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A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design [Paperback]

Beryl McAlhone , David Stuart
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
RRP: 24.95
Price: 16.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 1998
This book explores so-called 'witty thinking' - arguably the most entertaining area of graphic design. Witty thinking is playfulness with ideas, words playing against images, and unexpected connections prompting new insights. It is clever thinking, not funny drawing. A Smile in the Mind analyses the intricate thought processes behind the apparently forward images. It shows how to make the case for witty solutions and, through a series of in-depth interviews with the world's top designers, suggests how to get inspiration. Gathering together the best examples of graphic wit over the past three decades, this book includes work from over 300 designers in the USA, Britain, Europe and Japan. Written with insight and a subtle lightness of touch, it offers designers a friendly read, a helpful sourcebook and a dynamic trigger for ideas.

Frequently Bought Together

A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design + The Art of Looking Sideways + The A - Z of Visual Ideas: How to Solve any Creative Brief
Price For All Three: 50.76

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd; New Ed edition (1 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714838128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714838120
  • Product Dimensions: 29 x 25.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Beautifully edited, lovingly and carefully compiled ... both intellectually and aesthetically stimulating. Oh, and it's funny too.' (Graphics International) 'This book keeps the fun coming. There are so many wonderful (and superbly reproduced) examples of sharp, deftly done pieces that the reader becomes greedy, devouring hit after hit.' (Print)

From the Author

Best examples of graphic wit over the past 30 years.
A Smile in the Mind: Witty thinking in graphic design by Beryl McAlhone, a writer with a special interest in design, and David Stuart, a founder member of The Partners. A Smile in the Mind focuses on the graphics which give the most pleasure - the ideas that prompt a smile. These are the jobs that people remember, the projects that make designers famous. The book selects the cream of witty work from designers across the world. It comprises the most comprehensive collection of graphic wit ever published. Humour is fragile under analysis, and this is not a heavy read that wipes the smile off your face. It has a light touch, even when explaining in business terms why wit works. The authors break new ground in analyzing the kinds of thinking behind the images, in showing the 21 different ways of being witty and making the case for witty solutions. The book includes hundreds of examples for all kinds of graphics, covering the main business sectors including work from over 300 designers in the USA, Britain, Europe and Japan. Its most intriguing feature is the collection of interviews with the world's top designers which reveal the secret of secrets, how to get ideas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, generously illustrated 5 Aug 2000
By antom
Packed with witty graphic designs from the past three decades. Spares the reader from lengthy analyses; the illustrations speak for themselves. Good source book and a trigger for ideas.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a smile in my mind 3 Oct 2003
This book helped me out a great deal when completeing my Graphic Design degree. It displays a variety of different types of wit, and so many things that are so simple and obviously so effective. It opened my mind to a new world of ideas in design and is a great source of inspiration. It is great to have a flick through when you feel as though you have hit a brick wall! Definitely a must for any design student.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars creatively deep... 4 Nov 1998
By A Customer
In an era when "graphic design" is reduced to savvy computer skills, it's nice to see a celebration of our most powerful creative tool - the MIND. A must for any designer who wants to think outside the box and inspire others to do the same.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books on Graphic Design 21 Oct 2007
There are hundreds of books at the moment claiming to be the experts on Graphic Design.
Too many either take themselves much too seriously or fall back on the picture book format where
thousands of images lack structure and editing resulting in visual wallpaper.
The classic `Smile in The Mind` however, does neither and has the perfect balance of information and inspiration.
Its no wonder then, it is on the `essential reading' list of any graphic design course worth its salt.
(It could however, be revised to include a few more recent examples)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. 3 Sep 2009
This book is an absolute belter. It just had to be written someday and congratulations to Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart for having the balls to take on this daunting task.

Put simply, it's a book about 'ideas'. As such, it should be compulsory reading for any creative (or anyone else, come to think of it) who's considering entering design or advertising. It really is that important.

I could have done with it forty-odd years ago when I was about to go off to art school and my mum asked "what's graphic design?" It would have answered her question without any need for garbled explanation. Also, I could have used it to wallop the heads of my various dimwitted, Philistine, design tutors who were too stupid and set in their ways to appreciate the emerging relevance, and joy, of 'ideas'.

However, there was one tutor who I wouldn't have needed to wallop: the great Bob Gill. At the time, both he and Robert Brownjohn were (almost) alone in blazing the ideas trail. This book is testimony to the fact that they were on the right track, opening doors for others to follow. Opening this book is like opening those doors. It's a breath of fresh air.

I do have one minor criticism though. While the book features relevant work by people who undeniably deserve recognition, it unnecessarily includes a few design stylist 'luvvies' whose trendy offerings clearly don't fit the categories of 'witty' or 'ideas'.

Apart from that it's a darned good read. And it will make you smile.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific! Fun to read, easy to savor 2 Jan 1998
By A Customer
This book goes beyond just a collection of pretty graphics. It brings you into the process of creativity. That is unusual and commenable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A designer's bible 15 April 2011
I cannot think of a single area of the design industry that would not benefit from this book.

From cover to cover, it presents ideas, methods and inspiration, along with clearly worded (and witty) descriptions/narration.

Honestly, the content far surpasses the price. Don't bother lending the book from a library - This is one of those books you'll always end up going back to later, so I suggest having it on hand.

If you're a professional, a student, or freelancer, this will evolve your craft. Even those who aren't in the industry can be enlightened by this.

Hats off to Beryl and David, they've made a staple read for any designer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 12 Jan 2010
This book was bought as a gift for my great-niece who is now in her final year studying graphic design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Scotland.
She was delighted with her gift. Apparently it is a book highly recommended by all her tutors. Unfortunately, there is only one copy in the college library and the demand on that is high, hence her delight in having a copy of her own.
I think the fact that this book is so highly recommended by experienced graphic tutors and lecturers speaks for itself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!!
This was bought as a gift for someone. However I actually bought this book many years ago for myself. It's a fantastic book and would definitely recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by Miss LD Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest book on graphic design
This is without doubt the best book on the subject. The love that put it together shows and - more importantly - it shows exactly the difference between aesthetics and an idea. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Snahbah
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little book.
If you're a designer it simply does what it says on the cover.
Thank you very, very much Beryl Mc Alhone
Published 3 months ago by alfie
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't pay attention to its own message
I couldn't agree with the subject matter of this book more. Wit and humour are without a doubt some of the most important things you can possibly put into your work as a designer. Read more
Published 3 months ago by GOTTON
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Arrived promptly.
A brilliant book, I would recommend it to anyone interested in Graphic design, and even those who aren't!

Arrived quickly.
Published 14 months ago by Jasmine Hutter
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good at breaking down wit!
Really good read if you are into witty imagery and ways of thinking. I am using this to help with my dissertation... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mark Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have Sideways, you need this also
I mean, if the Art of looking Sideways is already on your bookshelf, and this isn't? then it be your next purchase. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kyle
1.0 out of 5 stars Anachronistic
This is probably one of the worse books on graphic design ever written.
It is built on a simplistic and very limited understanding of what constitutes an 'idea'. Read more
Published on 9 April 2011 by HungryGhost
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one book on graphic design...
No gimmicks, no bevels, no horrible 'Web 2.0' effects. Just brilliant, simple ideas, delivered with brilliance and simplicity. Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2010 by Spark UK
5.0 out of 5 stars Smiles all round
ASITM was the book that really introduced me to the possibilities for wit and brilliance in graphic design. Read more
Published on 13 Oct 2009 by S. Price
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