A Smile in the Mind - Witty Thinking in Graphic Design

Author(s): Beryl McAlhone; David Stuart; Greg Quinton (Contribution by); Nick Asbury

Art History

Forty years of "witty thinking" from over 500 designers, including hundreds of visual examples and interviews with the world's top practitioners

First published in 1996, A Smile in the Mind rapidly became one of the most influential books in graphic design - a rich sourcebook of design ideas and an entertaining guide to the techniques behind witty thinking.

Now extensively revised and updated, this book explores the powerful role of wit in graphic design, making the case for wit, as the magical element that builds the world's biggest brands and engages people with messages that matter. Packed with illustrations showcasing the use of wit by today's practitioners alongside classic examples, A Smile in the Mind brings together the best projects from around the world and across the decades. The different routes designers can take are examined and illustrated with inspirational examples, exploring wit by technique (such as ambiguity, substitution and double takes), application (including posters, packaging and data visualization) and business area, spanning digital, retail, arts and culture, politics and even matters of life and death.

The book also features interviews with legendary designers past and present, answering the biggest question of all: how did they get the idea? Designers offer a glimpse into their private working methods and thought processes, and reveal the inspiration behind classic pieces of work.

Showcasing forty years of witty thinking and including over 1,000 projects and 500 designers and creative thinkers, A Smile in the Mind is an essential compendium of contemporary designs and a celebration of classic pieces, resulting in the definitive guide to wit in graphic design. Written with humour and insight, it offers designers a friendly read, a helpful sourcebook and a trigger for ideas.


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"This collection of brilliant work is testament to the endless invention of graphic designers. A landmark book of enduring significance." -Patrick Burgoyne, Creative Review "The closest thing to a bible for wit and cleverness... provides enough material to turn any project into an opportunity to bring a smile to someone's face." -Armin Vit, UnderConsideration.com "Graphic design is not bend over funny, but as this important book reveals, design humour is what brings the message home." -Steven Heller "Valuable instruction manual for one of the most useful but difficult-to-judge aspects of contemporary graphics." -Print "Beautifully edited, lovingly and carefully compiled." -Graphics International

Beryl McAlhone is a writer with a particular interest in design. She began her career as a journalist, and has edited the women's pages of the Observer and the design magazines Designer and Direction. She now works on a wide variety of design-related assignments. These have included research and writing for the British Design Consultancy Survey, the London Institute and the Chartered Society of Designers. David Stuart was a founding partner and Creative Director of The Partners, the award-winning UK graphic design company. His early career included working as the only designer in an artists' material company, in a little known department of the BBC and in a garret at the Museum of London. He has been President of the D&AD, and has over forty years experience in both design and branding. Greg Quinton, now Executive Creative Director of brand strategy, design and innovation at The Partners, has over 25 years' experience of the design business, working with clients from HSBC to the National Gallery, winning awards along the way from D&AD, the New York Art Director's Club and Gold Lions at Cannes.

General Fields

  • : 9780714869353
  • : Phaidon Press Limited
  • : Phaidon Press Ltd
  • : 1.64654
  • : February 2016
  • : 290mm X 250mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : September 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Beryl McAlhone; David Stuart; Greg Quinton (Contribution by); Nick Asbury
  • : Paperback
  • : Revised and expanded ed
  • : English
  • : 745.4
  • : 272
  • : illustrations