Typical typography books follow a format designers could probably navigate in their sleep. There’s an impressive intro from a well-known designer, a developed thesis or reason for the following selection, and by the end, one might even be convinced this is the future (if only of graphic design). Function, Restraint, and Subversion in Typography, however, is no typical typography book.
This book is no counterfeit watershed, no tired and self-serving synthesis, no declaration of the state of graphic design today. Instead, it is one of the many states of graphic design today. It’s a back to basics, black coffee, shot of whisky approach to type. Nothing is added that might detract from the message. Perhaps not surprisingly, ninety percent of the projects were not created for the louder faster brighter world of advertising. What’s inside is “culture”—designs for museums and art galleries, independent bookstores, schools, and art projects. J. Namdev Hardisty’s striking survey offers clarity, brevity, and wit through discernable isms: Brutalism, Modernism, and Minimalism. But please, don’t label it.
In the end, this book is simple. That is what makes it so extraordinary.
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