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The Art of Graphic Wit

I just have one question, when the hell does Steve Heller find the time to eat, sleep or even to go to the bathroom?

His latest book Design Humor: the art of graphic wit takes a look at designers that use wit, humor and their cleverness to deliver something more than a good looking project.

I flipped through it quickly at the bookstore and it’s a great book, illustrated in big part by James Victore and with comic references to people like Groucho Marx, this is a great resource for designers looking to add a little somethin’ to their projects. When I get back, I’m buying it.

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PUBLISHED ON Dec.21.2002 BY Armin
Sam’s comment is:

I am a graphic designer. Steven Heller writes about graphic design. Ergo, I should read his books. At least parts of em. But I don't. I do read a little about design, but more about typography specifically. Mostly what I have read of his seems very light.

My question is, who is Heller's audience? Would any non-designers read his essays? What insights have you, ye graphic designers, gotten from his work (rephrase: any specific recommendations)?

On Dec.23.2002 at 03:26 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

What makes me uneasy about Heller is simple: the quantity of his output, which results in the "lightness" you describe. For example, his book about the Swastika didn't seem to contain any deep, ambivalent analysis: it was mostly examples of monkeys holding swastikas, ending in the too-convenient conclusion: "this symbol is beyond salvation". Some people feel the same way about blackletter type, but it's too easy to be so cavalier.


On Dec.23.2002 at 05:10 PM
mark’s comment is:

sounds interesting

barnes and nobles is having a online sale...

On Dec.26.2002 at 09:34 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>My question is, who is Heller's audience?

I think there is no doubt who the audience is, it's designers. Whether you choose to read them or not doesn't change that fact. Maybe advertisers or copywriters would be a secondary target audience.

>What insights have you, ye graphic designers, gotten from his work

Maybe Heller's books aren't meant to change your whole life, but are published more with the intention of bringing light to all sorts of design topics. I have learned a lot from his books.

>What makes me uneasy about Heller is simple: the quantity of his output, which results in the "lightness" you describe.

I agree, there is lightness to his books, and it is a consequence from the huge quantity of published material. But here is how I see it: Heller is jelly and the various topics he writes about are bread, he looks for as much bread as he can and he just puts a small dab of jelly to present it to the readers, instead of smearing it with loads of jelly, like other writers who are more interested in hearing themselves talk than letting the subject talk by itself. I know, it's a weird analogy, but what the hell, I've been eating too much turkey and chocolate. And it's the holidays.

I enjoy Heller's books, they bring topics that would otherwise remain undiscussed by designers (Cuba, swastika, tiny mannequins) and I appreciate what he brings to each and every book he publishes.

On Dec.27.2002 at 11:14 AM
Jon’s comment is:

Many of his books spring from his and his wife's (Louise Fili) personal collections of various design ephemera. The country-by-country art deco books they put out are essentially catalogs of their own possessions.

On Dec.27.2002 at 11:47 AM