The Best of Brochure Design: Volume II by Jason Godfrey and published by Rockport is part of the The Best of Brochure Design series of books that have been hugely popular for collating an extraordinary range of brochure designs delivered by the best designers and design firms across the world. You may remember our review on The Best of Brochure Design 10, but the questions is, how does this book stack up and are there any differences?
Well lets tackle the 2nd question first. Simply put The Best of Brochure Design follows the same formula as the previous books in the series like it or not; same concept different designs. The designs are fantastic though! All 350 pages of them! So for any designer that hasn’t invested in the series yet this is a great place to step in. However if you are previous owner of this series or any other brochure design book that has come out in the last couple of years, and you are anything like me, you probably have only scratched the surface of exploiting and inspiring to and from the designs. So it might be good to hold on a little longer as not a whole lot has changed trend-wise in the last couple of years. Which raises another question, is it possible to tell the difference between a brochure designed 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago? But we will save that discussion for another time.
The other side of me is a bit of a hoarder so you will just buy whatever is new and different and The Best of Brochure Design makes a welcome coffee table or foyer book for your office. So what’s inside, well the book is carved up into 5 industry sections which are as follows:
By reading these sections you might be starting to tell that it’s best not to think of this title as just a brochure book but rather as a document design book as you can certainly apply a lot of imagery, layouts and motifs to apply to magazines, CD/DVD cases, catalogs, reports, menus and order of service. So in the right hands there is a huge amount of creative potential on offer. Some of my favorite designs that stand out in the book include this delightful bunny rabbit filled report with these cute little bunny rabbit cut outs inside. Also this Chef’n catalog which contains all these kitchen utensils but the layout is just so fresh and modern it’s certainly something I might steal (but don’t tell anyone). You will also find a great variety of origami styled paper treatments and some unique ways the brochures are actually packaged, but I will leave this discovery to you.
Every design is professionally photographed which one would expect, and each design has of course the design firm, designer, the client etc. etc. They also have the design tools (software) used to create the work which is nice. But what would be cool and I don’t understand why books don’t do this, but use this data quantitatively. Why not have a graph at the start or the end of the book which shows how many professionals are using QuarkXPress vs Illustrator, or who is using both, how many brochures utilise Photoshop etc. Granted it is a small sample, but what a high quality sample it is! I also have my usual complaint which applies to most portfolio styled books which is a caption, description, justification of the decisions, challenges or inspiration for the work. This would make the title a lot more personal and interactive. Yes I know, it adds a little more text on the page, and it doesn’t look as minimalist, but this information is important to designers like me. I always wondered if this decision is made because of this minimalism case, or whether it is just out of lack of effort to provide more?
With all this said, there is nothing unique going on with The Best of Brochure Design. However don’t discount it, as mentioned earlier if you are new to series or if you are looking for the latest touch of inspiration this is probably the book for you. As it provides not just brochure designs but other promotional material it can be used as an effective tool for a variety of applications.