Typography Now: The Next Wave Paperback – 1 Aug 1994
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Top customer reviews
Some books on type and design promise what they can't deliver. Typography now: the next wave is a heady, visual narrative that can capture your imagination and set free the possibilities within. It has achieved that perfect relationship among designers, editors and typographers: an intuitive synergy oozing out of each and every page, cover to cover.
The introduction by editor Rick Poynor aptly sets the tone for what readers can expect: "becoming an active participant in the construction of the message". A section divider clearly demarcates each section; and the captions are clear and concise.
I can't wait to get my hands on the next book by the people responsible for Typography now: the next wave.
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Though it seems somewhat counter-intuitive, the use of computers in design and typography (quite new in the early 90's, when this book was published) allowed these designers to create works with less precision, more randomness, and more expression than preceding methods. Thus, many of these works read like the result of someone playing with a new tool and taking it to its extreme. You'll find total illegibility, warped type, layers of type, type in extreme sizes and crazy directions, much of which looks highly stylized and dated. Interestingly, most of the works are for non-commercial use, like posters for design schools, art exhibitions, musical performances, etc.
This book is worth having for a few reasons. One, there are some interesting pieces that stand out from the rest and will spark ideas. Two, the designs serve to remind us that just because you CAN make a piece of text jagged, cluttered, and obscure doesn't mean you should. Three, it will get you thinking about the place of the designer/typographer/graphic artist.
These folks (or some of them anyway) were arguing that the designer is not just an arranger of content, but an interpreter of it. They claimed (to me contradictorily) that "the aim is to promote multiple rather than fixed readings" but also that "designers must be able to function as visual editors who can bring acute perception to their readings of the text." How can the designer promote multiple readings while also developing and promoting his/her own? In hindsight, these arguments read like justification for their play and experimentation with type. In any case, this perspective on the role of the designer is interesting to consider, especially applied to web design, where the focus is so often on user-centric design.
This book however does not teach you how to create great designs, or how great designs are created. It doesn't tell you the rules of typography etc. All it does is showing you the designs related to typography by some designers. If you're looking for ideas, this is the book for you.
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