Wednesday, 4:04pm
10 July 2019

Books received #39

100 Whites; Death Wins a Goldfish; Artful Design; Scrawl: An A-Z of Famous Doodles; Unidentified Paper Object No. 3

Here is a selection of titles that caught our attention in recent weeks.

Published by Zurich-based Lars Müller Publishers, Kenya Hara’s latest book 100 Whites (€28.00), is a treatise on ‘whiteness’. Hara considers white not as a colour, ‘but a sensibility or mentality’, one that is best explored through ‘collecting and arranging various white phenomena’. The book features 100 text-only sections, which cover subjects from paper to hand-to-hand combat, and a single, foldout spread of images.

Cover and spread from 100 Whites (Lars Müller Publishers), written and designed by Kenya Hara.

Cover of 100 Whites

Spread from 100 Whites

Brian Rea’s charming new book, Death Wins a Goldfish (Chronicle Books, £10.99), follows the adventures of Death – cloak and all – through his year-long, forced sabbatical. Combining illustrations with a series of hand-written diary entries, Rea’s book is a funny, thoughtful and light-hearted exploration of the difficulties of work-life balance. Even Death needs a break, sometimes.

Cover and spreads from Brian Rea’s Death Wins a Goldfish (Chronicle Books). Written and llustrated by Brian Rea.

Cover of Death Wins a Goldfish

Spread from Death Wins a Goldfish

Spread from Death Wins a Goldfish

Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime (Stanford University Press, $40.00) is a manifesto for the design of technology. Author Ge Wang, an entrepreneur and Stanford University professor, aligns his manifesto to a series of eight rules that encourage designers to ‘design not only from needs – but from the values behind them.’ The most striking aspect of Wang’s book however, is its design, in which text and image are composed in the style of a graphic novel or photo-romance.

Graphic novel-like spreads from Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime (Stanford University Press). Design by Ge Wang.

Spreads from Artful DesignSpreads from Artful Design

Divided alphabetically, and indexed by colour, Scrawl (Rizzoli Books, $39.95) is a survey of ‘sketches, jottings, and notes from the greatest minds in history’ compiled by Caren and Todd Strauss-Schulson, and written by Claudia Strauss-Schulson. This extensive collection was amassed by the authors’ father, David Schulson, and includes the scribbles of figures such as Charlie Chaplin, D.H. Lawrence, Sol Lewitt, and Pablo Neruda. While not always aesthetically pleasing – Allen Ginsberg’s are particularly drab – these doodles allow the reader to establish a connection to these artists otherwise unthinkable.

Cover and spreads from Sketch: An A-Z of Famous Doodles (Rizzoli Books). Design by Brankica Harvey and Ken Deegan.


Spread showing the notes and sketches of Apple and NeXT founder Steve Jobs.


Spread showing a ‘bare-bones sketch’ of a Campbell’s soup can by Andy Warhol.


The third edition of Unidentified Paper Object (Éditions Non Standard, €35.00), a series of themed publications initiated by Élodie Boyer, focuses on the workshops of graphic designer Marion Bataille, and through them, the theme of reading and writing. The publication, which measures between A4 and A3, features a series of workshop outputs – instigated by Bataille but produced by children – alongside a series of texts that investigate ‘what it means to “write one’s name”’ and an envelope of workshop materials, so that each reader may construct their own compositions. (See also Noted no. 74, which includes Earth – Unidentified Paper Object (2016).

Cover, including an envelope of workshop materials for the reader, and spreads from Unidentified Paper Object no.3 (Éditions Non Standard). Design by Studio Rejane Dal Bello, who, when faced with the 543 picture files that Bataille supplied, chose to isolate the work of children who had used the letters ‘AOZ’, and recomposed them at will to create the book’s compositions.


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.