The Art of Looking Sideways
This is simply an astonishing book that I suggest you should savour. In a sense I feel that there is little more to say than to advise you to obtain a copy.
This may not feel like much of a review, and for the left brained reader requiring logic with which to justify their purchase, I will try to oblige, superfluous though this feels.
This is a large book with over 500 large format pages. It is described by Alan Fletcher as the work of a visual Jackdaw to produce an exploration of the workings of the eye, the hand, the brain and the imagination.
As he describes ĎThe book attempts to open windows to glimpse views rather than dissect the pictures on the wall. To look at things from unlikely angles.... The book has no thesis, is neither a whodunit or a how-to-do-it, has no beginning middle or end. Itís a journey without a destination.... It is unlike most books, those that are concerned with the mechanics rather than the thoughts, with the match rather than the fire.í
The result is not a book to sit down and read sequentially from cover to cover, rather an environment of ideas and stimuli through which to journey, an exploration in which to become immersed.
Reading through reviews of the book on Amazon, all seem to come from graphic designers, indeed the author is a renown graphic designer himself. The result is a book that is a delight to hold. The different paper types and textures, intriguing layouts and inviting formats mean that every page turned leads to new discoveries even before their content is examined. Its merits as an exemplar of the art of design are clear, but this is much more than a role model for designers.
It is a book that in infinite ways serves as a catalyst for thinking. It has a multifaceted ability to present aspects of the world in new ways, that defy you seeing them the way you always have in the past.
Through the imaginative use of images and text, quotations, snippets of information, and a host of other approaches, this is a feast for the mind as well as the eye.
Itís not simply a book that I canít stop dipping into, I canít stop smiling at the fact that Alan Fletcher took the time, care and attention to detail to share it with me. It is quite simply a pleasure to hold.
My immense thanks to Martine Vanremoortele who brought The Art of Looking Sideways to my attention. I am delighted to bring it to yours.
If you obtain a copy I recommend a pack of post-it notes to catalogue the innumerable pages you will want to return to.
September 8 2005
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