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Design: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 23 Jun 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (23 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854469
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1 x 10.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 254,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

'Erudite and well-researched...should be essential reading for students, educationalists, practising designers, industrialists and government.' (Terence Conran)

About the Author

John Heskett was Professor at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (1989-2004), followed by Professor at the School of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2004-11), and the School's Acting Dean (2011-12).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
One of the most curious features of the modern world is the manner is which design has been widely transformed into something banal and inconsequential. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pedro Silva on 30 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As usual on books of this series, the author goes straight to the point, without superfluous words.

Written in a very ellegant way, this book gives the reader the essentials of design in a nutshell, without effort, just like reeding a novel. Excellent historic background, accurate notions, very helpful examples and pictures.

If you want a good grasp on this subject with 3 hours of reading, don't miss it.
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By French navy on 26 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was a present and the recipient was very happy
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yehezkel Dror on 5 Mar 2012
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This book is a good introduction to some parts of design theory and practice, using limited space well. But it neglects and also ignores important subjects, such as cultural traditions of design such as in Finland and Japan; legal protection of designs, as intellectual property or patents; some main domains of design, such as fashion; and the role of opinion leaders and fashions in creating demand for particular designs.
More serious are the partly wrong treatments of broader issues, especially in the final chapters. Thus, they wrongly discuss industrial policies as a modern form of mercantilism, expect that design decisions beyond one's personal habitat can be made with the participation of multitudes, and charge design with making contributions to major global issues far beyond its potentials.
One final small but irritating point, which is the responsibility of the publisher: There are many spelling errors in German worlds.

Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. G. Kesby on 8 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
I have this book because it is part of the "picture box" very short introductions box set.
I have an interest in design but this book has not enriched my designs on design! It often states the obvious where I was hoping for great insight and is remarkably wishy-washy (even in comparison with other books about design or abstract words in general).
The only positives I took from it were two interesting facts: one about unintended effects of Coca-cola's globalisation and one about the difference between American and Japanese bathrooms!
If you have an interest in design, try to find a "history of design" book as opposed to this supposed thesis on where and what design is: I fear the reason the book didn't go anywhere was because the abstract for it was too broad!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
PARTLY GOOD, PARTLY WRONG 5 Mar 2012
By Yehezkel Dror - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a good introduction to some parts of design theory and practice, using limited space well. But it neglects and also ignores important subjects, such as cultural traditions of design such as in Finland and Japan; legal protection of designs, as intellectual property or patents; some main domains of design, such as fashion; and the role of opinion leaders and fashions in creating demand for particular designs.
More serious are the partly wrong treatments of broader issues, especially in the final chapters. Thus, they wrongly discuss industrial policies as a modern form of mercantilism, expect that design decisions beyond one's personal habitat can be made with the participation of multitudes, and charge design with making contributions to major global issues far beyond its potentials.
One final small but irritating point, which is the responsibility of the publisher: There are many spelling errors in German words.
Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing 7 Aug 2009
By D. Liu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read a few books from the Very Short Introduction (VSI) series such as Law, Economics and Logic, and found them to be clear, systematic, packed with information, and fitting of their titles.
That and curiosity led me to read this book on design. Instead of being interesting and enlightening, I found this book to be boring, poorly written, and confusing.

I'm not very a good writer and that really ought to stop me from making any criticism. But then I thought it is important that others gets a preview of this book before they buy it. The problem with the writing is that it uses many long and big words that carry little meaning, words that are abstract and can mean a number of things, and when crammed together along with five six other abstract words, can mean nothing and everything, e.g. "`Communications' is here used as a shorthand term to cover the vast array of two-dimensional material that plays such an extensive role in modern life."
Then there are those strange metaphors, that I suppose make sense but are really forced, e.g. "design should be the crucial anvil on which the human environment, in all its detail, is shaped and constructed for the betterment and delight of all." of all things, why an anvil, why a monolithic piece of metal that is the antithesis of design. And this is irony.
As you slowly go through the paragraphs, you glean an occasional insight, a fitting example, a powerful well phrased argument, and you wonder if you cut out all the crap in between, all the redundancies and tautologies, all the fluff, whether this wouldn't be a decent book.

At the end of the book however, you realize the answer is no. Of the important, useful information, such as the fundamentals of good design, a list of factors most important to good design, a monographs on some interesting topics such as object design, ergonomics, typography, the use of materials in design, design as related to the visual, auditory and haptic, and so much so much more, are all absent or lacking in this book.

A good question to ask yourself at the end of reading a book is what have I learned. For this one, I doubt anything.
Agree with D. Liu's August 7 review 21 Jan 2012
By a reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Yeah, disappointing. Some interesting thoughts here and there but nothing well developed. An illustrations and photographs -- seeming pretty important in a book on design -- are haphazard and poorly done. Too bad, I was erally looking forward to this.
0 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A college textbook 9 April 2010
By J Spiegel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What's not to love about a college text which is VERY short?! Actually this was one of my daughter's college textbooks, not mine. Since her prof required it, I assume it is a good book on design.
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