Inferior production values, lacking content, and poor selection.
Feb 5, 2013
What little value this book might have as an original graphic design reference is greatly diminished by the overall poor quality of the publication both in terms of content and production, especially when considering the price of the book. Firstly, it lacks any logical organization. The designs are featured in no particular order, organized under no specific categories, and chosen to be featured for no specific reasons except supposedly having never been "released," which is not really the case seeing as the accompanying descriptions on some designs do state that they have been repurposed (and consequently used), or currently in the process of being used or produced for the original projects they were created. Secondly, some designs are not showcased to highlight their strongest points, as is the case when the images used are either too small or too large, which either hinder the examination of important details in the design or needlessly magnify the design, even to the point of introducing unsightly artifacts and pixelation, both inexcusable in a graphic design book. The print, paper, layout and binding quality of the book, however, is mostly on a par with that of similar publications. Thirdly, the captions that accompany each featured design are often useless beyond stating the basic profile information for the designer. The additional descriptions lack a unifying style or even consistency in their presentation, and a great deal of them seem to be just casual musings or comments made about the designs by the creators, without including any useful information as to why the designs were created, why a particular style was chosen, what the requirements of the original project were, what the purpose of the design was, or why the featured design was ultimately rejected. In some cases, the descriptions even reference elements of the designs that are not present in their accompanying images. Likewise, this book is supposed to be a bilingual edition, with English featured as the main language and Spanish as the secondary one. Sadly, while the Spanish text mostly just needs a good editor, the English text is abysmal and almost incomprehensible (both because of conceptual and grammatical errors), and seemingly translated from the Spanish using an inferior online translator and a complete disregard of industry lingo, usage and style. The text is so deplorable that I could not find more than a smattering of error-free pages in the entire publication, which, given the prevalence of this issue, makes it not only highly distracting but also downright annoying. Lastly, although the book claims to feature "the work of both established and up-and-coming designers," it fails to mention that only a limited selection of designers and design studios is featured--not a very diverse showcase considering that this is only a 192-page book and each design usually takes up an entire page spread. And while a few of the featured designs are indeed interesting and appealing, both better examples and information about unpublished designs can be found for free online on a good design blog. Moreover, the disregard for consistency and standards of quality (for the issues mentioned above) for this publication will certainly make me wary of purchasing other books from this publisher. In short, this book is neither inspirational nor of much value for graphic designers, and it is perhaps the worst graphic design book I have come across in years in terms of content and production values. Considering all its shortcomings, I will definitely be returning it.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
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