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Designing Programmes [Hardcover]

By Karl Gerstner & Paul Gredinger (Introduction by)
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Item description for Designing Programmes by Karl Gerstner & Paul Gredinger...

Karl Gerstner's work is a milestone in the history of design. One of his most important works is Designing Programmes, which is presented here in a new edition of the original 1964 publication. In four essays, the author provides a basic introduction to his design methodology. Instead of set recipes, the method suggests a model for design in the early days of the computer era.

The intellectual models it proposes, however, continue to be useful today. What it does not purvey is cut-and-dried, true-or-false solutions or absolutes of any kind - instead, it develops fundamental principles in an innovative and future-oriented way. The book is especially topical and exciting in the context of current developments in computational design, which seem to hold out the possibility of programmed design. With many examples from the worlds of graphic and product design, music, architecture, and art, it inspires the reader to seize on the material, develop it further, and integrate it into his or her own work.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   120
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 7.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 14, 2007
Publisher   Lars Müller Publishers
ISBN  3037780932  
ISBN13  9783037780930  

Availability  0 units.

More About Karl Gerstner & Paul Gredinger

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Grafikdesigner und K??nstler, gr??ndete 1959 zusammen mit Markus Kuttner die Agentur Gerstner + Kuttner, der sp??teren legend??ren Agentur GGK, die Auftr??ge f??r VW, Ford, Swissair, Nestle oder IBM gestalteten. Sp??ter arbeitete er alleine weiter und entwarf Corporate Identities u.a. f??r Swissair, Burda, Ringier oder Langenscheidt.

Karl Gerstner was born in 1930.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Designing Programmes?

A very mixed bag  Jan 8, 2008
Although this edition came out in 2007, much of its substance derives from the original 1964 edition. That sat as close to the Swiss School of typography and Bauhaus era as to our own, maybe closer, and it shows. Much of this text comes across with the same strident certainty of those streams of thought, but without the adolescent braggadaccio. Still, much remains worthwhile to today's designer, so let's start there.

First, as you'd expect, the typography is lucid and legible. Pages have clean, airy layout, and graphics express their concepts with minimal fuss. Typesetting uses a font of the author's own design, a sanserif with warm character. I could fault it for a few things, the digit "8" in particular, and creation of the italic through a simple geometric tilt rather than a rethinking of the emphasis and letterforms. Still it reads comfortably and gives distinctive timbre to the author's voice. Even page numbering is unique without being annoying. Only lack of an index truly mars the book's design.

At the back, exercises with gray or colored gradients suggest useful and playful explorations of many kinds. And, as a computing geek, I applaud many of Gerstner's examples of algorithmic development and combinatorial thoroughness. Some of his tools, based on Fritz Zwicky's boxes but owing equally to Ramon Lull's layered disks, can help anyone break a creative logjam through systematic exploration of a design space.

But, although Gerstner uses the combinatoric tools of the mathematician, he wields them clumsily. For example, p.13 presents a family of related graphic elements, and asserts that the 16 can be combined three at a time in 560 distinct ways. Well, that would be true, except that pattern #5 would obscure #6 completely, #10 would hide #11 and #12, and #9 would hide #8. Although there are 560 possible combinations, there are far fewer visibly different combinations. Another combinatorial exercise blandly assumes that all design elements are distinguishable (as in "a-d-b-e-c"). It would enumerate quite differently if elements could be reused (as in "a-c-b-b-c"). His computer poetry is quaintly naive and, like Kandinsky, he equates graphic elements to sounds in a way that can only be a personal quirk or flaw in translation. In the end, Gerstner throws in the towel on the unguided exercise in permutations and combinations: "... it is difficult to design something as complex as font families that are not only new, but also innovative. Despite all the best programmatic efforts, it is probably impossible." Even though programming and hardware have advanced far beyond anything dreamt in this book, I have to agree. Foreseeable decades do not include obsolescence of human artistry, no matter what mechanical tools support it.

Gerstner's book is interesting and potentially helpful. It tries to summon the strength of mathematical formalisms in design, but does so without the rigor that gives math its strength. Still, it offer ideas that can kick-start a stalled creative session, and shows that even simple elements offer combinatorial richness - a happy escape from complexity imposed from without.

-- wiredweird
Interesting read, translation and picture quality poor  Dec 4, 2007
Gerstner's tome, Designing Programmes has developed a cult-like following and Lars Mueller wisely chose to reprint it. First editions sell upwards of 700-800 and this makes it out of reach for most. I was excited to see this book reprinted.

I have a German edition and have used it as a reference, translating my own to English. This is an area where I am let down; when reading the translation in this edition, it does not flow smoothly and reads ambiguously in parts. A lot of text could have been cut out or better written for a more succinct read.

Another area of disappointment is the picture quality: There are blurred photos, type with jagged edges, pixel edges on some photos, and errant dot patterns. It appears as if the original material was not used to produce this edition, instead scanning in or photographing pre-screened images.

Despite these short comings, I believe it is a valuable book to own for any educator, student or practicing designer. Gerstner takes the reader through a logical and step-by-step process of solution, or program development to design problems.

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