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Synopsis

It is often said that we are living in a new golden age of design. Our gadgets, appliances, and cars are sleeker and more elegant than they’ve ever been; in our free time, we trawl the internet for pictures of flawless minimalist interiors; and even the great industrialist of our time—Steve Jobs—is admired more for his visual savvy than his technological inventiveness.

And yet with Instagram and Pinterest at our fingers and great design more available—and more affordable—than ever, we’ve had no guidebook to this ever-fascinating field. Though it’s an inescapable part of our lives, there has been no single book that could, in one fell swoop, tell us everything we need to know about design. Enter Hello World.

The design critic for the International Heard Tribune, Alice Rawsthorn has spent many years reckoning with the history of design and with its place in contemporary life, and Hello World is the extraordinary summation of her research and reporting.

Rawsthorn takes us on a trip through design that ranges across continents and centuries, and wherever she goes, she discovers inspiring, thrilling examples of resourcefulness, inventiveness, and sheer vision. From the macabre symbol with which eighteenth-century pirates terrorized their victims into surrender, to one woman’s quest for the best prosthetic legs, to the evolution of the World Cup soccer ball, Hello World describes how warlords, scientists, farmers, hackers, activists, and professional designers have used the complex, often elusive process of design to different ends throughout history.

Hailed as a “rapid-fire and illuminating ode to contemporary design” (Telegraph) and “an extremely readable tour of the subject” (Financial Times), Hello World is a major work that radically broadens our understanding of what design can mean, and explains how we can use it to make sense of our ever-changing universe.

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