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How to See: A Guide to Reading Our Man-Made Environment
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How to See: A Guide to Reading Our Man-Made Environment

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Rev. ed. of: How to see. Boston: Little, Brown, 1977.
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Design Within Reach (first published 1977)
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Vlad Golovach
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: Дизайн
Splendid little book of Nelson (not just a great designer but also a clever and witty writer and polemist) splendidly reissued (with upgraded photos and slightly lavisher design).
Don
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was aware of Nelson's iconic design work for Herman Miller, not only from working at a competitor for many years but also due to a general interest in design. Originally published in 1977, this edition published in 2017. Nothing describes the writers intent better than his quote from the back cover, "Seeing is not a unique God-given talent, but a discipline. It can be learned."

My hope is that I will have somewhat of a new eye after reading, especially for the everyday object that has been care
...more
Brian Durance
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design-with-a-d
"Comrade, the problem is not with these paintings, but with you.... imagine, my friend, that this is not a painting gallery, but a display of mathematical equations. Would you then shout at this nice young woman and get her to explain these to you? Of course you wouldn't. You would realize that you don't understand mathematics, and keep quiet." - George Nelson
Gregory
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Visual literacy. How to understand what you see in design.
Mohanad Al-Helwany
It's for visual illiteracy, good resources with great visuals
Marilyn
Great lunch time book.
Justin Labelle
A succinct introduction to the signs and symbols of day to day life.
Though it is a watered down introduction to semiotics, it does what it seeks out to accomplish. It reminds you that human things are constructed things and while we want to believe that the objects that surround us were designed with a purpose, they're also just as often designed by chance and stupidity.
An often funny, insightful look at the world we see, or at least saw, roughly 30 years ago.
Eric
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting primer on how to, indeed, “see”—though Nelson is borderline dyspeptic in his worldview and motivations for this book. The death of Modernism was a tragedy for a lot of people, especially control-freak designers like him, I guess. For a more upbeat, open-armed embrace of the same subject I recommend checking out Rob Forbes’ See For Yourself.
Joe
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Daniel Pink recommended this book (in A Whole New Mind, I think). Designer George Nelson seems pretty confident that I am visually illiterate. I loved reading/viewing this collection of pictures (of our man-made environment) with Nelson's voice uniting them. So much to be seen all around us all the time! How to See (I hope) will help me remember to take a critical look around more often...really enjoy the designs that surround us.
Melanie
Published in 1973 for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to improve upon government design. Brushes through the most basic of visual design, it is a quick 71 page read. Most interesting to see what was considered a technological advancement in the 70s...which was the beginning of seeing with the technology of the camera and telescope.
Tim Belonax
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
I wish that I had read this book as a teenager. I think it would have been a big help in my development as a designer. Nonetheless, it’s a solid read that will feel familiar to those in a “creative” field.
Greta
Mar 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
This book had some interesting things to say about seeing, and I enjoyed the retro photos of a time gone by, but there wasn't anything truly eye-opening within its pages that would really make me see things differently.
Deb
Aug 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We're all visually illiterate, according to designer George Nelson. Here are some ideas for actually seeing what's around us.
James
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
1st edition hardcover w d/j
Gochrisgo
Dec 08, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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