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Problem Solved: A Primer in Design and Communication Paperback – 17 Sep 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; New edition edition (17 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714844535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714844534
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 2.9 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 451,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'Students and professionals alike will enjoy this primer for its engaging text and the wealth of imagery used to illustrate points.' (Artichoke, Australia)

'For once we have a graphics book that isn't just a parade of stunning imagery - impressive though its visual content is. A challenging theory underpins each wittily titled chapter, promoting brave and contentious ideas. It also pushes the importance of words in communication - a rare treat from a serious graphics tome.' (Design Week)

'A real tour de force. It covers an amazing amount of projects (and problems) and Johnson tackles them in an unpretentious and erudite way.' (Grafik, formerly Graphics International)

About the Author

Michael Johnson is Creative Director of johnson banks, which was voted most creative consultancy in Britain in 1999. He is Chairman of Education for British Design and Art Direction (D&AD) and lectures regularly on design theory and practice.


Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 12 Jun. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed 'Problem Solved' for several reasons. It is incredibly well written and is very engaging. The editorial offers a marked change from most books in this category that, I find, tend to be written in a style that is so impenetrable and up itself, it subsequently elevates the role of the designer/art director to that of a Messiah - a panacea for all problems.
Secondly, I applaud Johnson's decision to show design with advertising to illustrate the book's main themes. And the design work chosen isn't the de rigour award-winning stuff that turns up in most graphics books, but good
creative work that also had success from a marketing point of view.

The previous reviewer mentioned that the book failed to be robust in it's analysis of the creative work featured in the book. I personally didn't feel this, as surely the aim of the text is to examine a particular genre of problem solving and showcase the work that fits this type in order for the
reader to recognise how one particular problem i.e. 'the astonish me' problem' was solved by a clutch of creative practices that specialise in different disciplines and ways of working.
I have found that is is rare that designer/art director can articulate a deep insight into the strategy of the work, I usually go to the planner or marketing director for that point of view.
I can see how the design elite would be offended by this book as it does have a strong marketing bias and, although many designers/art director may say that they are 'problem solvers', at heart many prefer to experiment with their creative skills. Hence the number of designers who prefer to design books but complain about the low fees and the number of agency art directors who call their commercials films.

Ultimately the book is a good read and is a pragmatic solution to presenting the point where design, advertising and marketing meet. A point which still makes many creative people uncomfortable. It looks good too.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been looking for a simple introduction to design and advertising and this has proved invaluable. There are so many books available, but none of them seem to take a general view of the subject (and I'm on a limited budget).
I really enjoyed Johnson's witty writing style, and the examples of work he used were always fantastic.
For once I actually read a design book from front to back, rather than just skipping through and putting it straight on the bookshelf. Splitting solutions into general 'problem' areas was really useful and also really entertaining.
For anyone looking for a general introduction to the subject, this has to be the best book you can buy. I would imagine that people already working would also really enjoy some of Johnson's entertaining (and sometimes outrageous) observations too.
Very highly reccomended, in fact the best book I've bought since the Art of Looking Sideways. Five stars from me.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is not particularly robust, and the title is somewhat misleading. It suggests that complicated ideas will be talked through, rationalised and then developed into a creative solution; but that doesn't happen. Instead, rafts of creative work are shown without the "thinking" really being developed. I would agree with the first reviewer that this book makes advertising appear simple - that's because the intricacies of each situation are not properly expounded before the executions displayed.
The notion seems to be one all too often found in communications literature, that if the work itself is good enough to do the job (which it must be in order to be deemed successful) the thinking behind the work does not need to be articulated.
For anybody trying to get an insight into how creative solutions come to be, more exposition of the problems which require these solutions is paramount.
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Format: Hardcover
Do you wish to find out how and where advertisers begin the ads you know?
Well, your problem solved!
This book shows you the answer(s).
Nice ads on a nice graphics. Simple questions with simple answers (yes, they knew the answer before posing the question!).
The idea of introducing THE question followed by THE answer is so straight forward that makes us think "what a simple job advertising must be".
QUESTION #1: Where does the book go wrong?
ANSWER: It makes us believe "ad things" are simple.
QUESTION #2: Where does the book go right?
ANSWER: Shows you how good can you be and how far can you go if you keep it simple.
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