There's Nothing Funny About Design
160 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 6/1/2009
|"...no one has ever written about graphic design in quite this way. The title sounds more like a short story, and at times I found myself reading it as though it were a fictional exploration of a designer's consciousness. When I did, its energy, relentlessness, emotion, and abundance of detail made sense, as did its literary style. Barringer writes entertainingly and has a gift for intricate metaphor...Designers who enjoy ambitious writing will find plenty to admire...--From Rick Poynor's I.D. Magazine review of American Mutt Barks in the Yard (Emigre 68 )
By winning the 2008 Winterhouse Award for Design Writing, David Barringer firmly established himself as the freshest and most interesting writer on the subject. His articles, which have appeared in publications from Print to Emigre, are notable for his strong personal point of view, literary style, and even humor, not always attributes associated with writing about design. In this collection of essays, Barringer's first, he wonders why drug names have so many X's in them, ponders the rise of gory DVD covers, and ruminates on his father's business card collection, pythons, and the human skull--proving again and again that design is everywhere you look for it (but may not have seen), without the powerful magnifying lens of this talented and exciting observer and writer.
David Barringer is the author of the novels American Home Life and Johnny Red and the book of design criticism, Emigre 68: American Mutt Barks in the Yard (co-published by Emigre and Princeton Architectural Press). He has written for Emigre, I.D. magazine, Eye magazine, AIGA's Voice, Details, Mademoiselle, The American Prospect, Nerve, the Detroit Free Press, the ABA Journal, and many others. His writing has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes and the StorySouth Million Writers Award, has appeared in Looking Closer 5, Designing magazines, and Design Entrepreneurs, and has been recognized as notable in the Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and Best American Essays 2007.
Unlike many other critics of design, Barringer was not trained as a designer (went to U of Michigan for law and passed the bar in Michigan). Though hired as a writer for a UAW-Ford quarterly magazine, he quickly assumed all responsibilities of project coordination, photography, layout, and writing for the magazine there -- and learned about design. He is the designer of the quarterly magazine Opium.