The Art of Looking Sideways

Alan Fletcher

This 600-page full-colour clunker of a book utterly fascinated me when I first library'd a copy of it back in high school. It is “written” by graphic designer Alan Fletcher, but it's more a visual arts compendium made from the commercialized field of “graphic design.” Supposedly this book represents a collection of items which took 25 years to amass.

It is a remarkably fluffy book; pretty, pleasant, but severely lacking in substance. For the moment, I didn't actually mind this utter deficiency in purpose. What fascinated me at the time was limited by how I first had access to it: in brief exchanges inbetween a very strict schedule of classes. This meant the only time I had to read anything for my own interests was in short bursts, and the book was most agreeable to those same short bursts. Alas, it was a three kilogram coffee table book, and I sorely lacked the coffee table.

This is the type of book, with the type of content, that both matches and predates what is so-often shared over modern social networks like Twitter and Tumblr. In that sense, this book's very purpose is already very outdated, but Fletcher's artistry makes it seem that much more interesting against what is commonly available today.

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