you to think he knew what design was more than to encourage, inform or instruct readers. He refuses any depth, and so I just drew blanks. All of this said, most of the essays are light and accessible, but not as interesting, brave or complex as say John Berger's or Susan Sontag's essays on art. It's already too dated to be useful to anyone serious about design. I learned a lot more about art and geometry from a Jungian psychoanalysis essay in Man & His Symbols! I learned so much more passively about vector art design principles from reading the comic books of Chris Ware! These essays were impractical for me, so I'm glad to be done with them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Satyajeet

    ‘Copying nature’ is one thing and understanding nature is another. Copying nature can be simply a form of manual dexterity that does not help us to understand, for it shows us things just as we are accustomed to seeing them. But studying the structures of nature, observing the evolution of forms, can give everyone a better understanding of the world we live in. It's a gem! ‘Copying nature’ is one thing and understanding nature is another. Copying nature can be simply a form of manual dexterity that does not help us to understand, for it shows us things just as we are accustomed to seeing them. But studying the structures of nature, observing the evolution of forms, can give everyone a better understanding of the world we live in. It's a gem!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Natty Peterkin

    About half of this book is excellent and insightful design theory, which I found compelling and inspiring as a designer myself. However, the rest of the material somewhat detracts from the excellence of these parts with tangential stories about the author's own projects (references to his own work aren't a bad thing as such, they are just too frequent and sometimes too lengthy) and a couple of tedious chapters that spend several pages dramatically emphasising a single point. About half of this book is excellent and insightful design theory, which I found compelling and inspiring as a designer myself. However, the rest of the material somewhat detracts from the excellence of these parts with tangential stories about the author's own projects (references to his own work aren't a bad thing as such, they are just too frequent and sometimes too lengthy) and a couple of tedious chapters that spend several pages dramatically emphasising a single point.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Keen Reader

    3.5 Stars! Penguin published many handy and interesting little books like this around the 1970s which are really insightful and informative, by the likes of John Berger and Susan Sontag, and many others, covering many fields of art and culture in new (for the time at least) and refreshing ways. Munari makes for good company as he chats away about his various ideas on beauty, design and taste and although some of what he says may fall under the obvious to many, he still makes for worthwhile and eng 3.5 Stars! Penguin published many handy and interesting little books like this around the 1970s which are really insightful and informative, by the likes of John Berger and Susan Sontag, and many others, covering many fields of art and culture in new (for the time at least) and refreshing ways. Munari makes for good company as he chats away about his various ideas on beauty, design and taste and although some of what he says may fall under the obvious to many, he still makes for worthwhile and engaging reading and overall I enjoyed this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gabe

    I enjoyed all of these essays, and there were a few that particularly stood out. I wish good reads had half star allocations because this would be 3.5. I liked it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brynn

    Maxim Gorky: "An artist is a man who digests his own subjective impressions and knows how to find a general objective meaning in them, and how to express them in a convincing form." "[Design] is planning: the planning as objectively as possible of everything that goes to make up the surroundings and atmosphere in which men live today." (35) "A poem only communicates if read slowly: only then does it have time to create a state of mind in which the images can form and be transformed." (68) "Any kno Maxim Gorky: "An artist is a man who digests his own subjective impressions and knows how to find a general objective meaning in them, and how to express them in a convincing form." "[Design] is planning: the planning as objectively as possible of everything that goes to make up the surroundings and atmosphere in which men live today." (35) "A poem only communicates if read slowly: only then does it have time to create a state of mind in which the images can form and be transformed." (68) "Any knowledge of the world we live in is useful, and enables us to understand things that previously we did not know existed." (82) Tao Te-ching: "Concern yourself with things before they come into existence." (160) "Naturally, this puts an end to the already tarnished image of the work of art as a rare and even unique thing, independent of what it expresses." (167) Paul Valery: "The greatest freedom comes from the greatest strictness." (172) Goethe: "To understand means to be capable of doing." (185) "According to an ancient Chinese saying, infinity is a square without corners." (195) "If the idea is there, the brush can spare itself the work. (Ancient rule of Chinese painting." (200)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Will Schumer

    I haven’t done a proper book review in the past few months, but since Scupp seems to be keeping up, I suppose I’m OBLIGATED to. Anywho, I had originally read Design as Art a while back because it was recommended to me by someone at the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin, and about a year or two later by a Danish guy at a clothing store in NYC when we were talking Naoto Fukasawa. I had no idea what to expect upon going in. What I found was one of the most brilliant explanations of the merit of industrial, g I haven’t done a proper book review in the past few months, but since Scupp seems to be keeping up, I suppose I’m OBLIGATED to. Anywho, I had originally read Design as Art a while back because it was recommended to me by someone at the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin, and about a year or two later by a Danish guy at a clothing store in NYC when we were talking Naoto Fukasawa. I had no idea what to expect upon going in. What I found was one of the most brilliant explanations of the merit of industrial, graphic, and architectural design I have cole across yet. Munari’s very mid-century Italian humour pairs well with his immense knowledge of the tradition of commercial design as an art form. In many ways, Design as Art helped me learn to engage with everyday objects as not just objects of utility, but expressions of culture and aesthetic value. Either way, Munari basically said everything Dieter Rams wanted to say about design in a much more round-about way, so kudos to him for that.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Park Frost

    Like listening to a wise elder ramble on an on about varying topics only to find that at the end of all of it, the specifics of the monologue have all melted together. An easy mindless but enjoyable & wise read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

    A beautiful little book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Quiver

    The designer of course does not operate in nature, but within the orbit of industrial production, and therefore his projects will aim at a different kind of spontaneity, an industrial spontaneity based on simplicity and economy in construction. There are limits of how far simplicity of structure can be taken, and it is exciting to push things to these limits. I approached Munari's book with high expectations (since it's so highly rated), but ultimately found little of interest to latch on to. Fun The designer of course does not operate in nature, but within the orbit of industrial production, and therefore his projects will aim at a different kind of spontaneity, an industrial spontaneity based on simplicity and economy in construction. There are limits of how far simplicity of structure can be taken, and it is exciting to push things to these limits. I approached Munari's book with high expectations (since it's so highly rated), but ultimately found little of interest to latch on to. Fun and curious parts: - The descriptions and pictures of his Useless Machines in the Preface; - the defamiliarisations of certain objects through unusual descrptions: Peas: 'These are foods products of varying diameters packed in bivalve cases of great elegance of form, color and material.' Roses: 'These are objects that have come into being for no good reason, useful only on the most banal level: that of decoration.'Cars are pieces of travelling furniture.); - the proliferation of quotations: 'Concern yourself with things before they come into existence.’ (Tao Te-ching); ‘The greatest freedom comes from the greatest strictness.’ (Paul Valery); ‘To understand means to be capable of doing.’ (Goethe) Wouldn't recommend to seasoned readers. Perhaps young design students would be a better audience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Divya

    I liked it, I didn't love it, as much as I expected it to, so let me bullet point what I think you can expect from this book. 1. It's in essay format, a collection of essays, on design-related topics, ordered according to topics like visual design, industrial design, graphic design, etc etc. From what I understand, this book was written in the 70s, so many design principles hold relevance even today, some do not, so in that sense, some of it is slightly dated. 2. Each topic area covers a bunch o I liked it, I didn't love it, as much as I expected it to, so let me bullet point what I think you can expect from this book. 1. It's in essay format, a collection of essays, on design-related topics, ordered according to topics like visual design, industrial design, graphic design, etc etc. From what I understand, this book was written in the 70s, so many design principles hold relevance even today, some do not, so in that sense, some of it is slightly dated. 2. Each topic area covers a bunch of sub-topics. Some stuff I skipped or skimmed, some stuff I was genuinely interested in, I read all the way through. 3. The takeaways are truly your own as a creative person, so its kind of a make-what-you-will of these essays, here is what Bruno Munari has to say about design stuff. Some takeaways that really ring true for you, depending on your field of creativity, you'll highlight or bookmark and reference for later. 4. Written in a simple conversational style. 5. What I appreciated about the essays, is that there are global references, about art and design in other countries, which is nice to have context about, as a creative person. All and all, a good quick read, not too boring, some stuff I definitely highlighted/bookmarked and will go back to later.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    Though he gets a little high on his horse at times, Munari's thoughts on art as a trade are very cool, and offer an interesting exploration on the relationship between skill and practical function. As a worker in a creative field, it's a refreshing perspective to think of skill as a service rather than, like, Art, which is worth thinking about, too, in the hierarchy of high and low art, or whatever. Though he gets a little high on his horse at times, Munari's thoughts on art as a trade are very cool, and offer an interesting exploration on the relationship between skill and practical function. As a worker in a creative field, it's a refreshing perspective to think of skill as a service rather than, like, Art, which is worth thinking about, too, in the hierarchy of high and low art, or whatever.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hrafnkell Úlfur

    Umfjöllun Munari um rósir og hönnun þeirra: "We therefore have an object that is absolutely useless to man, an object good for nothing better than being looked at, or at the most sniffed (though it seems that some producers have now invaded the market with roses that do not even have the virtue of scent). This is an object without justification, and one moreover that may lead the worker to think futile thoughts. It is, in the last analysis, even immoral." Umfjöllun Munari um rósir og hönnun þeirra: "We therefore have an object that is absolutely useless to man, an object good for nothing better than being looked at, or at the most sniffed (though it seems that some producers have now invaded the market with roses that do not even have the virtue of scent). This is an object without justification, and one moreover that may lead the worker to think futile thoughts. It is, in the last analysis, even immoral."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eda

    Definitely worth reading! To me, this was a good read full of foods for thought. Towards the end it got a little dull, exaggerating examples to emphasize the point - which I thought was a little redundant. A disappointment for me was the fact that colored images are printed black&white. I am not exactly sure what’s lost there but would love to see the whole thing in the future. Anyway, recommended to folks in design or enthusiasts.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Really, really enjoyable book of essays on art and design. Some chapters were less interestinh than others, as it usually happens, but I found it a book full of curiosity, appreciation and enlightenment.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Evan O'Coimín

    lifechanging! very very fascinating, a lot easier to read than i expected, complete with fantastic illustrations :)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    More for enjoyment than any practical takeaways, the enjoyable parts were inspiring though I found myself skimming a couple of sections. Would like to dip in to again!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Seb Swann

    “The designer of today re-establishes the long lost contact between art and the public, between living people and art as a living thing. Instead of pictures for the drawing-room, electric gadgets for the kitchen. There should be no such thing as art divorced from life, with beautiful things to look at and hideous things to use. If what we use every day is made with art, and not thrown together by chance or caprice, then we shall have nothing to hide.” If you look books examining the intersection “The designer of today re-establishes the long lost contact between art and the public, between living people and art as a living thing. Instead of pictures for the drawing-room, electric gadgets for the kitchen. There should be no such thing as art divorced from life, with beautiful things to look at and hideous things to use. If what we use every day is made with art, and not thrown together by chance or caprice, then we shall have nothing to hide.” If you look books examining the intersection between art and design; Munari gives his perspective on design, examining a variety of subjects.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katya

    Design As Art is a series of short essays filled with social commentary and criticism related to art and design. I think Munari does a great job challenging the reader to think about ways to improve design (making it more accessible), however at times I got lost by his subjective ramblings. It's important to remember that this is sort of a catalog of Munari's thoughts. If you're looking for a book to learn about design, there may be better reads. The quality of insight varies from chapter to cha Design As Art is a series of short essays filled with social commentary and criticism related to art and design. I think Munari does a great job challenging the reader to think about ways to improve design (making it more accessible), however at times I got lost by his subjective ramblings. It's important to remember that this is sort of a catalog of Munari's thoughts. If you're looking for a book to learn about design, there may be better reads. The quality of insight varies from chapter to chapter. Personally, I learned the most from his writings about the traditional Japanese houses and I like the way he contrasts the Japanese way of life (where virtually every part of their house is well designed and serves a purpose) to the life of Italians (who indulge in superfluous luxury).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jefferson

    This book is a collection of short informal essays, many of which are not worthy of publication and seem to stand solely in the shadow of Munari's reputation as a designer. They read as notes to self and are not nearly as informative as I expected them to be, not to mention that they are not very cohesive as a whole (especially towards the end of the book), which makes it hard to gain any reading momentum. I concede that there are bits and pieces of insightful information here and there, such as This book is a collection of short informal essays, many of which are not worthy of publication and seem to stand solely in the shadow of Munari's reputation as a designer. They read as notes to self and are not nearly as informative as I expected them to be, not to mention that they are not very cohesive as a whole (especially towards the end of the book), which makes it hard to gain any reading momentum. I concede that there are bits and pieces of insightful information here and there, such as the main idea that the form of a piece of design should organically follow from its function. However, if you want more than a "toilet read," to quote another review I remember reading when first coming across this book, you'd be better off with a different title.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim Nielsen

    This book started out really great! Munari's vision for what design can be is very well articulated and worth internalizing. However as the book went on, it got a little less interesting. The book is basically a compendium of essays on design. Some of the essays were absolutely wonderful. Others were a little more tedious. But the good ones were great and definitely worth reading. This book started out really great! Munari's vision for what design can be is very well articulated and worth internalizing. However as the book went on, it got a little less interesting. The book is basically a compendium of essays on design. Some of the essays were absolutely wonderful. Others were a little more tedious. But the good ones were great and definitely worth reading.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Bruno Munari is a genius and everything created by him should be enjoyed (or studied, as you prefer...)! I find it rather interesting that in the 21st century I would much rather have a dead Italian genius 'talk' to me about design than any other contemporary desing-thinking-expert-guy. Bruno Munari is a genius and everything created by him should be enjoyed (or studied, as you prefer...)! I find it rather interesting that in the 21st century I would much rather have a dead Italian genius 'talk' to me about design than any other contemporary desing-thinking-expert-guy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bryce Buttrey

    Really good and applicable ideas. The growth and explosions chapter and the chapter reviewing the design of fruits were lovely. He gets carried away on poor tangents sometimes but it doesn’t detract too much. I also don’t know what I feel about the rejection of style in favor of “pure” design. I agree that stylizing products in the way of trends is bad practice, but it also in some ways implies some type of finality to design, and when one design functions equally to another, the second becomes p Really good and applicable ideas. The growth and explosions chapter and the chapter reviewing the design of fruits were lovely. He gets carried away on poor tangents sometimes but it doesn’t detract too much. I also don’t know what I feel about the rejection of style in favor of “pure” design. I agree that stylizing products in the way of trends is bad practice, but it also in some ways implies some type of finality to design, and when one design functions equally to another, the second becomes pointless in this ideology, regardless of style. This type of thinking maybe makes sense under circumstances where design drives life, but under long term capitalism I think it hurts culture more than anything. Helvetica is seen by many as a finality of typography, simplifying all excess down to a sans serif that effectively carries no meaning other than the fact that what it represents is simple, inoffensive, and understandable. Paula sher is right when she called it the font of the Vietnam war, the font of the Afganistán war, and the font to front for atrocity, but despite that, helvetica remains an extremely pure design, achieving probably the most effective and legible letters in modern history. Ultimately I don’t know what this means. Atrocities could have been committed under comic sans centric branding just as easily, but the complete cultural domination of a “perfect” but meaningless typeface does feel extremely empty culturally. Sorry if you read all that Kira I’m just keeping my thoughts on this in here for now

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karthikraj Raviraj

    At first, author is so creative. And there are huge list of topics covered here. There are 4 category of design explain here namely Visual design, graphic design, Industrial design and Research design. I would have given 5 stars, if the last part of research design is not present in this book. Honestly I didn't understood a single chapter from research design, inspite I tried reading twice.. May be it is not the topic which I was expecting or the explanation for not in simple form. It is tough fo At first, author is so creative. And there are huge list of topics covered here. There are 4 category of design explain here namely Visual design, graphic design, Industrial design and Research design. I would have given 5 stars, if the last part of research design is not present in this book. Honestly I didn't understood a single chapter from research design, inspite I tried reading twice.. May be it is not the topic which I was expecting or the explanation for not in simple form. It is tough for me to visualise what author is intended to tell readers. There is not many pictures also.Upon completion of this book, my mind was counting on pages rather on what author is intended to convey. And I feel that is the demerit of this book. But leaving this one section aside, all the other sections, Bruno Munari has nailed it. Character building chapters, chairs chapter, Japanese traditional house chapter are my favourites. This book would have been a great book, if presented more colourful with lot many pictures. Also towards end of each chapter, I need to think and interpret on message myself. It would be better if author could have sum it up at end of chapter or end of section. Not so impressed. But still you could get lot many ideas from the concept explained here. For all graphic designers out there, try to read at least visual design and graphic design sections. It's interesting !

  29. 5 out of 5

    Su Ülkenli

    Pleasant read that feels like a conversation with the author more than anything else. Design is one of those things I never really take the time to think about, and sitting down to read this book was like sitting down to have a chat with someone who knows and has thought a lot about it. Munari is also very funny, and it's interesting to basically watch him move through the technological and scientific advances of the 20th century and try to make sense of them (or utilize them) from a design pers Pleasant read that feels like a conversation with the author more than anything else. Design is one of those things I never really take the time to think about, and sitting down to read this book was like sitting down to have a chat with someone who knows and has thought a lot about it. Munari is also very funny, and it's interesting to basically watch him move through the technological and scientific advances of the 20th century and try to make sense of them (or utilize them) from a design perspective. It's definitely useful to think of this book as Munari's "thinking out loud" work, or maybe his manifesto about what design ought to be. It's not an objective book at all (it even gets rant-y at times), and Munari has very specific views about what makes design great, and what makes art, well, art. On the topic of good design, he writes masterfully. On the topic of art (on which I am slightly more educated) he appears, at least to me, to be slightly confused. He writes quite disdainfully about certain forms of contemporary art, but then argues that what makes art great in the modern age is its capacity to be "open," to interact with its viewer and solicit emotional and intellectual discussion. To me, the very things he criticizes about contemporary art are what make it "open." Maybe I didn't fully understand his point, or maybe he is confused - of all things one can be confused about, how to feel about contemporary art seems quite a normal one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zinmong

    As a graphic design student, I found the mini thought pieces at times useful, often common knowledge, but mostly redundant. Some of his observations, were just literal descriptions of how certain of his installations were positioned or a summing-up of all the different objects (to only conclude with his opinion that minimalism reigns over excess). In no sense were they thought provoking or philosophical or cohesive. It just read like a random compiling of small anecdotes that his friends would en As a graphic design student, I found the mini thought pieces at times useful, often common knowledge, but mostly redundant. Some of his observations, were just literal descriptions of how certain of his installations were positioned or a summing-up of all the different objects (to only conclude with his opinion that minimalism reigns over excess). In no sense were they thought provoking or philosophical or cohesive. It just read like a random compiling of small anecdotes that his friends would enjoy reading. If you are looking for theory or serious discourse on art and design I would recommend to read other must-reads, such as John Berger, Marshall McLuhan, Susan Sontag. P.S. the piece 'Knives, Forks and Spoons' was the most useless, time-consuming piece of text that I have ever read to understand an argument that could have easily been conveyed in 1 paragraph. Maybe the writer was trying to show how excessive our production as designers was, but to me it was annoying and disrespectful to the reader to assume that we would want to read through a 5 page summing-up of cutlery for us to get the memo. I am still annoyed and want to reclaim my time.

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