Most helpful critical review
A GREAT BOOK!!!
on November 8, 2001
At the concept level this is a great book, very well thought out and a nice layout. It is well worth the price. Very nice!!
A great book!!!
So why did I give it only a 2.
Because the beauty and logic of the book are only demonstrated in very simplistic designs which already would have geometric thinking built in....cars, building, furniture, commercial posters, fish, shells, etc. Symetrical snowflakes.
These objects would be driven to good design because of utilitarian functioning which is required by their physical nature. One example is A coffee maker, A car, A building . Kim is on to something great with this book,but I think she should have tackled more creative and complex objects and compositions where utilitarian value is secondary. She walks down the usual Leonardo and Greek path but the analysis is only of primarily singular objects. She does a great job but most of the objects are isolated objects or poster graphics which are already contrived on a pure geometric basis.
The great value of this book would be in the context of the evolution of design, proportion, and compostion with some of an Art aesthetic bent.
Analysis of complete compostions would be of value, some Durer engravings, some Raphael, some Petro da Cortona, some Poussin, some Raphael, Baroque, Neoclassical, Rococo, Cubist, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, etc. The books concept is great but the interaction of objects in paintings, or multi-group sculptures within the spirit of the books intent would have been a nice addition. The analysis objects are mostly trivial cases. The analysis methods are wonderful but I mean .........a chair by itself!!!
Great design problems are worked out by the interaction of objects, not just singular static objects. There is a wealth of more dynamic and interesting composition that was totally ignored. The Wagon Bar poster is the only thing that comes close to the type of complexity found in Art. The Folies poster was a good place to start, but the book dies with just these two examples,the Volkswagen and kettle are just too basic and functional within the context of current design which over simplifies most designs for the economy of mass production.
Take on a 1930's or 40 Packard, Duesenberg, or Silver cloud, not a 2000 Volkswagen where it and every other current product sit in the wings waiting for Steve Jobs and Apple to give them there next two circled transparent (in 15 colors) wonder flash of consumer mass production Neo-Borg Americana dribble,hoping each ounce of plastic or metal saved will mean less time to reprogram the robots, and make it easier to tell the consumer they should be thankful they can assemble it themselves at home.
(Got to love the proportions of that green packaging popcorn)
The book is a good intro book and brings together a lot of thinking from a number of other books in a quick read format, I would say "buy it" you will get your bang for the buck.
I would have rather paid 4 times as much and have it go much deeper into real Art proportion and compostion analyis.
The thinking and format of the book was so great, it seems a shame to waste it on objects and not apply it to some art examples. I mean compositional multi object art designs.
The book should contain at least some history related paintings,
Veronese, Tiepolo, some Titian, some contrast between Ren, Mannerism, Greek, Egyptian,(wall paintings not a pyramid) etc.. These examples within the context of multi-object compostions are more educational because they represent imagination use of proportion and compostion not functional requirements.
A great effort, Kim explains a violin, a trumpet, a drum, a flute, a trombone, but we never get around to a "symphony" if I can use a musical example to calrify what I mean.
Most of the examples are one trick ponies.
I hope a more sophisticated, more expensive, second edition comes out and the publishers let her go more in depth on a broader range of designs and Art history, she is on the right track, and the book would be valuable, it is a superb format, but the whole book I would have called Chapter One. Maybe I am being unfair this may be aimed at the Comercial Consumer Industrial Design crowd, not the Art crowd.