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Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition [Anglais] [Broché]

Kimberly Elam


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Description de l'ouvrage

1 août 2001
At last, a mathematical explanation of how art works presented in a manner we can all understand. Kimberly Elam takes the reader on a geometrical journey, lending insight and coherence to the design process by exploring the visual relationships that have foundations in mathematics as well as the essential qualities of life. Geometry of Design-the first book in our new Design Briefs Series-takes a close look at a broad range of twentieth-century examples of design, architecture, and illustration (from the Barcelona chair to the Musica Viva poster, from the Braun handblender to the Conico kettle), revealing underlying geometric structures in their compositions. Explanations and techniques of visual analysis make the inherent mathematical relationships evident and a must-have for anyone involved in graphic arts. The book focuses not only on the classic systems of proportioning, such as the golden section and root rectangles, but also on less well known proportioning systems such as the Fibonacci Series. Through detailed diagrams these geometric systems are brought to life giving an effective insight into the design process.

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Biographie de l'auteur

Kimberly Elam is chairperson of the Graphic and Interactive Communication Department at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  28 commentaires
161 internautes sur 161 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Classical Principals, Modern Design. 2 octobre 2001
Par Mark Wieczorek - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I've been looking for this book for years now. I would wander the aisles of book stores looking for a concise treatise on the geometric elements of design. I open book after book in the design, architecture and art sections looking for a description of this "Sacred Geometry" passed down from master to student, used by Leonardo DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Greek sculptors, the Parthenon, and countless other masters and imitators, but which is sadly missing from many of the fine art and design curricula throughout the country.
Judging from the title, I thought this book would be wordy and academic. Or on the opposite end, written by ... a protractor, a compass and little else. I couldn't be more wrong. What I found is, after a section describing how certain geometric relationships exist in nature, and what their mathematical properties are, page after page of designs analyzed.
First the design is reproduced for you to see, unadorned. Then the author shows you the same picture, but with red grids, circles, diagonals, stars, etc. covering it to show you the precise geometric relationship, of say, the Clestory Window in the Cathedral at Notre Dame to the building as a whole. Or how the Eames Chair conforms to the geometry of the Golden Section. Breif text accompanies each picture.
The text "The typography of the poster forms a triangle which serves to anchor it to the format and enhance visual interest" is found next to a small reproduction of the poster with a red triangle drawn on it. Some pages even have translucent overlays so you can see the picture with a grid, or circles, or both - "an overlay comparison... reveals that the... proportions in both drawings... are almost identical."
This book gives you the tools to evaluate design. It strikes the perfect balance between showing and telling. I read the whole thing (and I mean read, not just skimmed) during two one-hour subway commutes (2 hours) and plan on referencing it time and again in the future.
99.99% of the books on design I see ignore the fundamental geometry in favor of the flashy graphics that are available to our computer inundated culture. If you feel classical design principals can help you become a better designer, artist, person, etc. buy this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
33 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Concise Overview of Geometry's Role in Design Beauty 25 juin 2005
Par David Kadavy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Kimberly Elam presents a simple yet comprehensive overview of the role of geometry in the beauty of design and nature. Elam first explores the prevalence of the Golden Section in nature, art, and architecture, and supports the storied beauty of its proportions with an overview of the cognitive proportion preference studies of both Gustav Fechner and Lalo. Red-highlighted illustrations illuminate Elam's clear explanations of how to construct Golden Section (or Fibonacci Series) rectangles, ellipses, and triangles.

Geometry of Design doesn't only cover the Golden Section. Elam also explores the root 2, root 3, root 4, and root 5 rectangles and explains their role in the more familiar European DIN system (root 2), and the construction of hexagons (root 3).

After introducing these common geometric proportions, Elam reveals the geometric structure of historically significant works such as Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Chair, A.M. Cassandre's Wagon-Bar Poster, and Jan Tschichold's Konstruktivisten Poster, as well as contemporary industrial designs such as the Braun Aromaster Coffee Maker and the modern Volkswagon Beetle. Her analyses are concisely written and aptly accompanied by translucent overlays which reveal geometric structures that range from the astonishingly deliberate to the seemingly unintentional.

Kimberly Elam's Geometry of Design is a flawless introduction to the role of design's least visible, yet most powerful, methods of achieving aesthetic beauty. It is a must-read for anyone curious about geometry's role in design.
29 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! 5 juillet 2002
Par Dr.Daphne Lange-Rosenzweig - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Why do we instinctively admire the 1997 update of the Volkswagon Beetle? Why are Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chairs of 1929 still relevant in twenty-first century interior design? Why have everyday Braun kitchen products achieved iconic status in museum settings?
In her pithy (101 page) essay, GEOMETRY OF DESIGN: STUDIES IN PROPORTION AND COMPOSITION, Kimberly Elam admirably succeeds in illuminating fundamental concepts underlying successful modern design. Through the elegance of Elam's arguments, readers are painlessly introduced to a set of mathematically-based compositional elements developed in classical antiquity and reflected in acknowledged masterpieces of later design. From the Parthenon and Notre Dame de Paris to Mies van der Rohe's Chapel at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and from Leonardo's "Man Inscribed in a Circle" and a chambered nautilus to Le Courbusier's "Chaise Lounge", selected works succumb to Elam's acute analysis of successful proportioning and composition. Her exploration of these fundamentals, including the dynamic rectangles exemplified by the Golden Section and the European DIN Root 2 system (so different from the sectioning system used in American design), is aided by the excellent vellum overlay diagrams.
So much of our response to art and design is intuitive, and we categorize as outstanding those works from which we derive intense aesthetic pleasure. The efficiency, the very orderliness which form their basis is a revelation. Elam's book is a classic and very readable summation of the foundation of successful design.
58 internautes sur 73 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A GREAT BOOK!!! 9 novembre 2001
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
At the concept level this is a great book, very well thought out and a nice layout. It is well worth the price. Very nice!!
A great book!!!
So why did I give it only a 2.
Because the beauty and logic of the book are only demonstrated in very simplistic designs which already would have geometric thinking built in....cars, building, furniture, commercial posters, fish, shells, etc. Symetrical snowflakes.
These objects would be driven to good design because of utilitarian functioning which is required by their physical nature. One example is A coffee maker, A car, A building . Kim is on to something great with this book,but I think she should have tackled more creative and complex objects and compositions where utilitarian value is secondary. She walks down the usual Leonardo and Greek path but the analysis is only of primarily singular objects. She does a great job but most of the objects are isolated objects or poster graphics which are already contrived on a pure geometric basis.
The great value of this book would be in the context of the evolution of design, proportion, and compostion with some of an Art aesthetic bent.
Analysis of complete compostions would be of value, some Durer engravings, some Raphael, some Petro da Cortona, some Poussin, some Raphael, Baroque, Neoclassical, Rococo, Cubist, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, etc. The books concept is great but the interaction of objects in paintings, or multi-group sculptures within the spirit of the books intent would have been a nice addition. The analysis objects are mostly trivial cases. The analysis methods are wonderful but I mean .........a chair by itself!!!
Great design problems are worked out by the interaction of objects, not just singular static objects. There is a wealth of more dynamic and interesting composition that was totally ignored. The Wagon Bar poster is the only thing that comes close to the type of complexity found in Art. The Folies poster was a good place to start, but the book dies with just these two examples,the Volkswagen and kettle are just too basic and functional within the context of current design which over simplifies most designs for the economy of mass production.
Take on a 1930's or 40 Packard, Duesenberg, or Silver cloud, not a 2000 Volkswagen where it and every other current product sit in the wings waiting for Steve Jobs and Apple to give them there next two circled transparent (in 15 colors) wonder flash of consumer mass production Neo-Borg Americana dribble,hoping each ounce of plastic or metal saved will mean less time to reprogram the robots, and make it easier to tell the consumer they should be thankful they can assemble it themselves at home.
(Got to love the proportions of that green packaging popcorn)
The book is a good intro book and brings together a lot of thinking from a number of other books in a quick read format, I would say "buy it" you will get your bang for the buck.
I would have rather paid 4 times as much and have it go much deeper into real Art proportion and compostion analyis.
The thinking and format of the book was so great, it seems a shame to waste it on objects and not apply it to some art examples. I mean compositional multi object art designs.
The book should contain at least some history related paintings,
Veronese, Tiepolo, some Titian, some contrast between Ren, Mannerism, Greek, Egyptian,(wall paintings not a pyramid) etc.. These examples within the context of multi-object compostions are more educational because they represent imagination use of proportion and compostion not functional requirements.
A great effort, Kim explains a violin, a trumpet, a drum, a flute, a trombone, but we never get around to a "symphony" if I can use a musical example to calrify what I mean.
Most of the examples are one trick ponies.
I hope a more sophisticated, more expensive, second edition comes out and the publishers let her go more in depth on a broader range of designs and Art history, she is on the right track, and the book would be valuable, it is a superb format, but the whole book I would have called Chapter One. Maybe I am being unfair this may be aimed at the Comercial Consumer Industrial Design crowd, not the Art crowd.
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of my favorite design books. 17 février 2005
Par D. C. Vlahos - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I keep this book by my desk as I'm designing. It's wonderfully inspirational, clear and concise. The golden section is not the easiest of concepts to wrap your head around, never mind using it in practice. Kimbery makes these concepts far easier to grasp. Kudos to Kimberly for finding creative ways to clearly illustrate what is best categorized as an interesting phenomenon. I appreciate the wide selection of real life examples she prepared, citing examples from nature, art, design and manufacturing. If the transparency pages aren't lining up exactly with the images below them don't fret. These are meant to help you understand the structural framework of the work being described, nothing more. This book has inspired both my professional and personal work. I hate math and I was never any good at. If I can love this book so can you. Start using the golden section in your work and you'll be hooked.
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