Walker Art Center

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Publications Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life

So many recent books on design look over-designed. Is there room for something more subtle, more substantial than ephemeral? For this book we wanted to reflect the spirit of its content, which was an exhibition that explores how designers can use commonplace materials and transform spaces and objects in new ways. The resulting catalogue reflects this in its form, materials, and typography. It is an “archetypal” book, or the essence of a book—seemingly conventional, yet not quite conformist. Its size, shape and weight suggest a novel or trade paperback but its choice of typography, paper, and binding are closer to a classically designed book. In this way, it participates in the idea of the exhibition completely: the familiarity of the book’s form is simultaneously undermined and reinforced by its unexpected content. The book includes a series of essays by the exhibition curator and other writers that place the exhibition’s themes in the broader context of contemporary design.

Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life, 2003