Books

The Medium is the Massage

Bruno Munari (and others)

In a dazzling fusion of Quentin Fiore's bold and inventive graphic design and Marshall McLuhan's unique insight into technology, advertising and mass-media, The Medium is the Massage is a unique study of human communication in the twentieth century, published in Penguin Modern Classics

Marshall McLuhan is the man who predicted the all-pervasive rise of modern mass media. Blending text, image and photography, his 1960 classic The Medium is the Massage illustrates how the growth of technology utterly reshapes society, personal lives and sensory perceptions, so that we are effectively transformed by the means we use to communicate. His theories, many of which are illustrated in this astonishing 'inventory of effects', force us to question how modes of communication have shaped society. This concept, and his ideas such as rolling, up-to-the-minute news broadcasts and the media 'Global Village' have proved decades ahead of their time.

How do we see the world around us? The 'Penguin on Design' series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever.

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar - a professor of English Literature, a literary critic and a communications theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory. Among his other works are The Mechanical Bride (1951), The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964).

Quentin Fiore (b. 1920) is a graphic designer renowned for his collaborations with writers including the academic Marshall McLuhan and the futurist and engineer Buckminster Fuller.

If you enjoyed The Medium is the Massage, you might like Bruno Munari's Design as Art, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'The media prophet of the 1960s'
The New York Times

'In the tumult of the digital revolution, McLuhan is relevant anew'
Wired

Design as Art

Bruno Munari

One of the last surviving members of the futurist generation, Bruno Munari's Design as Art is an illustrated journey into the artistic possibilities of modern design translated by Patrick Creagh published as part of the 'Penguin on Design' series in Penguin Modern Classics.

'The designer of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and the public, between living people and art as a living thing'

Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as 'the new Leonardo'. Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible, and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use everyday. Lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children's books, advertising, cars and chairs - these are just some of the subjects to which he turns his illuminating gaze.

How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever.

Bruno Munari (1907-1998), born in Milan, was the enfant terrible of Italian art and design for most of the twentieth century, contributing to many fields of both visual (paint, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphics) and non-visual arts (literature, poetry). He was twice awarded the Compasso d'Oro design prize for excellence in his field.

If you enjoyed Design as Art, you might like John Berger's Ways of Seeing, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'One of the most influential designers of the twentieth century ... Munari has encouraged people to go beyond formal conventions and stereotypes by showing them how to widen their perceptual awareness'
International Herald Tribune

Biography

Bruno Munari was an Italian artist and designer, who contributed in many fields of both visual (paint, scultpture, film, industrial design, graphics) and non-visual arts (literature, poetry.)