Synopses & Reviews
Design touches virtually every aspect of our lives, imbuing the most humdrum of objects with meaning. In Toothpicks and Logos
, John Heskett illuminates a subject as vast and complex as human life itself, ranging from the earliest found implements in our history--the stick, the shell, the cupped hand--to modern advertising logos, software interfaces, and even the lowly toothpick.
Here is a truly groundbreaking book, one that will transform the way we think about design, revealing how integral it is to our daily lives, from the spoon we use to eat our breakfast cereal, to the car we drive to work in, to the medical equipment used to save lives. Design, Heskett writes, is one of the most basic expressions of what it is to be human--the reshaping of the environment to meet our needs and answer our desires, capturing both utility and aesthetics. Going beyond issues of style and taste, he describes how different cultures and individuals personalize objects--even simple objects, such as a toothpick, can have their design modified to suit the specific cultural behavior in different countries. Heskett examines architecture, multimedia, computers, software, and even the role of government in influencing design trends and he offers fascinating insights into how major companies such as Nokia, Ford, and Sony approach design. Finally, we are shown an exciting vision of what design can offer us in the future and especially its role in humanizing new technology.
Learned, thoughtful, and filled with lively examples, Toothpicks and Logos offers an entirely new slant on design, bringing clarity and insight to a sprawling and staggeringly complicated subject.
"In a notably lucid narrative rich in provocative examples, Heskett succinctly traces design's development from the earliest of technological breakthroughs to today's frenzied array of gadgets, graphics, and objects great and small, essential and frivolous. He goes beyond the classic duo of form and function to discuss utility and significance and to differentiate between the ephemeral and the enduring."--Booklist
"An ambitious overview of the concept of design.... Members of various design-related professions (graphic, interior, environmental, and industrial) will find this book of interest, but it will also prove rewarding for anyone interested in mass media, information glut, consumer buying habits, propaganda, ergonomics, and the cultural differences inherent in globalization."--Library Journal
John Heskett wants to transform the way we think about design by showing how integral it is to our daily lives, from the spoon we use to eat our breakfast cereal, and the car we drive to work in, to the medical equipment used to save lives. Design combines "need" and "desire" in the form of a practical object that can also reflect the user's identity and aspirations through its form and decoration. This concise guide to contemporary design goes beyond style and taste to look at how different cultures and individuals personalize objects. Heskett also reveals how simple objects, such as a toothpick, can have their design modified to suit the specific cultural behavior in different countries. There are also fascinating insights into how major companies such as Nokia, Ford, and Sony approach design. Finally, Heskett gives us an exciting vision of what design can offer us in the future, showing in particular how it can humanize new technology.
About the Author
John J. Heskett
is Professor of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. A world renowned commentator on design, he is the author of Industrial Design
, widely used as a basic textbook, and Philips: A Study of the Corporate Management of Design
. He has also contributed articles and essays to numerous magazines and anthologies, and regularly writes for ID
Table of Contents
1. What is Design?
2. Utility and Symbolism