Communication Design Insights from the Creative Industries – book review

Written by Derek Yates and Jessie Price

Published by Bloomsbury ISBN: 978147429257

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster

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Content

This book will be useful for students of design, some academics and people interested in communication design. The insights come direct from the creative industries through a range of interviews, case studies and clear examples of creative outputs. The interviews are shaped as part of the editorial rather than in a Q&A format, and this is very effective at times, but perhaps the more conventional system would bear more fruit. The case studies come from Europe or US based companies in the main. However, hearing from voices further afield might have challenged some of the orthodoxy presented here. There is much stress on how communication design is increasingly a collaborative exercise, touching upon new areas of human innovation. Communication Designers are continuing to share in the discourse of where we are going next as a species.

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Design

The design of the book will appeal to undergraduate students who may try to emulate the look and feel of the publication. Both authors are fully aware of current academic disciplines and the look that appeals to undergrads. I have reviewed Bloomsbury publications before and the design hierarchy is a little off putting for me. Captions that look like body copy (the size of text used throughout the book is somewhat oversized) and the odd small image inserted into a page without clear reference or meaning attached to it.

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Philosophical Stance

Using the currency of the terms ‘Conversation,’ ‘Participation’ and ‘Advocacy’ as chapter headings places this publication firmly in the worlds of social design and co-design. There is certainty on how design works right now, but less clarity about where it could be heading. The impression given is of forecasting through looking back at the last 15 years of communication design.

Pedagogy

This book in its design and layout is reader friendly and seeks to inspire student readers in three main ways:

1. The top of each right hand page shows the navigation of the chapter indicating the flow of information to encourage the reader to continue reading with expectations

2. There is a really useful Search section next to each subheading showing links for further reading

3. The case studies and interviews are fun and have a light touch. There is a positive message coming from them despite the many challenges faced by some of the designers featured

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Conclusion

This book can be used to guide design students through the arguments, practices and game changers in communication design. It will also help them to understand what is happening out in industry and provide them with inspiration for further reading and research. Yates and Price have written a useful book that attempts to go beneath the surface of a subject that is all too often the representative of surface. They are gauging the world as it is but also what it might someday become for future graduates.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Sustainable Graphic Design Principles & Practices

Thinking Visually for Illustrators

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