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The size and scope of this book is immense. As a visual design resource, it is an inspiring collection that can be opened at any page for new ideas or direction. Divided over 72 chapters with such diverse titles as "Synchronicity", "Perception" and "Space-Time", the thematic divisions give a helpful structure to this mass of visual and textual information.
To say that this is a large and diverse collection of illustrations or a sketchpad is inadequate and does not do this book justice. This book explores relationships between the word and image - how colour, space, type, and image work together to signify meaning - and present these relationships to the reader in interesting and challenging ways. What at first glance may seem an obvious message, takes on new meaning in a specific context. Fletcher expertly manipulates such contexts to challenge the reader's perception and accepted interpretations of everyday imagery. The reader is cleverly coerced into "looking sideways" at imagery and text. The result is an often suprising, sometimes humourous, yet always enlightening realisation that what we take for granted around us in everyday life has alternative meanings. If only we could learn how to shift our gaze and look differently at the world around us, we may learn something new.
This is a large book with over 500 large format pages. It is described by its author Alan Fletcher as the work of a visual Jackdaw to produce an exploration of the workings of the eye, the hand, the brain and the imagination.
As he describes it 'The book attempts to open windows to glimpse views rather than dissect the pictures on the wall. To look at things from unlikely angles.... The book has no thesis, is neither a whodunit or a how-to-do-it, has no beginning middle or end. It's a journey without a destination.... It is unlike most books, those that are concerned with the mechanics rather than the thoughts, with the match rather than the fire.'
The result is not a book to sit down and read sequentially from cover to cover, rather an environment of ideas and stimuli through which to journey, an exploration in which to become immersed.
Reading the other reviews, many seem to come from graphic designers, indeed the author is a renown graphic designer himself. The result is a book that is a delight to hold. The different paper types and textures, intriguing layouts and inviting formats mean that every page turned leads to new discoveries even before their content is examined. Its merits as an exemplar of the art of design are clear, but this is much more than a role model for designers.
It is a book that in infinite ways serves as a catalyst for thinking. It has a multifaceted ability to present aspects of the world in new ways, that defy you ever again seeing them the way you always have in the past.
Through the imaginative use of images and text, quotations, snippets of information, and a host of other approaches, this is a feast for the mind as well as the eye.
It's not simply a book that I can't stop dipping into, I can't stop smiling at the fact that Alan Fletcher took the time, care and attention to detail to share it with me. It is quite simply a pleasure to hold and a feast to read.
Worth having just for fun quotes like "3 o'clock is too early and too late for anything you want to do" jean-paul sarte or "a person without imagination is like a tea-bag without hot water"
So go on on, add some hot water to your life...