Archive for category Series: Little Book of Big Ideas

Graphic Design: the 50 most influential graphic designers in the world || Anna Gerber

OK, given my reservations about its sister volume on architecture, a pocket guide to graphic design is just weird. I mean, this just isn’t something you’re going to need to carry round with you.

It’s certainly good to see something that recognises the importance of graphic design and brings it to a popular audience and, if this book can achieve that, then I can forgive it its obvious shortcomings, but it also argues against itself because small type and small illustrations just don’t do a good job in the very field where the layout should shine.

The series bills itself as “filled with everything you need to know about the given field”. Are you sure about that?

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Architecture: the 50 most influential architects in the world || John Stones

This is part pf a new series from Blacks called Little Books of Big Ideas. Now, the fact is, I’m automatically suspicious of small books. I’ve nothing against them personally, though I’m not sure I’d want my daughter to marry one. The problem is that they immediately condemn themselves to small illustrations and pages you have to peer at and I don’t think that’s a good thing unless there’s a compelling reason, which is usually that it’s something you want to be able to carry round with you. So, do you need a pocket guide to architects? I don’t have an answer to that, though I did say “architects”, not “architecture”.

I’m not going to pretend to be qualified to judge the list of who’s included, though a look at the contents produces several of the names you’d expect and I can’t immediately spot too many glaring omissions, though the lack of James Stirling and Denys Lasdun might raise an eyebrow or two, given the inclusion of C F A Voysey.

On the whole, I’d have said this is something you’d peruse at home rather than carry in a pocket, so the format is perhaps wilfully perverse. As a potted guide to the history of architecture, it’s quite a handy thing, but there’s not exactly a shortage in this field.

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