A Quick Look at Maggie Macnab’s ‘Decoding Design’


We’ve long been meaning to give a nod here to Maggie Macnab, our friend and occasional tipster, and her new book Decoding Design, but we always have a billion things going on around here at UnBeige HQ, so it’s difficult to crack open nearly any book, read it through, and give it the time it deserves. But this weekend, in between projects, we finally got a chance to get into it, and once we’d opened it, we really couldn’t stop coming back. It’s a fascinating read, with Macnab getting into what’s going on behind logos and identity packages, to the roots of why that line is squiggly or what exactly that crescent shape is doing there next to the type treatment. The first chunk of the book is dedicated to getting into the history of creating representational symbols, from way back before there was even a name for what was going on with drawing pictures in those dank, dark caves, to changes in the Master Card logo. After having all that info in tow, she launches into analysis of modern logos and how they function, providing loads of examples and getting quotes from the designers themselves about how everything is operating and why. It’s a really fantastic, enlightening book and we can’t recommend it enough. Even if you’re the second coming of Paul Rand, we think you’d get a lot out of it. So pick it up the next time you’re out. In the interim, we recommend checking out David Airey‘s site, who has a great piece up about Maggie’s Decoding, including the promo video she put together for it.