Bob Gill - Words Into Pictures
I once saw the great Bob Gill deliver a lecture at the Art College here in Norwich. It was entertaining, inspirational and full of great advice and insight. Bob was warm, funny and loveable in a way that cantankerous and opinionated men of advanced years often are. He spoke in a rich, working-class Brooklyn accent and, whether taking questions or reminiscing about the good old days, he kept his audience absolutely transfixed throughout.
The thing that struck me most about his lecture was his contention that good graphic design is all about ideas – and not just about execution. I was struck by this mainly because most of the graphic design I seem to see is more concerned with form than it is with content. So while there is often an impressive use of colours, shapes and typography to create visually compelling images, there aren’t that many actual ideas. And I think that’s largely because many graphic designers these days aren’t actually thinkers. They’re doers – who too often simply follow prevailing trends and/or reference other designers’ work. Talented, yes. But lacking that genuine creative spark.
Gill’s Words Into Pictures is quite an unassuming volume that features, on every page, the name of something (a company, a product, a brand etc) made visually interesting. Whether it’s a preliminary doodle or a fully-fledged logo, what they all have in common is that they emerged from, and work as, a proper idea. And yes, some of them look a little dated, a little simple even – but it’s just so refreshing to see graphic design that is genuinely clever and interesting and so much more than just being good to look at. Oh, and because it features the work of other designers (including luminaries such as George Lois, Milton Glaser and Alan Fletcher) there’s a real variety throughout.
So if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration and want to be reminded of how clever, delightful and inventively simple great graphic design can be, buy this book now.£12.78 from Amazon.