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The Art of Looking Sideways

  • Hardcover
Images, ideas, quotations, jokes, reflections, and scraps of useless information are distilled into a quirky entertaining feast for the eye and the mind. Loosely arranged in 72 "chapters", this book explores such subjects as perception, illusion, and creativity. 700 illustrations, 300 in color.
The Art of Looking Sideways
$43.29 + free shipping
In stock with local supplier
Expected delivery Oct 27 – Nov 01
Describing himself as a 'visual jackdaw', master designer Alan Fletcher has spent a lifetime collecting images, ideas, quotations, anecdotes, jokes, memories, reflections and scraps of useless information that take his fancy. In The Art of Looking Sideways, all this stuff is distilled into a quirky and highly entertaining feast for the eye and the mind. Loosely arranged in 72 'chapters', this book explores the workings of the eye, the hand, the brain and the imagination in a wonderfully inventive sequence of pages that are themselves masterly demonstrations of the art of design.

This book does not set out to teach lessons, but everybody who opens it will be captivated by Alan Fletcher's witty and inimitable exploration of such subjects as perception, colour, pattern, proportion, paradox, illusion, language, alphabets, words, letters, ideas, creativity, culture, style, aesthetics and value. The Art of Looking Sideways is the ultimate guide to visual awareness, a magical compilation that will entertain and inspire all those who enjoy the interplay of word and image, who relish the odd and the unexpected, and who don't like to take the visual world — or themselves — too seriously.
Terry Jones is the author of several acclaimed works on the Middle Ages including "Chaucer's Knight, Crusades," and "Medieval Lives," the basis for his popular PBS series. A former member of Monty Python, he lives in London.
Terry Dolan is Professor of English at University College, Dublin, and a lexicographer and broadcaster.
Juliette Dor is Professor of Medieval English Literature at the University of Liege.
Alan Fletcher is a lecturer in Medieval English Literature at University College, Dublin.
Robert F. Yeager teaches Old and Middle English literature at the University of
Culture; tools; creativity; wit; improvisation; colour; dreaming; ideas; synchronicity; mutation; learning; noise; paradigms; automaton; intelligence; brain; mind; senses; thinking; problems; chance; imagination; visualizing; alphabet; seeing; places; perception; stereotypes; value; illusion; paradox; figure ground; symmetry; reflections; pattern; camoflage; economy; proportion; composition; leys & lines; aesthetics; taste; style; perfection; meanings; symbols; numbers; typography; skill; perspective; space-time; figuring; language; rhetoric; design; process; copying; words; imaging; pictureplay; wordplay; handedness; pictograms; scripts; letters; identity; names; signatures; insignia; trademarks; writing.
'The design book of the century may have already been written.' David Bernstein, Design Week, May 2005 'Nobody should enter the real world until they have read and been graphically stimulated by Alan Fletcher's amazing Baedeker of practical and erudite information. The book could have been described by Rene Magritte - 'A truly poetic canvas is an awakened dream'. I'm sure Alan's magnum opus will awaken many dreams'. (Terence Conran) 'This is a cornucopia of a book, a lucky dip of perception and paradox, laced with more strange facts than can possibly be probable and providing more fun than one has any right to expect.' (Bamber Gascoigne, author and broadcaster) 'A brilliant trick and treat. Fletcher's ideas pretend to have been gathered in from anywhere, but here is a very rigorous creative mind at work. Alan Fletcher is the great visual thinker of our age.' (Fiona MacCarthy, Biographer and Cultural Historian) 'At last, Alan Fletcher proves that graphic designers can be as fascinated about what things mean, as by how they look. This book is a staggeringly rich collection of words and pictures that will change the way you see the world.' (Deyan Sudjic, Author and Critic and editor of Domus magazine) 'This remarkable magpie hoard of words and pictures forces one to reconsider the relationship between thinking and looking, telling and showing. And as one had every reason to expect, Fletcher's own drawings and graphics are delightful.' (Jonathan Miller, Theatre Director and Author) 'A rather special collection...will go down just as well with your Auntie Mavies as with your lawyer, bin man and coolest friends.' (Homes & Interiors)
This is the extraordinary creation of a self-described 'visual jackdaw', and it is indeed a kind of visual jackdaw's nest. An exploration of visual awareness and its interrelation with the verbal, the book is a compilation of images, quotations and juxtapositions of thoughts. From 'a grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it' through Escher-like drawings to a discussion of the evolution of alphabets, Fletcher looks not only sideways but from above, below and all angles between at the human condition. This cornucopia of musings is an endless source of insights and, in many cases, laughter - for dipping into as much as for reading contemplatively time and again. A marvel. (Kirkus UK)
Alan Fletcher
Phaidon Press
Publication Date
Phaidon Press Ltd
Place of Publication
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Short Title
Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, UK
Audience Age

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