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The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher

The Art of Looking Sideways (2001)

by Alan Fletcher

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789917,353 (4.31)31

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» See also 31 mentions

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"Words and pictures on how to make twinkles in the eye and colours agree in the dark. Thoughts on mindscaping, moonlighting and daydreams. Have you seen a purple cow? When less can be more than enough. The art of looking sideways. To gaze is to think. Are you left-eyed? Living out loud. Buy junk, sell antiques. The Golden Mean. Standing ideas on their heads. To look is to listen. Insight on the mind's eye. Every status has its symbol. 'Do androids dream of electric sheep?' Why feel blue? Triumphs of imagination such as the person you love is 72.8% water. Do not adjust your mind, there's a fault in reality. Teach yourself ignorance. The belly-button problem. Visual charades. What has an ox to do with the letter A? The art of looking sideways. How to turn knots into bows. When does 1 and 1 add up to 3? Why sit with your back to the view? Notes on the Blue Tit Syndrome, letterplay and visual puns. Patterns of chaos. Kissin' cousins to camp. Half a word is enough for a quick ear. Some people think computers can't. Civilization is chaos taking a rest. Too far east is west. Writing is the geometry of the soul. Why look at things upside down? Squaring the circle. 'If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.' The sympathy of things. How to think by jumping. Never wait for yourself. A word in your eye. The art of looking sideways. Beauty is a flavour of quark. Cerebral acrobatics. By the way, what's it like living with a paper bag over your head? Not referring to you of course - the uncommon exception to universal bondage."

Enough said. ( )
  Sylak | Jan 5, 2019 |
Interiors Library - shelved at: B17
  HB-Library-159 | Oct 19, 2016 |
This is a source book of so many ideas and graphic notes. It is not really true that I read it (it's got hundreds and hundreds of pages) but it is not really designed to be read from cover to cover. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
This is a disjointed somewhat mess of a book that made me think and wonder and gave me occasional headaches while it played with my perception.

Alan Fletcher was a designer, this is like his scrapbook of ideas and thoughts and cool findings, everything from an Indian tailors ruler to the musing (p411)
"Inventing a new alphabet doesn't carry the same inhibitions as adapting an old one. In the 1820s Cherokee Chief Sequoyah, impressed by white man's writing, designed an alphabet. Taking the letters he cannibalized them to make new ones adding curlicues and flourishes, and allocating them phonetic sounds. The Cherokee [who called white man's books 'talking leaves'] called Sequoyah's typographic font 'talking stones'
A thought: Here is an illiterate Native American in the early nineteenth century, appropriating Roman letters, which had been adopted from the ancient Greeks, who had in turn copied them from a rudimentary Phoenician script developed from pictograms used in ancient Sumer, which had originated in an even more ancient Egypt - long, long before the dynasties of Pharaohs."

It's full of this sort of thing, musings and facts and playing with typography and text direction and now I need a light book to heal my brain and allow some of the thinking to process fully. ( )
1 vote wyvernfriend | Jul 22, 2015 |
Are you looking for ideas for your next project? This book has it that helps you start with getting some inspiration.

This book has provided me with infinite moments, better said esthetic moments. It is the eyes that are working while we do not allow rationality to disturb a possible criative moment. Words are not enough.

A very important book in my shelves! ( )
  Paal | May 26, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
[B]anality can neither be masked behind a thousand snippets of borrowed wisdom, nor redeemed by as many pages of smart-aleck typography.
added by Katya0133 | editThe Times Higher Education Supplement, Roy Harris (Aug 9, 2002)
[Fletcher] created a design reference book that's fun to read and a good place to get inspiration.
added by Katya0133 | editCommunication Arts, Ruth Hagopian (Mar 1, 2002)
[T]his book will delight anyone who enjoys unexpected visual and verbal play, cultural and historical observations and insights, and staggering amounts of trivia and anecdotes.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Journal, Phil Hamlett (Jan 1, 2002)
Critiquing The Art of Looking Sideways is like trying to wrestle an elephant into an envelope. It is a bold, magnificent, elusive, almost inscrutable giant of a book.
added by Katya0133 | editPrint, Tim Rich (Sep 1, 2001)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0714834491, Hardcover)

Alan Fletcher's The Art of Looking Sideways is an absolutely extraordinary and inexhaustible "guide to visual awareness," a virtually indescribable concoction of anecdotes, quotes, images, and bizarre facts that offers a wonderfully twisted vision of the chaos of modern life. Fletcher is a renowned designer and art director, and the joy of The Art of Looking Sideways lies in its beautiful design. Loosely arranged in 72 chapters with titles like "Colour," "Noise," "Chance," "Camouflage," and "Handedness," Fletcher's book, which he describes as "a journey without a destination," is "a collection of shards" that captures the sensory overload of a world that simply contains too much information. In one typical section, entitled "Civilization," the reader encounters six Polish flags designed to represent the world, a photograph of an anthropomorphic handbag, Buzz Aldrin's boot print on the moon, drawings of Stone Age pebbles, a painting of "Ireland--as seen from Wales," and a dizzying array of quotations and snippets of information, including the wise words of Marcus Aurelius, Stephen Jay, and Gandhi's comment, "Western civilization? I think it would be a good idea." Fletcher's mastery of design mixes type, space, fonts, alphabets, color, and layout combined with a "jackdaw" eye for the strange and profound to produce a stunning book that cannot be read, but only experienced. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:36 -0400)

Describing himself as a visual jackdaw, designer Alan Fletcher has spent a lifetime collecting images, useless information, quotations and scraps. This work distills this collection into a quirky and entertaining feast for the eyes and the mind.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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