Not Your Typical (Boring) Product Design Book
I recently received a book from Chronicle Books on product design - an area of my profession with which I'm not too familiar. I have to admit that my first impression was, "Oh boy, another book crammed with photos of off-the-wall or otherwise unusable 'products' that only a few pretentious people can afford to have." Kind of harsh, I know.
I was so wrong...
Process - 50 Product Designs from Concept to Manufacture is a book by Jennifer Hudson and published by Laurence King and is full of great stuff - not just photos of products. Of course there's furniture and lamps in the book, but also a DVD recorder, a Bluetooth headset, and really cool fabric design. There are a LOT of chairs in the book, but they really are diverse and works of great art.
I guess the best thing about Process for me is that, with each of the 50 highlighted designers and pieces, the design process is shown, from sketches to production and to completed product. It is interesting to see the new, and sometimes unorthodox, technology used to produce these pieces. Check out the Tavalone table or the Ampora vase which is made by bees' honeycombs.
You will also see the $100 One Laptop Per Child Computer, by Yves Behar of fuseproject. (The final version of this computer doesn't have a hand-crank and all components serve a double-purpose - mainly for dirt and dust protection.) It's a great concept and an empowering endeavor.
Other designers showcased in Process are Marten Baas, Laura Birdsall, Patrick Jouin, and the ever-popular Karim Rashid.
Other than the $100 laptop, there are no prices listed for the products. Makes me wonder. However, since some of the products are one-offs or produced in limited quantities, I guess the 'call for prices' concept applies. I don't think the $100 computer is really that price, either.
Process is a good book and extremely educational. I think it would be a good thing for young artists-to-be to be exposed to. It will get their creative and imaginative juices flowing and hopefully will inspire them to continue on with the tradition. The book will, of course, also be inspiring to practicing product artisans as well as instructors. Heck, it may even be of interest to other visual communicators like me.