Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Art of Looking Sideways

'The Art of Looking Sideways' - Alan Fletcher

After reading a review on Amazon for this book I immediately took it out of the library (not expecting it to be so thick!?! It's pretty much a cube). I cannot emphasis this enough - IT IS AMAZING.

This is the overview as written on Amazon:-

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,

As a visual communicator it is a prime example of how we should be looking at the world. Through fresh eyes. Through questioning eyes. No doubt about it, I am buying this book! Until then - here are a few snippets from the mere fraction of the book that I have managed to work my way through.

A double page spread illustrating the silohuettes of every breed of dog as detemined by CRUFTS.

A full alphabet of typography taken from natural markings in pebbles found on a beach. This would have been REALLY relevant last year when we were doing the type module with Graham and Sophie, damnit.

A quote from Queen Victoria.

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