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The Art of Looking Sideways (DESIGN) Hardcover – 17 July 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 174 ratings

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Amazon Review

Alan Fletcher's The Art of Looking Sideways is an absolutely extraordinary and inexhaustible "guide to visual awareness", a virtually indescribable concoction of anecdotes, quotes, images and bizarre facts that offers a wonderfully twisted vision of the chaos of modern life. Fletcher is a renowned designer and art director and the joy of The Art of Looking Sideways lies in its beautiful design. Loosely arranged in 72 chapters with titles like "Colour", "Noise", "Chance", "Camouflage" and "Handedness", Fletcher's book, which he describes as "a journey without a destination", is "a collection of shards" that captures the sensory overload of a world that simply contains too much information. In one typical section, entitled "Civilization", the reader encounters six Polish flags designed to represent the world, a photograph of an anthropomorphic hand bag, Buzz Aldrin's bootprint on the moon, drawings of Stone Age pebbles, a painting of "Ireland--as seen from Wales" and a dizzying array of quotations and snippets of information, including the wise words of Marcus Aurelius, Stephen Jay and Gandhi's comment, "Western civilization? I think it would be a good idea". Fletcher's mastery of design mixes type, space, fonts, alphabets, colour and layout combined with a "jackdaw" eye for the strange and profound to produce a stunning book that cannot be read, but only experienced. --Jerry Brotton

Review

"Nobody should enter the real world until they have read and been graphically stimulated by Alan Fletcher's amazing Baedeker of practical and erudite information. The book could have been described by René Magritte - 'A truly poetic canvas is an awakened dream'. I'm sure Alan's magnum opus will awaken many dreams'."―Terence Conran

"This is a cornucopia of a book, a lucky dip of perception and paradox, laced with more strange facts than can possibly be probable and providing more fun than one has any right to expect."―Bamber Gascoigne, author and broadcaster

"A brilliant trick and treat. Fletcher's ideas pretend to have been gathered in from anywhere, but here is a very rigorous creative mind at work. Alan Fletcher is the great visual thinker of our age."―Fiona MacCarthy, Biographer and Cultural Historian

"t last, Alan Fletcher proves that graphic designers can be as fascinated about what things mean, as by how they look. This book is a staggeringly rich collection of words and pictures that will change the way you see the world."―Deyan Sudjic, Author and Critic and editor of Domus magazine

"This remarkable magpie hoard of words and pictures forces one to reconsider the relationship between thinking and looking, telling and showing. And as one had every reason to expect, Fletcher's own drawings and graphics are delightful."―Jonathan Miller, Theatre Director and Author

"A rather special collection... Will go down just as well with your Auntie Mavies as with your lawyer, bin man and coolest friends."―Homes & Interiors

"The design book of the century may have already been written."―Design Week

"Alan Fletcher's book challenges both dogma and habit by questioning how we see things, how we read things and how we understand things."―Royal College of Art, London

"...This book will delight anyone who enjoys unexpected visual and verbal play, cultural and historical observations and insights, and staggering amounts of trivia and anecdotes."―Library Journal

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
174 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 October 2009
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2008
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 October 2016
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 September 2017
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 February 2019
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 January 2016
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 June 2020
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Top international reviews

Giuseppe
4.0 out of 5 stars La cultura dell'immagine
Reviewed in Italy on 29 July 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!
Reviewed in India on 12 June 2018
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Mirna
5.0 out of 5 stars Essere attuali sempre
Reviewed in Italy on 10 March 2013
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emanuele ricci
5.0 out of 5 stars un libro tante strade
Reviewed in Italy on 5 July 2014
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elisa
5.0 out of 5 stars pieno di spunti grafici e visivi
Reviewed in Italy on 1 April 2016
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Pradhan Thandra
5.0 out of 5 stars Must buy
Reviewed in India on 24 August 2017
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Manfred Storn
5.0 out of 5 stars Trüffelhaufen
Reviewed in Germany on 3 December 2015
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sameer
5.0 out of 5 stars A smorgasbord of visual ideas.
Reviewed in India on 11 December 2016
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Me to You
3.0 out of 5 stars Curious title.
Reviewed in Canada on 16 February 2019
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Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Lieferung
Reviewed in Germany on 25 October 2017
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Massimo
5.0 out of 5 stars Ottimo
Reviewed in Italy on 20 November 2014
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Mihir B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in India on 28 May 2018
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Campbell's
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Reviewed in France on 20 May 2019
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vinay arora
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book
Reviewed in India on 15 March 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Un libro fascinante
Reviewed in Italy on 10 February 2014
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