The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher is a primer in visual intelligence, an exploration of the workings of the eye, the hand, the brain and the imagination.
It is an inexhaustible mine of anecdotes, quotations, images, curious facts and useless information, oddities, serious science, jokes and memories, all concerned with the interplay between the verbal and the visual, and the limitless resources of the human mind.
Loosely arranged in 72 chapters, all this material is presented in a wonderfully inventive series of pages that are themselves masterly demonstrations of the expressive use of type, space, colour and imagery.
The Art of Looking Sideways does not set out to teach lessons, but it is filled with wisdom and insight collected from in all places the world.
Describing himself as a visual jackdaw, master designer Alan Fletcher has distilled a lifetime of experience and reflection into a brilliantly witty and inimitable exploration of such subjects as perception, color, pattern, proportion, paradox, illusion, language, alphabets, words, letters, ideas, creativity, culture, style, aesthetics and value.
The Art of Looking Sideways is the ultimate guide to visual awareness, a magical compilation so that you can entertain and inspire all those who enjoy the interplay between word and image, and who relish the strange and the unexpected.
“Alan Fletcher’s The Art of Looking Sideways is an absolutely bizarre and inexhaustible “guide to visual awareness,” a virtually indescribable concoction of anecdotes, quotes, images, and strange facts that offers a wonderfully twisted vision of the chaos of modern life. Fletcher is a renowned designer and art director, and the joy of The Art of Taking a look Sideways lies in its beautiful design. Loosely arranged in 72 chapters with titles like “Colour,” “Noise,” “Chance,” “Camouflage,” and “Handedness,” Fletcher’s book, which he describes as “a journey without a destination,” is “a collection of shards” that captures the sensory overload of a world that simply contains too much information. In one typical section, entitled “Civilization,” the reader encounters six Polish flags designed to represent the world, a photograph of an anthropomorphic handbag, Buzz Aldrin’s boot print on the moon, drawings of Stone Age pebbles, a painting of “Ireland–as seen from Wales,” and a dizzying array of quotations and snippets of information, including the wise words of Marcus Aurelius, Stephen Jay, and Gandhi’s comment, “Western civilization? I think it would be a good suggestion.” Fletcher’s mastery of design mixes type, space, fonts, alphabets, colour, and layout combined with a “jackdaw” eye for the ordinary and profound to produce a stunning book that can’t be read, but only experienced.” — Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk