The Desiger's Designer

Inside Outside
By Malcolm Grear
351 pages; $45.00
published by New Riders

There's more than one high modernist in the canon besides Charles Eames. In Inside Outside, Malcolm Grear, who taught at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1960 to 1998, brings his experience from his teaching career (inside design) and his professional practice (outside design) to illuminate the process and practice of design. The first section presents Grear’s assignments to his students that explore line, letter form, motion, field and ground, and more. The student responses, presented in black and white, are amazingly inventive. In aggregate, these assignments represent a theory of design, though Grear is much too practical to spend much time in theoretical explorations of design. The second half of Inside Outside is devoted to the professional practice of design, with a close look at Grear’s commissions to create logos, signs, exhibits, posters, college textbooks, and visual identity systems. Taken together, the two halves of this book offer an essential design practicum. And they show Grear practicing what he preaches: a problem solving approach to design that relies on a deep understanding of fundamental principles, and a pit-bull’s commitment to process.

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