In agreeing to review Steve Mouzon’s latest book, “New Media for Designers + Builders”, I’ve willingly become a part of an experiment tied to its underlying premise: that the ways we can communicate have proliferated exponentially and that harvesting some basic command of these methods can help us become part of a larger, truly global conversation.
For the launch today (September 27th), roughly 200 volunteers (including myself) agreed to post their reviews simultaneously and across as many platforms as we reasonably could. It’s classic viral marketing; however, it’s one of the few I can think of explicitly generated within the design community. How could one resist the moment?
New Media for Designers + Builders is aimed squarely at people who are web savvy but who may have otherwise not fully thought through how to integrate all the various media options available for them. Broken down into 3 general parts, the book covers the broader context of the construction industry since 2008, detailed insights into each platform opportunity and how to customize a plan of action that suits your own interests, strengths and role.
Beyond a general overview of media and advertising techniques, Part 1, “Why”, is devoted to helping place a context around the construction industry as it recovers from the global meltdown. Based in Miami, Mouzon may be more acutely aware of these conditions than some readers; however, he attributes part of his own rebound to the insights outlined in the book. Here, Mouzon argues that we’re moving away from an emotional economy rooted in faster, cheaper, better to “virtues” of patience, generosity and connectedness. Though hard to argue overall, the tone and repetition in this section may be harder for some readers to relate to and harder still for some to fully connect to the ‘why’ of new media’s relevance.
Keep going, though, to get to Part 2, “How”. Because, as a resource, the 120 pages in here are impressively well thought out, cogent and holistically integrated in a way that is accessible for just about anyone. More importantly, the principles laid out cover all types of media – speaking and writing get as much attention as tweeting and blogging. Like a great work of architecture, Mouzon connects part to whole and back to part fluidly and seemingly effortlessly. This section alone is more than worth the price of admission.
Finally, in Part 3, “Who”, Mouzon introduces us to a variety of examples in each of the areas covered in Part 2. It’s also a section that would most easily benefit from being linked to a parallel, ongoing website that allows readers to catalog their own examples, leading to a practicing example of generosity and connectedness. While most of the architects and designers featured here fall within a professional range that shares deep affinities with Mouzon’s own work, they’re worth a look for the reasons outlined in the book.
In closing, New Media for Designers + Builders is a worthwhile addition to the stack of books on your nightstand. Be sure to read it in iBooks (or another e-reader like the Kindle) as it’s loaded with hotlinks and external features. And, if nothing else, take a few steps outlined in the book – there’s nothing to lose and a much richer conversation waiting.
Central to the blog is a long running interest in how we construct practices that enable and promote the kind of work we are all most interested in. From how firms are run, structured, and constructed, the main focus will be on exploring, expanding and demystifying how firms operate. I’ll be interviewing different practices – from startups to nationally recognized firms, bringing to print at least one a month. Our focus will be connecting Archinect readers with the business of practice.