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Thursday, July 7, 2016
Book Review: Art Chantry talks graphic design
Consumers encountergraphic designeverywhere
they turn. The fonts, colors and shapes of advertisements and
publications utilize the designer’s skills to attract attention,
intrigue the viewer and direct the buyer toward the sale. As a designer
for more than forty years,Art Chantryhas seen a lot of techniques and practitioners come and go. He offers his perspective of the business inArt Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History of 20th Century Graphic Design.
considers himself a bit of an outlaw, both working as a graphic
designer and making wry observations on the state of the art. His always
witty, sometimes acerbic observations share his knowledge of the art’s
history and the people within it. Using blog posts collected over a few
years, he has put together an intriguing overview of his world.
a graphic designer as a “virtual cultural propagandist,” he chops at
the notion of graphic design as high art and reveals many of the subtle
influences at work in good design. Both winners and losers come under
his examination. He divides the articles into three sections: The
Language of Design, Designers and Artists, and Tools of the Trade,
Forgotten Processes and Obsolete Objects. Each section contains a
variety of articles on aspects of the subject.
The reader will have no doubt as to Chantry’sopinionson
any of his subjects. When he loves a subject, he waxes rhapsodic about
it. His disdain for some topics swirls like an eddy around the reader’s
feet, pushing and pulling at the reader’s understanding of the topic.
The volume is no dry textbook, but rather a living commentary on
something we all face every day. Chantry uses humor, sarcasm and insight
to explain his positions and share the history he lived.
generous number of illustrations fill the book, as Chantry makes his
points about particular styles and artists. Be warned: some upper body
nudity and occasional vulgar language make this inappropriate for young
readers, in spite of the pretty pictures. Mature readers will take
delight in the combination of words and images used in the book.
article stands alone, allowing readers to jump directly to subjects of
most interest or read out of order. Taken as a whole, the book shares a
world few consumers think about but must travel every day. Both
educational and entertaining, readers will find when Art Chantry speaks,
they should listen.
history, part psychology, part snarky opinion, Chantry wraps readers in
the stories and leaves them amazed at what goes into graphic design.
Art majors will enjoy the panorama of design influence. The rest of us
can enjoy the inside look at how our minds get molded by designers.
Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic's History of 20th Century Graphic Design