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Books  >>  Art

Steven Heller

Pop

Steven Heller Pop How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture
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“Pop culture is often maligned as fleeting, but history shows that sometimes what is pop in one culture has time-honored resonance in later ones. This book is an attempt to show that pop culture, especially as seen through the lenses of design, illustration, satiric and political art (and other things), is integral to a broader understanding of who we are and where we are going.”—Steven Heller, from the Introduction  
 
How do popular culture and graphic design influence one another? What are the goals of design? Are they to sell? To package? To entertain? The answers to these questions are complicated and are intimately tied to the effect design has on the overall culture. POP is the first book to analyze the role of graphic design in the broader culture, as well as the impact of design on other art and entertainment forms, from album covers to baseball stadiums. Author Steven Heller addresses such subjects as:  
 
--pop icons  
--viral and guerilla advertising  
--political satire  
--the history of Interview, Monocle, Mad, and other magazines  
--illusionism and three-dimensional design  
--art for art’s sake  
--design vs. decoration  
--the return of hand lettering  
--art for the masses  
 
 
POP spans over 150 years during which popular culture has influenced mass perception and behavior. Illustrated by more than fifty images, POP is sure to inspire both aspiring and experienced designers.  

Author Steve Heller is an astute cultural observer and historian. He sees and hears the icons of culture and uses a flowing narrative style to pin them down for the rest of us to examine.

Heller shines the spotlight of his analysis on two-dimensional graphic design. He looks at the way an advertising page is laid out, at the impact of the typographic styles utilized, and also at how the content—the actual text—interacts with the other elements. Distorted language is as important as distorted visual design in his research. Heller’s explorations do not stop with the words. He also looks into the impact of commercial and industrial design.

As he states, “Pop culture is often maligned as fleeting. But history shows that sometimes what is pop in one culture has time-honored resonance in later ones . . . this book is an attempt to show that pop culture, especially as seen through the lens of design, illustration, satiric and political art . . . is integral to a broader understanding of who we are and where we are going.”

No part of the cultural mix seems to escape Heller’s scrutiny. The book is a valuable tour guide for those who weren’t there to watch the phenomena he describes.
                                   
                  —Reviewer Martin A. David for the New York Journal of Books


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