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Looking Sideways, the Art of


An export reckons that people who use their visual imagination during the day — artists, designers, architects, photographers, film directors and the like — rarely have spectacular mind-blowing dreams. These, paradoxically, tend to be bestowed on those whose daily work is more predictably routine.

— The art of looking sideways, p67


Statistics state that in London you’re never more than seventy feet away from a rat. I often feel the same about finding a solution to a problem. You can’t come up with the answer but know that it’s hanging around somewhere.

Everything is connected to everything else and searching for solutions often requires being alert to spot the unlikely connections …

— The art of looking sideways, p76


Indeed ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labour, exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television.

— The art of looking sideways, p118


There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, more uncertain in success, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things’, wrote Machiavelli, ‘because the innovator will have for enemies all who have done well under the old conditions, and only luke-warm defenders who do well under the new.’

— The art of looking sideways, p110

The art of looking sideways is Alan Fletcher‘s ode to design, creativity, life and everything in between. Loosely arranged in 72 chapters, I’m only partially through the book as it is quite dense in information. This is a book that I find myself dipping into for inspiration. A book that is likely to be close to hand for as long as I can read.

Design is not a thing you do. It’s a way of life.

— Alan Fletcher