Autumn 2001

Postcards from a generous drifter

The Art of Looking Sideways

Alan Fletcher Phaidon, £24.95

Alan Fletcher describes his latest book as ‘a journey without a destination’. I’m not sure there’s even a journey here: The Art of Looking Sideways is more a series of postcards from scattered locations Fletcher has visited during a lifetime’s residence at the heart of visual culture. Here is a tireless curiosity, writ large. The book spans 72 loosely organised chapters and many hundreds of pages. In it Fletcher has gathered an attics’ worth of ephemera, puzzles, quotes (from sources as diverse as Paul Rand and Tony Hancock), reflections, essays and conversations. Old favourites are unashamedly revisited [pictures 25 and 26] (fresh eggs and flying lessons and Brownjohn’s ‘peACE’ being just two).

Some will read front to back, others will dip in over the coming days, weeks and years. Either way, The Art of Looking Sideways will amply reward those humble enough to accept the author’s generosity of spirit.

Patrick Baglee, writer, London

First published in Eye no. 41 vol. 11, 2001

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.