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Problem Solved by Michael Johnson
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Problem Solved

by Michael Johnson

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Design books abound, many of them promising to teach you the secrets of typography or layout, most just being catalogues of good design. I rarely come across a book I could recommend as truly useful to someone interested in the field but unable to study it. Of those, this is the first on my list, not just for excellency but also because it starts at the beginning: how to think like a designer. Finally a book that tackles design as professional problem-solving, and not just providing recipes for dazzling graphics.

The approach to the subject is both enticing and instructive. The author has identified 18 design "problems" that nearly all client briefs fall into. For instance, The Message Is The Price Problem (working on a tight budget), The Evolve or Revolve Problem (corporations changing their identity) etc. Each chapter deals with one problem, dissecting it and showing how different designers have solved this problem, and what made their solution stand out. Every product or ad mentioned is pictured, so there is no abstract bla-bla, only insights into a large number of the most successful designs of the past few decades. The text is airy and reads effortlessly. The examples shown range from packages to TV commercials and span the 60's to 2001: an unspoken statement that style goes in and out of fashion, but the conceptualisation process, the "designer thinking", does not age.

Being a graphic designer by training, I found Problem Solved to be an engrossing read faithful to the high design principles we studied, as opposed to the strictly commercial and undemanding design we usually have to deal with in practice. I'm also very glad to have it, though, when I'm suffering designer's block, as all I need to do is identify the problem and look up how other people dealt with it, emulating their thought process as opposed to imitating the final product...

[Considering a purchase? Please use this URL: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0714844535/thequillandthebrA/ ] ( )
  joumanamedlej | Sep 17, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0714844535, Paperback)

For decades designers and advertisers have had to interpret design briefs, produce new solutions to familiar problems and continually work to keep their clients' brands fresh and in the public consciousness. This book explores the theme of 'problem solving' in design and communication, from reviving the identity of tired brands to dealing creatively and sensitively with propaganda. Each chapter deals with a specific problem and concludes with a case study to illustrate a particular solution in greater detail. With hundreds of examples from a huge range of international agencies and designers, both contemporary and classic, this book presents an informative, comprehensive and lively discussion of communications and advertising in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Advertising is one of the biggest industries worldwide and is a field devoted to continuous innovation and reinvention. The author presents an intelligent and informative discussion, with many illustrated examples, of the problems faced by designers and advertisers when presented with a client's brief. Problems discussed include producing innovative work while avoiding repetition, standing out in the market place, r

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:42 -0400)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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