Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Book About Design

Very few books appeal equally to the 8 and the 5 year old these days. Unless it is a toddler/pre-schooler favorite that they've both enjoyed being read to by an obsessed mom, it is unlikely that they'd have an extended book discussion of their favorites at this stage...

And then, every once in a while a book comes along that knock them both off their boots, making my  heart leap with joy. Like this set of three books here by Mark Gonyea, (who has become a household name over the last couple of weeks). These three books have been been read and read again several times in the last fortnight and it is not surprising to see its appeal.

A Book About Design: Complicated Doesn't Make It Good
by Mark Gonyea

Be it the cardinal ratio 1:3:9 or the receding cool colors, or the relative sizes for emphasis, Gonyea manages to get the point across with a few chosen words and a fantastic visual to go with it.

The simplicity of uncluttered design comes across loud and clear in this book. The spare words and simple visuals reiterate that a picture is worth a thousand words.

This book inspired the 8 year old to try out every concept from the ten chapters, making one card per concept, first thing on a Saturday morning. The 5 yo simply loved reading it over and over, picking up vocabulary, and comparing the cover image with the one inside of a similar nature.

Another Book About Design: Complicated Doesn't Make It Bad 
by Mark Gonyea

Following up on the previous book, Gonyea has managed to bring across a few more interesting concepts in design.

Starting with the big picture, it is nice to see how adding details changes the design. Foreground and background, negative and positive space are clearly shown. Yes, shown. With minimal words, and bold visuals, Gonyea has managed to show some tough concepts in visual art design.

The text is laced with humor - the one that struck the 5 yo as funny is the use of the term "personal space" in design where two elements are spaced apart to illustrate the point.

Sometimes sequels fall flat, seem weaker, but not in this case. After convincing us that complicated does not mean good in the previous book, he has set out to convince us that complicated isn't bad either.

That's the beauty of design, as we learn.

A Book About Color: A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists 
by Mark Gonyea

Starting with "Welcome to the Neighborhood", Gonyea introduces the Color Street with 6 houses - violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red. Then goes on to talk about primary colors and secondary colors.

Since most pre-schoolers know about primary and secondary colors anyway,  we don't have to stop here. The book talks about saturation, hues, color wheel, and the fact that cool colors recede and warm colors stand out, and projecting moods via bright bold colors and muted pastels.

Each chapter brings out an aspect of color theory in the most concise and elegant manner that even kids can appreciate.

All in all, three awesome books for all ages about design and color principles.

[image source: macmillan]
[author website:]

1 comment:

sathish said...

I did not realise I missed the review of these books..

Interesting idea to talk about design for kids.

Related Posts with Thumbnails