Rob Forbes is a modern-day flaneur, a connoisseur of the city streets, armed with a camera. In See for Yourself he explores the extraordinary beauty that surrounds our ordinary daily lives, and invites us to take a second look at the urban visual landscape we sometimes take for granted.” — Gary Hustwit
“Artists and designers all share a common curse—it is the curse of being intensely interested in the world around themselves. They consummate this interest by one of two means: 1) capturing what they see in a sketch or photograph, or 2) if it’s small enough, they put whatever they might be fascinated with into their pocket. Fortunately for the places that he visited, Rob held his kleptomaniac back and stuck to capturing his eyes’ delight as digital photographs. Each set of photographs has been categorized into visual themes a la the #hashtag generation, but in old-fashioned book form and with the kind of curious but authoritative prose that quietly reveals the Paul Rand in Rob. In this book, you get to see how a designer thinks by using his or her surroundings as their active canvas of thought—finding patterns and finding new relations with the single goal of crafting a unique understanding of the world.” — John Maeda, Ph.D., Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Design Partner
“An uplifting and engaging manifesto for mindfulness.” — Publishers Weekly
“Ah, now I see. Not only does Rob Forbes have a brilliant eye for design, he applies it to the world around him with delightful and ingenious results.” — Chip Kidd
“A real-world introduction to the principles of Classical Western design through the eyes and mind of one of today’s most important design entrepreneurs.” — Leonard Koren, author of Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers
“People ask me all the time, ‘What are your influences?’ And I tell them, ‘I look at things.’ Looking at things is what Rob Forbes has been doing all his life. This book lets us benefit from his love for all things visual. You’ll see different things and you’ll see things differently once you’ve read it.” — Erik Spiekermann
“Legend has it that a woman looking at one of the great J.M.W. Turner’s seascapes protested, ‘But Mr. Turner, I have never seen the ocean look like that.’
‘No Madam,’ the artist replied, ‘but don't you wish you could?’
Rob Forbes is not a great painter, but a shrewd observer of everything he encounters. If someone were to object to a photo in this book on the grounds that she had never seen a fruit stall, or a street, or a row of parked bicycles that looked like that, a likely reply would be: ‘But Madam, you can. Just look.’
See for Yourself is not only the title of this book—it describes what you will want to do upon reading it. In founding the firm Design Within Reach in the ’90s, Rob Forbes demonstrated that the design universe is roomier and more accessible than the public ever suspected. With this book he offers design within sight, demonstrating that it is also more personal. This is a D.I.Y. book for visual experience. See for yourself!” — Ralph Caplan
“In See for Yourself, Rob Forbes generously shares his unique vision of the world, a vision that somehow manages to be both utterly personal and full of universal lessons. In the grand tradition of George Nelson’s How to See, Rob reminds us that clear seeing, like clear writing, is little more than clear thinking. All three are on fine display in this delightful book.” — Jeff Speck, author, Walkable City
“From a graffiti-splattered door in Rome to graphic yet simple stone walls found on Martha’s Vinyard, to colorful tiles on the streets of Lisbon, the photographs—along with Forbes’s thoughtful essays on the categories of design, such as angles, contrast, pattern, point of view, repetition, and symmetry—motivate readers to see the world around them and see design in everything.” — Design New England
Nothing is insignificant, as Rob Forbes so beautifully shows.
Your heart is captured by the mundane or glorious all around you.
And the surprises will keep you interested forever.
— Maira Kalman
“There is as much creativity in seeing as there is in doing. Enjoy this delightful personal journey of creative seeing and learn from one of the masters.” — Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
“Rob Forbes is one of those rare people who cares passionately about visual experience, who knows that the way things look has a huge impact on the way life feels, and who is able to communicate his love and understanding of design in a meaningful way. See for Yourself is not a guide to making design; it is a guide to ‘getting’ design, and this exhilarating and eclectic mix of images and commentary will teach a lot of people the most important lesson there is, which is to trust your own eyes.” — Paul Goldberger, architecture critic and author of Why Architecture Matters