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The Modernist [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Robert Klanten , Hendrik Hellige
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 April 2011
After going through an eclectic, baroque, and iconic phase, today s design is again taking its visual cues from functionalism and pragmatism. Young graphic designers and illustrators are working in a way that is influenced by the principles of classic modernism. They avoid excess or exaggeration to create enduring work of the highest quality. The Modernist is a collection of work in graphic design and illustration that is created with minimal intrusions. The deliberately limited palette of colors, tools, and geometric forms that it uses makes the work seem both contemporary and timeless. The book makes clear that today s work does not simply copy the classic design of the 1960s and 1970s. Rather, it seamlessly includes the best aspects of the 1990s such as vector graphics and construction. Although computers do not dominate this design, they are clearly used as tools to play with elements that did not yet exist in the past and to merge the components and styles at hand in the best possible way. The Modernist documents the current trend of a reduced, matter-of-fact, and practical design approach. It presents examples of unobtrusive but effective design solutions that appear to have been created in a past era. Instead, the book shows that it is only our idealistic conception of modernism that gives earlier work attributes that it never actually had.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Die Gestalten Verlag (15 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3899553446
  • ISBN-13: 978-3899553444
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 23.7 x 27.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Graphics porn 21 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was bought as a gift and the recipient was delighted. I felt it was a bit lightweight and lacking in context. It is a bit like one person's Pinterest page of narrowly defined graphics. All very cool but ultimately shallow and a bit boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great graphic design resource 7 Nov 2012
This book is a collection of works from modern designers that blends styles and aesthetic from past decades. An excellent resource for graphic design ideas.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No written content? Really? 24 Aug 2011
By iajan - Published on
As a previous reviewer wrote, this book is a nice object. It is beautifully printed, well-designed, and the selected images are uniformly of high quality. But not a word of written comment? Seriously? The short paragraph on the back cover (essentially the same as the product description on the Amazon page) is the ONLY written commentary of the entire book! So what readers are getting is a group of pretty pictures by contemporary and not-widely known designers. The images are united by a clean and dominantly retro aesthetic and you can like the work, dislike it, use it as visual inspiration. . . but context please??? Make that up for yourself, I guess.

The product description above notes "Instead, the book shows that it is only our idealistic conception of modernism that gives earlier work attributes that it never actually had." Please describe this "idealistic conception" and the "attributes" that the earlier work never had? I think it is a huge leap over a gaping chasm to make that claim. While I do personally like the work showcased in this book, I am left hanging to draw my own assumptions about it. Nothing about this book furthers, challenges, disputes whatever ideas I have of modernism. It is a wasted opportunity. There are plenty of people willing to bash modernism and, sadly, here are two editors who apparently find value in it but their support for it, by lack of written content, is more lip service than rallying cry.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye Candy 29 July 2011
By finnllow - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is such a cool book! From the cover paper stock to the paper stock of the interior pages, it's fine attention to detail like this that's not so common in books these days. Each page comes alive and commands your full attention. While the colors are bright, they also have that retro, dull look which plays up the theme. If you're a fan of design where old is new again, you need to pick this up. Learning of so many new artists and designers alone makes the book worth it. Only 4 stars because I would've liked to see more new ideas rather than so many that literally lifted from the originals. The artist featured on the cover is the only one that really blew me away with originality. Still, I know it's definitely a book I'll flip to over and over again for inspiration!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the context? 11 Oct 2011
By D. Taylor - Published on
Why this book is titled "The Modernist" is a mystery to this reader. This blurb will contain more words than the book itself, which is comprised entirely of graphically compelling mock book covers - hundreds of them redone in the historic style of the 50s and 60s. (Think of the bold, red iconic carousel horse on the cover of the 1st edition of Catcher in the Rye). I presume the book is not a work of humor, but I smiled and nearly laughed at the incongruities of its mission. This book is a cross between a historic 1950s Mad magazine parody of contemporary culture and a graphic design course in which students are assign the task of remaking modern fiction titles into the bold, blunt flat iconic styles so characteristic of 50s and 60s paperbacks. These students get A's: the covers are well done and historically convincing. The humor comes from imagining Lemony Snicket's and Harry Potter appearing decades before their true release dates with delightful, chuckle-triggering choices of icons to represent the motive force of that particular work of fiction.

I can't give it more than 3 stars because of the utter lack of context and supporting text. It's "gee-whiz look at me."
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Retro = übercool 14 Jun 2011
By dwaynewangleford - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The cover sold me immediately! I just love every page of this gorgeous book. Lots of reminders of old-school design, but done in a really cool modern way. This is some of the stuff you'd expect to see in Mad Men too, and it shows that really good and beautiful ideas are always going to be fashionable. Anyone who loves good design with a healthy dose of retro should pick this one up.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book 18 May 2012
By Karthik Nagarajan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this as a gift for a Graphic Designer, the giftee loved it! I'm not that familiar with the design in the book itself, so this review is just based on feedback I got from the giftee.
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