Monday, May 03, 2010

Art & Culture: Designer's Notebook by Andrew Schapiro and Brad Mead

This review will be short. To do anything but a short review of Designer’s Notebook (Chronicle Books) would be ironic. Maybe ridiculous. When I decided to review the book, I didn’t know this. I was anticipating a book about design. It isn’t. Not really. It is just what the title suggests: A notebook. Created with designers in mind.

Considering my expectations, though, imagine my surprise when I opened the book and discovered that, for the most part, it was blank, or mostly so. However, you will have been prepared: you will have escaped the surprise.

Surprised irony aside, Designer’s Notebook is actually quite cool. As anyone with even the slightest interest in cool notebooks will realize, Designer’s Notebook seems patterned after the classic Moleskine: spare, tidy, infinitely useful. There are some differences, though. The book isn’t entirely blank. For instance, the “user-generated table of contents” is not nearly as silly as it sounds. There is also a more or less Moleskine-style storage folder, a detachable ruler, tracing paper and color stickers. “These can have a variety of uses, including as tabs on page edges for organization.” Okay. Fun.

We are told that the “pages are a structured yet flexible place for the designer to consider each element of a project before and throughout its creation.” And though that sounds a little highfalutin’, I can see using these pages in just that way.

Designer’s Notebook is a good execution and it’s a good idea, I’m looking forward to see if it lives up to my expectations.

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