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Next Book Club: Rant

It is official. Emigre’s Rant will be the next book for our Book Club. I encourage everybody (who’s interested) to get Rant and show those “cranky-old designers” that it’s not up to them only to write critically about design.

You can get Rant online through one of these two options:

- Amazon

- Emigre

And you might find it in bookstores with good Graphic Design collections.

The Guest Editor will be the lovely, and talented, Sam Potts. So expect some good head-scratchers.

This one should be a good one.

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PUBLISHED ON May.15.2003 BY Armin
pk’s comment is:

it's cheaper to buy the issue from amazon, btw.

On May.15.2003 at 04:11 PM
Sam’s comment is:

Hi, everyone, your tepid and intrepid moderator here. A couple of things to mention about this round of the Book Club.

1. It is a quick read. Only about 116 pages of generously leaded text to actually read, and some of those are blank. In fact, it is a magazine in book form, with ads in the back, no less. So, discussion will begin sooner than the time allotted for "The Cheese Monkeys." Like in 3-4 weeks is my estimate. Suggestions on the time needed to finish are welcome--enough to get hold of the thing, not so much that people who start early forget what they were going to say. Which leads to:

2. Do not worry about finishing on time. The discussion, as with many topics here, will roll over the course of the days. It may turn out that certain essays will set of more ranting than others, so latecomers can read the hot-button essays first and no one will know you're not prepared. You could even read the essays out of order--who would know? Go ahead, you crazy kid.

3. Someone please formulate a good defense why each essay is in a different typeface. I think this is a cheap design trick and contributes nothing to the meaning of a piece or the book as a whole. "It looks good" and "It's interesting" are unacceptable arguements unless you supply an actual reason. Corollary: Am I simply being pre-postmodern in my attitude? (Extra credit: compare/contrast the type chaos in "Rant" with the very excellent and witty change of face in "The Cheese Monkeys.") Ranters against type chaos will be known as "The Sagacious Ones."

4. I have not started reading yet (too busy loving every agonizing minute of this) but I'm planning to read with pencil in hand and I recommend the same for everyone. Then you can sell your copy like some famous person.

More as it occurs.



On May.15.2003 at 09:11 PM
brook’s comment is:

some thoughts on the typefaces.

i'm not sure that the chosen typefaces lend no meaning to each of the articles. i guarantee they were thoughtfully chosen. it is probably more just that they are "appropriate" choices for each article. if you have a novel set in 17th century france, you would, likely, choose a face that somehow references that time and location. why the chosen faces are appropriate in the emigre articles, i'd have to look at further. but since many of the articles are about the resurgence of lamo-modernism and are set in most-defintely post-mod emigre type... well there ya go.

and another obvious reason, especially for why it changes in each article, is that they are showcasing their products. and the fact that this is a collection of essays makes it ok (in my opinion) to change the type in each. if this were Wired and the type changed in each article, which it does, no one would be saying anything.

On May.16.2003 at 08:13 AM
Sam’s comment is:

Well put, Brook. Your point about the book being a showcase reminds us me that this is Emigre after all, though in the past it's usually been a one-face-per-issue showcase, at least for text.

Which raises the qestion, why publish it in paperback book form? And why, aside from the likely economic and distribution support, co-publish with Princeton Architectural Press? Is this issue supposed to be different?

I'm going to start reading, then return with some thoughts. The question of appropriate type choice is interesting--many ways to approach this. Not sure I agree with the French analogy.

Anyone else?

On May.16.2003 at 09:58 AM
armin’s comment is:

The main reason for different typefaces is, like Brook said, to showcase their fonts. I used to like how they would set each issue in a single typeface, but it would get a tad frustrating to read. Not that there has been anything to read in the last year or two.

As far as the choices that were made for each rant I do have my doubts as to why. Rick's Rant is set in Mrs. Eaves, Rick is anything but Mrs. Eaves, perhaps that's why. Shawn Wolfe's is set in Los Feliz, which is a great display face but a bitch to read, that stupid lowercase "p" always throws me off. I can see some sort of pattern, and decision making, in the choices but I don't think they are necessarily worth discerning so much.

>Which raises the qestion, why publish it in paperback book form?

I don't know what the thinking behind it was, but my personal reaction when I got it was "Wow, I'm going to look like one smart motherf***er reading this on the subway." I think the pocketbook format makes it more formal and serious. A little more "respectable." I dig it, yo.

>And why, aside from the likely economic and distribution support, co-publish with Princeton Architectural Press?

Exposure. When was the last (or first) time you could buy Emigre from Amazon? And, again, it adds importance to Emigre as a publication, it's not a self-published magazine anymore. It went from Rudy's basement (just exagerating, I'm sure they don't print it in his basement) to big warehouses.

>Is this issue supposed to be different?

I mean...yeah... it is the first Emigre in three years I have actually enjoyed. Or read.

On May.16.2003 at 10:52 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Hmm...116 pages? Maybe I can sneak into the bookstore for a few hours...

On May.16.2003 at 11:43 AM
brook’s comment is:

from the description at emigre:

"Rant also signals another transition in the format of Emigre, away from its recent incarnation as an aural/visual showcase magazine toward a return-to-roots series of "pocketbooks" focusing on critical writing about the state of graphic design. Anyone interested in contemporary design will want to put a copy of RANT in their pocket."

So the format switch is appropriate because there is now less emphasis on visuals, with the text and content taking front seat. I think switching-up formats keeps it fresh, though I'm sure we'll see a few more of the pocketbooks before they explore again.

On May.16.2003 at 01:08 PM
Sam’s comment is:

Update on the Reading Schedule

Hi kids,

I'll be posting questions for the book group on Monday, June 2. That's two weeks from today. Is that enough time for everyone? (I thought I would be finished reading by now, but am finding it hard to see through my fury and sputtering beyond two "essays" at a time.)

Some themes that are emerging, to consider:

1. Style

Several pieces discuss style and/or styles of design from different points of view. Modernism versus postmodernism and style versus content, for example. This is a whole other huge discussion, but please look for how the pieces lay some groundwork for discussing style.

2. Criticism / Theory

I would love to see any examples of theory actually popping up in this book, but I've yet to find any. Keep an ear out. Also, would you say that the various authors are engaging in criticism or are they instead simply criticizing?

3. Postmodernism

What is it, in your view? Is it over, as a period, a style, a philosophy? Was it ever any of these things? Is there a postmodernist legacy?

4. Pluralism

Some essays talk directly about this, some talk around it. In the end, what do you take away from the book on this point? Is a multitude of design styles a good thing, a thing to bemoan (as some in the book do), an outcome of postmodernism, or simply a technological inevitability?

5. Format

Should this collection even be a book? Does it fulfill its stated purpose (see Brook's comment, above)? Can you see a rationale for why these particular pieces were printed (other than that they are the usual Emigre suspects, with the possible exception of Helfand/Drenttel who are there to lend a dose of intellectualist cred, I suspect)?

How many times have you written "WHATEVER" in the margin? I'm up to at least twice per piece. Ugh.



On May.19.2003 at 12:07 PM
armin’s comment is:

I can't wait!

I may be exagerating it, but I'm on my second pass of the boo... pocketbook.

On May.22.2003 at 08:33 AM
Sam’s comment is:

Paraphrasing Hegel, surpassed only by quoting Heidegger, while elsewhere Bruce Mau is valued for being "unapologetically intellectual."

This isn't a book, it's a train wreck of nonsense. And I'm not sure Mr. Valicenti will escape either.

I'm not supposed to be impartial, am I?

On May.22.2003 at 04:11 PM
armin’s comment is:

>I'm not supposed to be impartial, am I?

Now, what fun would that be? Rip apart, my man, rip apart.

On May.22.2003 at 04:18 PM
anthony’s comment is:

my copy arrived from amazon moments ago. shiny.

On May.22.2003 at 05:24 PM