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The Art of Looking Sideways Hardcover – 17 Jul 2001
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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
"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 JournalSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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.
The amount of "stuff" in the book is astounding, you can really see how much time, energy and thought Fletcher has put into this, it is basically a catalogue of thoughts, wit, ideas and work by Fletcher. From a quote about how good it feels to write on a rubber with a biro to a diagram of every breed of dog! There are some really interesting sketches and diagrams that let you feel what he was feeling or think how he was at the time, so his personality comes through a lot.
It's definately not a book designed to be read cover to cover because there simply is no need, it goes along at it's own pace, amazing and intriguing you along the way. It features great Fletcher hand drawn typoraphy, interesting page textures and amazing colour, so it's a piece of design itself.
So just pick it up, have a flick through whenever you want, because it's definately going to please you if you are at all interested in graphics.
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.
not abook to read from cover to cover, but one to walk past, pick up, and learn from. you will always open it on a diffrent page, and always find something interessting.
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