18 April 2008

Design + Culture ดีไซน์ + คัลเจอร์

I just read Design + Culture by Pracha Suveeranont (Sameskybooks, 2008) and I was impressed with a wide range of cultural issues that this book touches on. The book itself is divided into five parts: identity, style, icon, information, and object. Each part consists of essays on things from everyday life, ranging from toothbrushes to the fist symbol. For Pracha, design is not there just to impress lookers-on, but entails a complex system of meaningful production. A fist, for example, can represent different political ideologies in different contexts. The design of a map is not always a realistic rendition; sometimes it means abstraction and unavoidable simplification.

I think the publication of this book is timely, as our culture is getting increasingly visual. We are forced to see more or make sense of our life through our eyes much more than other sense organs. What we see is not always innocent but those who work in design and advertisement tend to hide something underneath. In other words, it is not only aesthetics but commercialised politics that plays a significant role. Reading this book then is perhaps indispensable for those who wish to decode modern-day commercials or other visual propaganda in a properly informed way. By the way, this book is reader-friendly and jargon-free. You don't need to be a semiotic guru to read it, but you may wish to be one after you read it.

So what's next? I just wish we'll have our own Thai version of Judith Williamson's Decoding Advertisements. Our ads industry is very vibrant right now and perhaps it's also very timely to have a good book that is about the development and trends in Thai ads. Anyone out there wants to accept this challenge?


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abbievickress said...

Hi there, i stumbled upon your post recently researching information into creating a publication about thai advertising which i hope to produced in my final year at universtiy. I am now desperate to get my hands on a copy of Design + Culture by Pracha Suveeranont (Sameskybooks, 2008) but cannot seem to find it anywhere. If you could point me in the right direction that would be fantastic? Also i hope to take you up on your challenge, if you are interested i would love to hear more about what you thought of the book. If you want to get in contact please email abbievickress@live.co.uk.

Thanks very much.