New American Design

Hugh Aldersey Williams, Author, Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Author, William Aldersey, Author Rizzoli International Publications $37.5 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8478-0992-9
This survey profiles several of the most promising graphic and industrial designers working today: Tom Bonauro, Lucille Tenazas, Mike Nuttall, etc. Two pages of text, based on conversations with designers from each group, and four to six pages of reproductions are devoted to each of 21 firms. Aldersey-Williams, contributing editor to Industrial Design magazine, shows contemporary design to be increasingly witty, eclectic, expressionistic and technologically advanced, as he highlights the major concerns of the designers discussed. The industrial designers included here emphasize ergonomics (biotechnology) and product semantics (how form indicates function) and the search for an American vernacular; graphic designers express a tendency toward a synthetic conceptualism. In both areas, the impact of computer technology is considered significant. The author's decision to combine graphic and industrial design in one volume mirrors a trend away from specialization, and his introductory overview of the cultural conditions that led to the present design climate is informative. While the work depicted sometimes fails to be as boldly original as the designers indicate, almost all of it is beautiful and extremely sophisticated, making the book a pleasure to browse through. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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