Publisher: New Riders, 2008
Aimed at: Web designers looking for artistic inspiration
Pros: Takes a "fine art" approach to web design
Cons: Theoretical rather than practical
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
If you think the title of this book is familiar it is because it is Cloniger's follow up to his Fresh Styles for Web Designers: Eye Candy from the Underground (2001). He explains his approach of presenting eight contemporary visual design styles saying,
"There are two basic ways to teach design. The first is to teach general fundamental principles, follow them step-by-step, and let the specific visual aesthetics arise from the principles. The second is to show samples and examples--to begin with a bunch of visual examples of work, and then work backward to distill the basic principles."
Whether this works for you depends on how keen you are to break away from standard templates and how relevant you find the chosen examples of: No Style; Late(st) Modern Style; Psychedelic Minimalist Style; Dot Matrix Style; 1996 Dirt Style; Corkboard Spraw Style; Fullscreen Fashion Style and Hand-Drawn Alalog Style.
Each of the eight chapters devoted to styles includes the same main sections. Influences looks at the precedents and origins that provide the historical context; Characteristics analyses both visual and functional aspects of several examples of each style and Uses suggests commercial applications.
I can imagine this attractively illustrated book would have a useful place in an academic course teaching web design. It presents an analysis that will be of interest to any designer who wants to be part of a wider design tradition.