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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Language of Things
After attending a lecture by Deyan Sudjic, I was interested in reading his book - The Language of Things.
Although Design is becoming an increasingly complex discipline to define, Deyan Sudjic not only introduces it in the context of the modern world and how it has evolved, but also discusses the emotive and practical overlap between design and its reluctant...
Published on 5 Nov 2011 by Scott Jarvie

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A light-hearted, popular complement to existing semiotic and design history literature
In five chapters -- language, design and its archetypes, luxury, fashion, art -- Deyan Sudjic provides a interesting view on design, beyond mere function, usability, aesthetics and commerce, in which objects are seen as carriers of meaning.

More an essay than an academic work, the first two chapters will be a feast of recognition for many designers. These...
Published on 5 Aug 2012 by Design Drone


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Language of Things, 5 Nov 2011
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This review is from: The Language of Things: Design, Luxury, Fashion, Art: how we are seduced by the objects around us (Paperback)
After attending a lecture by Deyan Sudjic, I was interested in reading his book - The Language of Things.
Although Design is becoming an increasingly complex discipline to define, Deyan Sudjic not only introduces it in the context of the modern world and how it has evolved, but also discusses the emotive and practical overlap between design and its reluctant neighbours, fashion, art and luxury culture.
This book provides a broad contextual and historical overview with text peppered with fascinating and well observed specific examples.
This is an enjoyable, informative and thought provoking read - a must for anyone with an interest in Design and how it relates to Culture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Language of Things is worthy of your time, 9 Nov 2009
By 
John Credland (Buckingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Language of Things: Design, Luxury, Fashion, Art: how we are seduced by the objects around us (Paperback)
Deyan Sudjic can write! It's about design and yet it is written in an such an easy-to-read and inviting way that makes it unputdownable. Very well worth your time to read it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A light-hearted, popular complement to existing semiotic and design history literature, 5 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Language of Things: Design, Luxury, Fashion, Art: how we are seduced by the objects around us (Paperback)
In five chapters -- language, design and its archetypes, luxury, fashion, art -- Deyan Sudjic provides a interesting view on design, beyond mere function, usability, aesthetics and commerce, in which objects are seen as carriers of meaning.

More an essay than an academic work, the first two chapters will be a feast of recognition for many designers. These chapters nicely describe meaning creation in a manner tacitly known by the design community but which is hard to find summarized in written format. The remaining three chapters dive into newer and more difficult territories: luxury in an age of perfected mass production, fashion as a driver of built-in obsolescence and continuous cultural change, and value creation in high design. In these chapters, Sudjic offers many intriguing arguments, accompanied by interesting examples.

Unfortunately, the author's writing is not entirely convincing, making a 'stream of consciousness' impression. Sudjic's argumentation sometimes wavers and its red thread is not always obvious. Subjects are often left behind with the same abruptness that they are dropped onto the reader. The author's decision to dispense with subchapters, sections or any other way to structure his reasoning certainly does not help and makes it difficult to retrace the steps in his argumentation. Though an essay on meaning creation can naturally be expected to take a post-modern approach, I found the chapter endings a little too fluffy and the take-away of each chapter unclear. The relationships between the chapters also remain vague.

Whilst I had expected the author to tie the constituent chapters together in the epilogue, Sudjic instead focuses on the impact of the economic crisis. Surprisingly he does this in an almost apologetic manner: "After excess comes sobriety". This is a rather unexpected turn of events as in the preceeding 190 pages the author does not touch anywhere upon meaning creation in relationship to back-to-basics design approaches, let alone sustainability. Though this did not feel like a glaring omission at any point whilst reading the book, the epilogue suddenly draws attention to it and unnecessarily causes meaning creation to be associated with glitzy superficiality, undoubtedly the exact opposite of what the author intended.

Sudjic may not be Roland Barthes (Mythologies (Vintage Classics)), Penny Sparke (Design & Culture), Adrian Forty (Objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750) or Peter-Paul Verbeek (What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design), yet this book still forms a nice, light-hearted complement to the existing literature on semiotics and design history. 'The Language of Things' should be compulsory reading for first year design students for its ability to popularize semiotics and to illustrate how design is about so much more than just aesthetics, engineering and business economics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars art, 20 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Language of Things: Design, Luxury, Fashion, Art: how we are seduced by the objects around us (Paperback)
since aquiring this book, i have been flicking through it at every given moment for simple refferences to all things in the Art and Design field. i travel with this book to uni as it's a great source of ideas from some truly inspiring people and Artists in the general sense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for anyone interested in objects around them, 23 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Language of Things: Design, Luxury, Fashion, Art: how we are seduced by the objects around us (Paperback)
I'm a designer, and this is amongst the best reads I've had on the subject. The writing is succinct, lucid and simple enough to be understood by anyone passionate on the subject, and it's more about the objects that we use everyday than academic critique. I also felt that it's personal at some level; the very first chapter begins with a personal experience of Mr. Sudjic and often in the book, we are introduced to his world at appropriate junctures. I highly recommend this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent commentary on the role and evolution of product design, 21 July 2012
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Language of Things: Design, Luxury, Fashion, Art: how we are seduced by the objects around us (Paperback)
Deyan Sudjic managed to produce a very readable, well argued and interesting essay on the role of design in our consumer society, as well as on the evolution of it, which brought us to where we are today.

After a brief but truly intriguing introduction titled 'A World Drowning in Objects' he goes on deconstructing design, its influence and evolution through language, design archetypes, luxury, fashion and art. The sample objects used to demonstrate his points range from furniture, architecture, pocket calculators, cars, lamps, handguns to fashion items and modern art.

The book does a very credible job of summarizing the topic, even if it in my opinion does not quite fulfill the promise implicit in its introduction. Still, Sudjic writes compellingly and is certainly a knowledgeable observer, making this a recommended read for anyone interested in design in the 20th century.
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