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By Frank Chimero

132 pages, hardcover, $29.99, self-published, funded by Kickstarter, shop.frankchimero.com

Two things are great about Frank Chimero’s new book, The Shape of Design. First, he is an idealist and, as such, a refreshing breath of clean air in a design world that has spent decades plunged into the murk of coolness, cynicism and irony. Second, the book itself—how it was paid for, published, designed, produced and promoted, shows how beautifully all the elements of the current informational array can be orchestrated to support clear thinking. The book, his series of thoughts on what design is, can be and should be, seems to have been constructed in flight: its essays were created from blog posts, writing-while-traveling and late-night thinking. Chimero is a hard-working designer and writer, and I am concerned that he may not have enough time to sleep. Which would be bad, because we don’t want a man who can stuff McCluhan, Aristotle and Glaser into the same few pages to burn out early. If I have one criticism of the book, it would be that it could have benefited from a really ruthless edit, for Chimero often falls into the design jargon of his time. But this does not negate my appreciation of his volume as a manifesto for a new kind of designer. These people are “sick of slick for slick’s sake,” as Chimero stated at a recent conference. They are interested in telling stories that have value to people. They are interested in using their talent to make the world a better place, but not in the Gropian sense. Be skillful, be vulnerable, be thoughtful and human, says Chimero. I couldn’t agree more. —Natalia Ilyin

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