The majority of what's collected in this book are reviews, but they sometimes read like essays. Because of this, Bierut's writing refers to controversThe majority of what's collected in this book are reviews, but they sometimes read like essays. Because of this, Bierut's writing refers to controversies and hot topics at the time and they occasionally show their flaws in the light of the passing years. Some are remembrances of influential designers, artists, photographers, and creative persons who have recently passed away and played some role in shaping Bierut's life. But the best work comes in the form of the more recognizable essays, that is, the writings that transcend time while capturing it. A shining example of Bierut's congruent power of writing as a designer can be seen in "On (Design) Bullshit." Bierut recounts one of the major confrontations between architect Richard Meier and artist Robert Irwin in the 1997 documentary, "Concert of Wills," which chronicles the construction of the Getty Center in Los Angeles. He finishes the piece with an example from his years working as a designer with Massimo Vignelli. What is evident in reading these 79 articles is that designers are influenced by any and everything, even falling off a treadmill at the gym.
Given that this is a book on design written by a notable designer (Bierut is a partner in renowned international design agency Pentagram), the content and how it is packaged are presented in a clever manner: each article is presented in a different typeface, most of which is connected to or referenced in the article. (See "I Hate ITC Garamond.")...more
A collection of personal essays centered on design, Ilyin voices the doubts some of us have when we see a chair, fork, or table in a catalogue that loA collection of personal essays centered on design, Ilyin voices the doubts some of us have when we see a chair, fork, or table in a catalogue that looks perfectly designed with its clean lines, brushed stainless steel surface, and its hefty price tag. We see these items for their promises of a better life after we slide our plastic cards through the checkout line and bring back the haul into our homes. But these promises can often be nothing more than hollow and imbalanced, despite appearances. Even when we choose imperfection, as Ilyin notes with great insight, it's for the "right" type of imperfection.
"What will happen to us as a culture when we have been completely conditioned only to choose between options, rather than to come up with solutions?" Ilyin asks. It's a question that goes beyond the world of design....more
(More like 3.5 stars.) Aside from needing copy editing in the Ern Malley section, this was a good book. It often read like a series of columns about d(More like 3.5 stars.) Aside from needing copy editing in the Ern Malley section, this was a good book. It often read like a series of columns about different literary hoaxes and pranks. The only section I couldn't finish was the Holocaust memoirs. I felt ill knowing that these writers were using that tragic period for less than honorable reasons.
Many hoaxes fed into many people's propensity to gravitate toward the outrageous and conspiratorial. The more harmless ones highlighted criticisms of the literary establishment or jumpstarted a writer's career. (Big example: Dan Brown.) Katsoulis's book shows how powerful the printed word can still be, and how journalists, critics and experts are invaluable when it comes to exposing the truth behind the hoax....more