Design Unbound, written by Ann M. Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown, provides “tools for navigating today’s hyper-connected, rapidly changing, and radically contingent white water world” in two volumes (MIT Press).
Design Unbound presents a new tool set for having agency in the twenty-first century, in what the authors characterize as a white water world—rapidly changing, hyperconnected, and radically contingent. These are the tools of a new kind of practice that is the offspring of complexity science, which gives us a new lens through which to view the world as entangled and emerging, and architecture, which is about designing contexts. In such a practice, design, unbound from its material thingness, is set free to design contexts as complex systems.
For a book dealing with the kinds of design that are free of “material thingness,” Sélavy (designed by Nina Stössinger), a typeface entirely comprising of dots loosely held together, seems an excellent choice. Sélavy is paired with caps from FF Milo.
The numerals of Sélavy were also used on Pragmatic Imagination, a five-book preview to the Design Unbound series. The typeface’s dot components establish a satisfying visual parallel to the pattern-heavy images chosen for the book covers. The secondary typeface used here is Avenir.