Schüll (MIT) adds greatly to the scholarly literature on problem gambling with this well-written book. She begins by tracing the spectacular growth of machine gambling over the last several decades to where it now stands as the dominant gambling form in the US. Applying an anthropological perspective, the author focuses especially on the Las Vegas gambling industry, seeing many of today's avid machine gamblers as less preoccupied with winning than with maintaining themselves in the game, playing for as long as possible, and entering into a trance-like state of being, totally enmeshed psychologically into gaming and totally removed from the ordinary obligations of everyday life. Schüll examines the micro-world of the machine gambler as a society unto itself, from its machine designers to its casino owners and other entrepreneurs who serve those who play the machines. The author conducted participant observations with the gamblers as they gambled and as they sought help in Gamblers Anonymous. She interviewed people at all points in this society. The book offers a most compelling and vivid picture of this world. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.
Although the art world is replete with titles on Warhol (1928-87), new ones rarely seem to deplete the fecund pool, as he and his art, while superficially apparent to some, remain elusive, mysterious, open-ended, and challenging. It is hard to imagine that it has been some 17 years since his death, for his ideas and his presence are so embedded in our culture that they are often taken for granted and we forget that he is not alive. The introduction by museum director Thomas Sokolowski sets the tone for what is to follow, describing a "take" in making a film or referring to "a specific mental reaction or vested viewpoint on a given subject." Warhol explored many media; his work is complex, and this book is nontraditional and open-ended. We are encouraged to flip through the 365 Takes, to rearrange them, and visit the Museum. After the introduction, there is a short chronology of Warhol's life and then each Take--text with a single background color, a Warhol quote or something related to the Warhol art reproduced in color on the facing page. Lists of museum staff; photographic credits. Well made, attractive, fun, and very reasonably priced. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty.
Outstanding Academic Title
Many existing books on game design are very difficult for undergraduate and even graduate students to read. Sometimes when this reviewer asks his students what they have learned from a certain chapter or how this material is applicable to game design, they have difficulties with an answer. The Art of Game Design is a step toward making game design an interesting field with direct applications to real projects. The reader familiar with other works will find this one a valuable resource that discusses all stages of game development, the role of game content, and game play strategies. Additionally, Schell (entertainment technology, Carnegie Mellon Univ.) provides valuable insight into game design from the point of view of software engineering--an aspect that is often overlooked in other sources. Perhaps the key advantage of this book over other sources is the presentation of material. The well-organized text will be an enjoyable, effective read for students at all levels. The diagrams support the key points of the book. As opposed to choices made by many other authors, the images and graphics are very relevant to the text and quite informative. Generally speaking, this is one of the best game design course resources currently on the market. Summing Up: Essential. All collections.
King offers a historical review of movie posters from throughout the world. The posters represent a great collection of design styles, whether they ultimately advertised classic movies or more obscure films. The author does a good job of describing the artwork and typography so as to explain the intent of the designers. Her level of knowledge of the subject matter is impressive and reflects considerable research. The text occasionally relates one poster to another with no easy way to index the latter for immediate comparison. Overall, a well-written and informative book--but the visual imagery of the poster reproductions steals the show! Appropriate for education in graphics design and for aficionados of this specific genre of graphic design. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty; two-year technical program students.
In a series of essays written over the course of a career in what he calls the "information motion media industry" (a term he never defines), Shelton analyzes the communication processes of film, television, and multimedia and offers his own theories--including his premise that "the message is the message." This is not a production book, though it offers models of scripts and storyboards. Rather, the author focuses on how media producers can optimize their conveyance of ideas. Sections on multimedia production design are useful. Shelton's failure to explain what he means by "information motion media industry" is a stumbling block, though readers will eventually understand that this often means industrial video and film (i.e., promotional and informational media for corporate or governmental interests). Also problematic: many references are old. For instance, a study he says was conducted "a few years ago" is in fact 25 years old. And his "classic documentary film" list, which he admits is incomplete and subjective, is myopic, including as it does masterpieces of the genre (among which he includes an informational film he produced for the US Navy) but omitting groundbreaking filmmakers (Frederick Wiseman, Michael Moore) and contemporary works (the most recent entry is from 1989). Summing Up: Not recommended for academic collections.
These 94 essays describe both little-known artifacts and recognizable icons that span 20th-century design in the West. Each essay is accompanied by a small, black-and-white photographic example of the object or design. The essays are not chronologically arranged but divided into eight themes: persuasion, media (the largest with 26 essays), language, identity, information (the shortest with only three essays), iconography, style, and commerce. The authors have neglected to include any design or designers from the East; perhaps their intention is to produce a follow-up volume. The essays are short but highly readable and informative, usually focusing on one object and providing some interesting insights into the object's creation and impact. Students of graphic design history will find appealing analysis and critical points of view to consider. Design Literacy will appeal to both the general reader, whose curiosity may be piqued by recognizing some of our most famous icons, and professionals/practitioners, whose knowledge and sensitivity to design may be heightened by these thoughtful essays. General; undergraduate (including two-year technical program) through professional. This review refers to an earlier edition.
An informed, visual overview of the current state of illustration design in the US, featuring interviews with 43 illustrators, designers, and art directors. Each four- to six-page interview includes a brief biography and well-printed black-and-white and color photos of the work. Individual comments and personal criticisms provide a refreshing and candid look at the styles and techniques of contemporary illustration. Of particular interest to this reviewer are the prefatory opinions by Heller, who has promoted and written much about design and design history; these provide crucial insights into the long-neglected definition of illustration. Heller's selection of established and midcareer artists and designers represents the broad range of traditional and experimental styles currently popular in US design. The short introduction traces the history of illustration from the mid-19th century to the present and includes comments on the influence of the camera and the application of photographs in advertising. Parallels are also drawn between the rise of the illustrated image and the impact of dominant 20th-century art movements on illustration. Highly recommended to colleges, universities, and art schools that have professional programs in design as well as in fine arts.
Krug's popular book on web usability is now in its third edition (2nd ed., 2005; 1st ed., 2000), featuring new examples and a chapter on mobile applications. The title says it all: users should not have to think when navigating a website. Usability consultant and educator Krug (Advanced Common Sense) contends that any ambiguity in navigation or links will frustrate users. He stresses the importance of doing usability tests to help solve design issues and that usability testing can be done on a small scale. Like its predecessor, this edition's chapters are divided into four sections. The first section, "Guiding Principles," covers the basics of usability. The second section, "Things You Need to Get Right," addresses the importance of good navigation and the importance of the home page. The third section, "Making Sure You Got Them Right," focuses on usability testing. The final section, "Larger Concerns and Outside Influences," touches on mobile considerations, accessibility, and how to convince one's boss to do usability studies. This is an enjoyable read with a friendly, conversational tone, providing readers a good perspective on usability. Valuable for anyone involved in the creation of user interfaces. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.
Heller (School of Visual Arts) is an accomplished author and editor of books in graphic design. This new edition (1st ed., 1998), however, is not a clear improvement on the original. Although some 40 essays have been added, only a few meet the quality of those from the first edition, of which all but three have been reprinted. The most notable additions are contributions by Kenneth Hiebert ("Legacy of a 1960s Credo"); Meredith Davis ("What Is 'Professional' about Professional Education?"); Richard Hollis ("Principles before Style"); Andrew Blauvet ("Remaking Theory, Rethinking Practice"); Marty Neumeier ("Who's Afraid of the Big Brand Wolf?"); and Heller's own "The Case for Critical History." Sacrificed in this edition is the section "How I Learned What I Learned," consisting of interviews with Milton Glaser, April Greiman, and Michael Vanderbyl, among other prominent designers. The section "How I Teach What I Teach" is retained in its original form, despite its having been expanded into another Allworth book in 2003, Teaching Graphic Design: Course Offerings and Class Projects from the Leading Graduate and Undergraduate Program, ed. by Heller. Acquire as a supplement rather than as a replacement for the original. Summing Up: Optional. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through graduate students; professionals.
Gobé (president and CEO of an international brand image creation firm) explores the qualitative elements required to connect with one's customers through emotional branding. Beginning with an examination of marketing in the new millennium, the author introduces the title concept in relation to numerous key segments in today's consumer arena, including age, subculture, and gender-based groups. The second part of his analysis illustrates the use of all five senses in branding, incorporating a range of interesting, current examples in each case. Part 3 builds on the first two parts, investigating emotion as a tool in branding, retailing, packaging, and advertising. Finally, Gobé offers recipes for the successful use of emotional branding in cyberspace and beyond, including trends for the future. The book itself is highly readable, with thought-provoking photographs as well as verbal descriptions underscoring the major points. It is well suited for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and faculty. It may also inject a fresh perspective for practitioners eager for a new paradigm. This review refers to an earlier edition.
Designated as a third edition, this encyclopedia is actually the fourth incarnation of this work--the first edition was an expansion of a book titled Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoon Series (CH, Dec'81). This new volume expands on independent scholar Lenburg's seminal work on the topic. Drawing information from trade and production publications, independent reviews and articles, commercial vendors, and nonprofit repositories, this one-volume opus attempts to document thoroughly every animated cartoon ever made. The book is divided into sections titled "Silent Cartoon Series," "Theatrical Sound Cartoon Series," "Full-Length Animated Features," "Animated Television Specials," and "Television Cartoon Series." Each entry includes series history, voice credits, production/broadcast year, and filmographies. Although the breadth and depth are impressively exhaustive, the lens is definitely American, so despite examples of international productions, the emphasis is on cartoons available in the US and in the English language. Additionally, cartoons produced explicitly for educational purposes and commercials are excluded. Still, this new edition, which offers the most complete coverage on the topic of animated cartoons, should be included in all collections supporting research in animation, film, American studies, art, and history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers.
This book combines beauty and edginess with its blend of four-color ads, groundbreaking campaigns, and how-to narrative. Part of the "AVA Fundamentals" series of art and design books (e.g., The Fundamentals of Marketing by Edward Russell, CH, May'10, 47-5122), it puts the reader right in the middle of the creative advertising process. Step by step, the chapters outline the formation of an ad campaign: evaluating media options, carrying out campaign planning and strategy, and developing the creative concept. From utilizing traditional advertising media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, to low-cost, high-impact "guerrilla advertising" techniques, the authors (all, Southampton Solent Univ., UK) cover all the bases. The design aspects of typography, copy elements, logos, and layout are not only explained but also illustrated, bringing the whole process together. Some of the advertisers represented include VW, Honda, Virgin Atlantic, Sony, Dr. Pepper, Cadbury, London Transport, and Heinz. Designed for both advertising professionals and students, the book can be used as a reference guide or text. Its artful presentation of print and illustrations makes for a pleasurable reading experience. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division and graduate marketing and design students, faculty, and practitioners.
This second edition (1st ed., 2006), beautifully designed by Ambrose, is updated in both content and images. The book serves as a "source of typographical information with which informed design choices can be made" and also can serve as a textbook for design students. Included is a quick overview of the history of typography, type and design terminology, measuring systems, the use of different letterforms, and how to do layouts of single words and text. Numerous illustrations of the use of type in design--from books to architecture--are featured. Each chapter comes with a case study and a typographic assignment. This book stands out from other typography or design books because of a certain European "cool" or hip factor. Ambrose is a practicing graphic designer who has done work for Elle and Christie's, and coauthor Harris has written widely on graphic design. This volume is as current as it can be, given the dizzying changes in technology and the evolving platforms for delivering text. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates, two-year technical program students, practitioners, and general readers.
This second edition (1st ed., 2006) of Fundamentals of Game Design, which is itself based on the classic Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design (2003), contains significant additions, ranging from coverage of Scrum agile development to recent innovations in user interfaces. Like its predecessor, this work by Adams, an independent game designer, instructor, and writer, focuses on the commercial application of game design instead of taking an academic or engineering approach. The book is formatted into two parts. The first covers game design fundamentals, while the second details special design considerations for each genre. Because of the dynamism of the video game industry, owners of the first edition will find that the updates justify a new purchase. Those new to game design, students, instructors, and industry professionals will find a wealth of information and invaluable tips. In addition, the publisher's Web site provides instructor resources to accompany the book. A familiarity with popular video games is strongly advised. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels of undergraduates, graduate students, and two-year technical program students in game design and development programs, researchers/faculty, and professionals/practitioners.This review refers to an earlier edition.
The free-to-play phenomenon has changed the video-game landscape and directly impacted how games are designed. In Games as a Service, Clark addresses this with the game designer in mind and emphasizes design over monetization. The book is packed with useful information, and it includes extensive footnotes and references. Each chapter ends with helpful exercises that reinforce the presented material and a companion website aggregates relevant articles, news, and blogs. Though it may not go into as much technical detail as Will Luton's Free2Play: Making Money from Games You Give Away (2013), Clark's book does provide a solid foundation for game designers new to the free-to-play business model. It is also a handy reference for established professionals. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, including those in community colleges; faculty; professionals; general readers.
One in a series of reference tools written and edited by Gardner for students and amateur users of computer graphic, animation, digital video, and multimedia production software, GCGAD provides brief descriptions of software tools and computer peripherals, but very few illustrations. It is not intended for the developers, creators, or programmers of graphics and animation software applications. Definitions, alphabetically arranged, precede a list of contributing companies and a short bibliography. According to Gardner, CGCAD was designed to provide students and working professionals with definitions of terms, phrases, and acronyms related to software programs and to technical and nontechnical production language. Because graphics and animation software are continuously upgraded, most computer graphics dictionaries published in the 1990s are now out of date. One can purchase this condensed resource to update a computer graphics collection or select a more complete, dual-platform CD-ROM source, Computer Graphics Dictionary, ed. by Roger T. Stevens (2002). For libraries with limited budgets, more than 100 Web-based glossaries present accurate definitions of computer graphics and animation-related terms; e.g., About http://www.about.com/fullsearch.htm, Wow Web Designs http://www.wowwebdesigns.com, or Webopedia http://www.webopedia.com. Summing Up: Optional. General readers; lower-division undergraduates.
Outstanding Academic Title
This second edition (1st ed., CH, Jan'08, 45-2413) is one of the best accounts of the history of graphic design from the late 19th century to the present currently published in English. This new edition features one new chapter, expanded sections, revised text, and new images. Both this volume by Eskilson (Eastern Illinois Univ.), and Patrick Cramsie's The Story of Graphic Design (CH, Oct'10, 48-0660) are considered the preferred reference works and texts in many design programs. Meggs' History of Graphic Design (2012; 1st ed., CH, Oct'83), now in its fifth edition, with Alston Purvis as coauthor with the late Philip Meggs, is also in the conversation, but in this reviewer's opinion the Cramsie and the Eskilson works are on a level of their own. So how does one choose between them? Eskilson has more and larger illustrations, is better produced, and is extremely thorough. Cramsie is perhaps more affordably priced for students. Cramsie also covers the pre-1800 period, including the important classical and Renaissance periods, in more detail before turning to the 1800s; Eskilson, on the other hand, includes a very brief survey of the pre-19th century. Libraries should definitely have both these books, along with Meggs. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.
Outstanding Academic Title
This is truly a superb contribution to the history of graphic design. For two decades, since the first histories were published and graphic design history was established as an academic subject, connoisseurship has dominated. Emulating the somewhat distant past of art history, a graphic design history was written as a series of appreciations--a biography of a famous individual, illustrations of several works, and a gloss of those works; then this process was repeated. This book by two graphic designers definitively moves the history of graphic design to a cultural and social context that has been missing from most previous books. Context is the essence here, so much so that the book does not call itself what it has become--a history, superbly designed and illustrated with more than 2,000 images. Some teachers may not use this volume as a textbook because of its cultural approach and emphasis on practice; chronology is easier to teach than culture. Nevertheless, this is the way one should learn about graphic design history: by examining the work of graphic designers, but also by understanding the contributions of practice, resources, identity, letterforms, magazines, sources of online knowledge, outstanding colleges and universities, authors, and more. A beautiful book for everyone. Summing Up: Essential. All levels.
Intended to fill a special niche--"a broad, practical art and design reference text ... simple in scope and weighing less than ten pounds"--this slender paperback covers a wide variety of terms likely to be used in undergraduate art classes, historical ("Armory Show," "Ashcan School") to technical ("metamerism," "pellicle"). Given the scope, covering broadly both art and design, Edwards (Pratt Institute) edits close to the bone, covering only some 640 words and phrases. About 25 percent of entries have internal cross-references, but there is no guide to pronunciation. The layout is clean and easy to use: terms in boldface to the left, definition or explanation to the right. Recognizing the limitations of a black-and-white volume, Edwards takes special care with terms involving color. The 50 illustrations display only one error, the caption for the stenciled frieze. Edwards includes a brief bibliography of standard art reference tools. The publisher intends this book to supplement textbooks, not for libraries. Summing Up: Optional. General readers; lower-division undergraduates.
These two books from Yale University Press are indispensable. The history of graphic design is a story still being shaped. The first important contribution was Philip B. Meggs's A History of Graphic Design (CH, Oct'83). Since that time, there have been important books by Steven Heller, Ellen Lupton, Gunnar Swanson, and others. These works paint a picture of graphic design as it emerged from its infancy in the 20th century and grew into an important cultural force. Using an amalgamation of printing technology, art, and new notions of information theory and mass communication, graphic designers have arguably influenced the look of Western societies more profoundly than fine artists.
Remington (Rochester Institute of Technology) traces the development of the self-awareness that changed "commercial art" into graphic design. Although modernist design was prevalent well into the 1980s and one might have hoped that he would have extended his book into that decade, he admirably covers the important players in the story of its development. Poyner, founder of Eye and a regular columnist for Print, picks up the tale in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to the present. Poyner's book is arranged by topic--"Origins," "Deconstruction," "Appropriation," "Techno," "Authorship," "Opposition"--rather than chronologically. Although this organization is perfectly suited to postmodernism, it does cause a disjuncture between his book and Remington's, which is conventionally chronological by decade. But this is not the time to nitpick: both books are beautifully printed and bound, lavishly illustrated, comprehensive, and important. Together, they provide the bedrock for the design history on which future building blocks will be based. Summing Up: Both--highly recommended. All levels.
With a few exceptions--e.g., Alexander Binns's "Looking and Listening: Music and Sound as Visual Trope in Ukiyo-e" and Mingmei Yip's "Music in Social and Artistic Context: Women Qin Players"--the 44 essays in this collection are written from a Western (Eurocentric) perspective. Geographically, the book covers Europe, North America, and parts of Asia and the Middle East; representatives from Latin America and Africa are noticeably absent. Treating the most modern topics, Jan Butlers's "Album Art and Posters: The Psychedelic Interplay of Rock Art and Art Rock" and Abigail Woods's "Urban Soundscapes: Hearing and Seeing Jerusalem" present fascinating cutting-edge material. The editors' expertise--Shephard (Univ. of Sheffield) is a musicologist, Leonard (Univ. of Chicago) an art historian--translates into a focus on 18th- and 19th-century cultural audio/visual studies, a familiar concept but handled here in a forward-thinking way, especially in terms of iconography. This book will be a useful comparative text in film studies, composition, and performance arts. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
Although the title of this diverse compilation establishes it as a sequel to the editor's First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game (CH, Oct'04, 42-0713), Harrigan (freelance writer) and Wardrip-Fruin (communication, Univ. of California, San Diego) take this book in a significantly different direction. Whereas First Person showcased a rich debate regarding the often-contentious relationship between story and game structures in new-media criticism, the present title focuses on the interrelationship between role-playing and storytelling in tabletop game systems, computer games, and real-world game events, and it includes some illuminating statements from the designers of popular examples in each category. Although these three sections organize the volume overall, the mix of histories, theories, reflections, and analyses offered in each section makes this collection less coherent than its predecessor. However, following from the title's focus on an engaged, second-person "you," the book's variety invites meaningful reader participation and exemplifies that the current media landscape is a demanding, complex environment of multiple texts and contexts. Despite such diversity, the book's contributions are too culturally specific, privileging Western cultural histories and examples. Perhaps another sequel should confront this. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.
This is a scholarly, in-depth study of an important aspect of museum exhibitions today--the use of film, video, computers, and interactive displays as educational (and promotional) tools. Griffiths (Baruch College, CUNY), an acknowledged expert in the field, traces the history of technology in museums, the visual spectacle, and the total immersion experience from panoramas and planetariums through IMAX to major installations using the new technology, such as Can Man Survive? at the American Museum of Natural History. Focused largely on science and natural history museums, the book is valuable for those interested in art and history museums as well. It touches on a host of issues large and small--from museum stores, gallery seating, and gender differences among visitors to the continuing debate among professionals about the balance between the original object and the installation "furniture" presenting it, and how (and whether) people learn from museum display. The discussion is extremely well documented, with an extensive bibliography and dozens of useful black-and-white illustrations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners. This review refers to an earlier edition.
Outstanding Academic Title
Most people are oblivious to them, but synthetic worlds are everywhere and most likely populated by people one knows but would never suspect. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) account annually for hundreds of millions of dollars in software purchases, monthly subscriptions, secondary sales, and related goods--all on the player side of consumption. Add in the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on game development, advertising, and distribution of online games and one begins to understand the enormous, worldwide economic impact of this rapidly growing industry. Castronova (economics, California State Univ., Fullerton) makes an excellent contribution to the growing literature on video games and video game culture. He skillfully educates readers about online gamers and places them contextually within the industry, which feeds their desires to populate, govern, and control economic structures of fantasy worlds. Castronova understands that online gaming is more than distraction or entertainment, and he also explores some of the adverse affects on the millions of people who spend countless hours on online gaming. Castronova is no stranger to MMORPGs and his personal experiences with online gaming contribute significantly to this study and recommend it as part of any core collection on the cultural and economic impact of video games. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.
This book by Malamed, a consultant, is both welcome and frustrating. Graphic design, as a discipline, needs books that develop theory. The two most relevant theoretical areas are semiotics and visual perception. Malamed supplies needed background in visual perception, devoting part 1 to basic visual perception and cognition research, and part 2 to application of principles of design. The problem is that both sections lack sufficient detail to give anything but cursory coverage of the subject. Amply illustrated in color, with graphic design that tends to be limited to information graphics, the book is valuable for pointing out important aspects of visual perception; however, the principles drawn from these are too simplistic (e.g., "Reduce Realism" or "Make the Abstract Concrete"). The volume is good as far as it goes, but one wishes for a more in-depth treatment even if removal of some of the lavish illustrated examples were necessary. This book will be extremely valuable for secondary schools and technical colleges, but only marginally effective in four-year undergraduate programs, and of little value to graduate students and researchers. Still, it is one of the few works on the subject and therefore a useful addition. Summing Up: Recommended. Two-year technical program students, lower-level undergraduates, and general readers.