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Signed by Rob Forbes

Signed See for Yourself - Cover click to enlarge

nothing is insignificant, as Rob Forbes so beautifully shows.
your heart is captured by the mundane or glorious all around you.
and the surprises will keep you interested forever.

- Maira Kalman, American illustrator, writer, artist, and designer

Legend has it that a woman seeing one of the great J.M.W.Turner's seascapes, protested "But Mr. Turner, I have never seen the ocean look like that."

No Madam" the artist replied, "But don't you wish you could!"

Rob Forbes is not a great painter, but a shrewd observer of everything he encounters wherever he goes.

If someone were to object to a photo in this book on the grounds that she had "never seen a fruit stall, or a street, or a row of parked bicycles look like that," a likely reply would be: "But Madam, you can. Just look.

"See for Yourself is not only the title of this book. It is a description of what you will want to do upon reading it.

In founding Design Within Reach, Rob Forbes demonstrated that the design universe is roomier and more accessible than the public ever suspected. With this book he demonstrates that it is also more personal. This is a D.I.Y. book for visual experience. See for yourself!

- Ralph Caplan, Design consultant, writer, and public speaker

There is as much creativity in seeing as there is in doing. Enjoy this delightful personal journey of creative seeing and learn from one of the masters.

- Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

Artists and designers all share a common curse -- it is the curse of being intensely interested in the world around themselves. They consummate this interest by one of two means: 1) capturing what they see in a sketch or photograph, or 2) if it's small enough, they put whatever they might be fascinated with into their pocket. Fortunately for the places that he visited, Rob held his kleptomaniac back and stuck to capturing his eyes' delight as digital photographs. Each set of photographs has been categorized into visual themes a la the #hashtag generation, but in old-fashioned book form and with the kind of curious but authoritative prose that quietly reveals the Paul Rand in Rob. In this book, you get to see how a designer thinks by using his or her surroundings as their active canvas of thought -- finding patterns and finding new relations with the single goal of crafting a unique understanding of the world.

- John Maeda, PhD, Design partner for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

People ask me all the time, What are your influences? And I tell them, I look at things. Looking at things is what Rob Forbes has been doing all his life. This book lets us benefit from his love for all things visual. Youll see different things and youll see things differently once youve read it.

- Erik Spiekermann, Typographer and graphic designer

A real-world introduction to the principles of Classical Western design through the eyes and mind of one of todays most important design entrepreneurs. I couldnt agree more with the books premise: By paying closer attention to the world, we become more thoughtful and involved.

- Leonard Koren, author of many books including Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers and Which "Aesthetics" Do You Mean?: Ten Definitions

Rob Forbes is one of those rare people who cares passionately about visual experience, who knows that the way things look has a huge impact on the way life feels, and who is able to communicate his love and understanding of design in a meaningful way. See for Yourself is not a guide to making design; it is a guide to getting design, and this exhilarating and eclectic mix of images and commentary will teach a lot of people the most important lesson there is, which is to trust your own eyes.

- Paul Goldberger, Architecture critic and author of Why Architecture Matters

"Ah, now I see. Not only does Rob Forbes have a brilliant eye for design, he applies it to the world around him with delightful and ingenious results."

- Chip Kidd, American author, editor, and graphic designer

See for Yourself
Signed by Rob Forbes

A Visual Guide to Everyday Beauty

PUBLIC Exclusive - Signed Copies Now Shipping

Regular: $24.95
Special: $16.00  (IN STOCK)

This copy of See for Yourself: A Visual Guide to Everyday Beauty has been personally signed by Rob Forbes.

See for Yourself is available now at PUBLIC in signed editions. The book is comprised of over 500 images that I have taken during the last ten years from walks and bike rides in cities around the world. It's in these everyday settings where I seek out quirky and unusual objects not found in tourist guides; benches in Milan, bike locks in Amsterdam, fire hoses in Maine, house numbers in Charleston, and hundreds of other pedestrian works of design. I wrote it with the same intent I had in founding PUBLIC Bikes: to encourage us to become more engaged and connected with our cities, and to put a smile on our faces.

The common man-made stuff seen on our streets interests me more than what we are advised to see in tourist guides. There is often a cultural narrative going on that teaches us something about ourselves as humans and our environment. And the act of discovering things on our own is a reward in itself; i.e. the search is as important as the destination.

The book is divided into 16 chapters on aesthetic topics that are of personal interest to me, like pattern, texture, color, contrast, and a dozen more. There is also accompanying text, my attempt to explain my own visual thinking. It is highly personal, idiosyncratic, and very approachable.

My hope is that this book will encourage you to look more closely at the world around you,to see for yourself, and to take amusement in that. I think the book would make a great gift to anyone who is interested in forming their own opinions about the visual world in which we live and to be more curious and amused by things that might be hanging around just outside your door.

Eric Heiman and his team at Volume Inc. in San Francisco designed the book. Its a super piece of design and visual thinking on its own and well worth the price. See For Yourself is only available at PUBLIC right now, i.e. its not yet out on Amazon. I would encourage you to buy it from us as any proceeds go to support our PUBLIC mission of getting more people out of their cars and onto their feet and bikes.

To the left are a number of flattering comments from people who have seen or read the book. The caveat here is these people are all friends of mine, so take these with a grain of salt!

The Details:

  • 7 1/4 x 10 in, 176 pp, paperback
  • Published: May 2015
  • ISBN: 9781452117140

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