ReviewsReviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 220 words
Structural Package Designs
A positive review of a simply designed handbook of package design in a time where gloss is king in design publishing.
Amid the heavyweight competition, this 150mm square block charms through a directness of purpose and unassuming form. Other than a few supplementary sections, each page describes a unique packaging form by single flat template diagram, 3D line drawing, and title. More zen in its simplicity than the minimalism affected by current arts publishing, this book exemplifies how a good idea designs itself. It would be nice to imagine this kind of publication replacing the ubiquitous hardback annuals, awards and other catalogues of inspiration in classrooms and studios as a true reference work, demonstrating how to articulate an idea without the usual obscuring veneer of style. The lessons are numerous: the clarity of the illustrations; the no-nonsense 3-paragraph introduction repeated in 7 languages; the genuinely useful appendices (details such as typical limit for printing); the thriftiness of format and colour that ensure its bargain price. The books general portrayal of the potential in design recalls the more specifically-typographic tour-de-force handbooks of Bosshard (Technische Grundlagen zur Satzherstellung) and Gerstner (Kompendium für Alphabeten). These books also share symbiosis of form and content, providing a sense that the ideas arrived as fully-formed objects; it is difficult to imagine them existing in any other way. As a current surprise arts bookshop bestseller, this antidote to coffee table fatigue is well-positioned to quietly promote intelligent design.
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First published in Eye, No.33, Autumn 1999.