The Art of Looking Sideways – Design According To Fletcher

Before thinking about my own designs I want to research as much as I can about the professional opinion of a good design. I decided to get some inspiration from Alan Fletchers wonderful sourcebook The art of looking sideways (2001). This book has been described as “an unfailing source of wit, elegance and inspiration. At over a thousand pages, it is a spectacular treatise on visual thinking, one that illustrates the designer’s sense of play and his broad frame of reference) (King, 2013). To me that is exactly what this book it, it also has the opinion of a very influential designer.

Alan Fletcher says that “The habit of calling a finished product a design is convenient but wrong. Design is what you do, not what you have done.” (2001, p. 412 ) which I think is an interesting point. Design is a never ending process and good Design is all about how you treat that process. If you don’t research your subject or take time to draft designs the final outcome will not be successful.

I also found the perfect quote in Fletchers book, ” Poor design is making something worthless, Good design is making something intelligible and memorable, Great design is making something memorable and meaningful, Exceptional design is making something meaningful and worthwhile” (2001, p. 416). However this quote is not the words of Alan Fletcher, it is the words of Dieter Rams a German product designer. I think this quote really shows the importance of the audience, the designs after all are there to impact someone. This project in my opinion is here to help us understand what our audience wants and to be a good designer is to impress and entice our audience.

I will be further researching  Dieter Rams in a further blog to see what his views of design is. As a product designer I am guessing his opinions will be based on how innovative the product is. I know there are a few more quotes in this book but I would like to find some more in other sources.

One one thing that I really have an issue with is the bibliography of this book. It makes it so hard to reference when there are so many quotes used and only the speakers name, birth (death) and occupation is listed.



Fletcher, A. (2001) The art of looking sideways. London: Phaidon

King, E. (2013) Alan Fletcher: Biography. Available at: (Accessed: 14 January 2015).

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