ISSUE- December 2012- Book Reviews

‘Change By Design’ offers broad vision
Review by Thomas Lee Harris Jr. 

“Change By Design” offers a broad vision for the future of design thinking. Tim Brown defines “design thinking” as a compelling way to think creatively and to solve problems. It is a fundamental process to innovation, not only to be used by designers but by a wide range of professionals to acquire new alternatives for bettering their business or society as a whole.

Brown mentions that the MFA is the new MBA, that design thinking is the way to create products that work, and he gives a perception of how to successfully build the marketing of the product.

He begins by explaining the design thinking process and its major themes. As creative engines, we need to first start by playing with ideas, brainstorming. We loosen our creative consciousness to start with a gestural idea. For instance, in drawing we are taught to start very loosely with a gestural drawing that takes only seconds or a few brief minutes. Then, once the general layout is found and decided within the composition, we begin to hone in on those decisions. We decide what qualities and characters of the original are correct, and work and which of those do not. Then as we are making these decisions our drawing develops thoroughly. Brown’s strategy of organized playfulness allows the creator to loosen up and use more of an organic thought process before thinking scientifically or mathematically about a problem.

Storytelling helps us to come together as a group, and build on a scenario or situation to determine how products will work and what the outcome may be.

Prototyping helps designers manufacture a simple object that may represent the product to explore its capabilities and ease communication between designer, user, and even consumer. They are able to communicate how the product might work, its applications, and what is the idea’s strengths and weaknesses, by using office supplies to communicate as quickly as possible. The faster these ideas are communicated — which are wrong and what needs improvement — the faster designers can move onto a better product. This all comes together and ends in workshops which helps implement these tools.

Brown connects design thinking to graphic design by showing generic relationships and examples from the graphic design world. This book is reassuring for young designers to keep their academic and experimental thinking processes, and to build upon them in their career.

“Change By Design” explains that the innovations happening today are more from creative engines who study immediate, everyday challenges, and from those who use the creative process of design thinking to formulate new ideas and improve those ideas rigorously — not only by designers but those of the non-design world as well.

‘I Wonder’ part textbook, part autobiography
Review by Rachel Binagia

Illuminated manuscripts, a career as a designer, the memories made throughout life and, most importantly, the sense of wonder that humans are able to experience — these are the inspirations behind “I Wonder,” by Marian Bantjes.

The book was first conceived as a compilation of essays. The end result still contains a variety of essays, but it is more like a journey through Bantjes’ mind. The way she uses artwork and typography expresses her ideas and her feelings of wonder, to create a work that bridges the line between fine art and design.

The book starts out by introducing the reason she wrote the book, and then highlights the different ways wonder has influenced humans. She pushes readers to think outside of the box and realize that, when we ask questions, we find meaning in life, even if we do not find answers to the question.

The chapters explore different topics, including the different types of stars beyond the simple five-point star. She also questions heraldry, and asks what the world would be like if we applied the same process used to create a coat of arms to designing corporate logos.

She dissects each topic and looks at them from different perspectives. She allows the reader to see how her mind works, and how new ideas are created. The visuals are created specifically go with the text and are inseparable from the text. They provide further insight into how her mind works.

The book is a personal memoir, or a journey through Bantjes’ mind. The artistic images merge with the personal thoughts to create a book that breaks the boundaries of normal graphic design.

The book is a good read for both the designer and non-designer. Although it covers topics specific to the area of graphic design, Bantjes’ style invites the non-designer. Her feelings of wonder can be implemented into any topic and lead to new ideas.


ISSUE Magazine – December 2012