Cover of Artful Design by Ge Wang
Artful Design
Technology in Search of the Sublime, A MusiComic Manifesto
Ge Wang

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September 2018
488 pages.
$40.00

Paper ISBN: 9781503600522
Digital ISBN: 9781503608030

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What we make, makes us. This is the central tenet of Artful Design, a photorealistic comic book that examines the nature, purpose, and meaning of design. A call to action and a meditation on art, authenticity, and social connection in a world disrupted by technological change, this book articulates a fundamental principle for design: that we should design not just from practical needs but from the values that underlie those needs.

Artful Design takes readers on a journey through the aesthetic dimensions of technology. Using music as a universal phenomenon that has evolved alongside technology, this book breaks down concrete case studies in computer-mediated toys, tools, games, and instruments, including the best-selling app Ocarina. Every chapter elaborates a set of general design principles and strategies that illuminate the essential relationship between aesthetics and engineering, art and design.

Ge Wang implores us to both embrace and confront technology, not purely as a means to an end, but in its potential to enrich life. Technology is never a neutral agent, but through what we do with it—through what we design with it—it provides a mirror to our human endeavors and values. Artful Design delivers an aesthetic manifesto of technology, accessible yet uncompromising.

About the author

Ge Wang is a Stanford University Professor of music and computer science. He is a designer of instruments, toys, and games; inventor of the ChucK programming language; and director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra. Ge was Co-Founder of Smule, a Silicon Valley startup that explores music-making via mobile devices, and designer of Magic Piano and Ocarina, an Apple Hall of Fame App.

"[Artful Design] touches on architecture, product design, video games, and other media, unraveling the universal design concepts woven into all creative work. Wang infuses the comic with plenty of humor and a sense of wonder at the infinite possibilities of art and technology."

Publishers Weekly