A Smile in the Mind


“The best graphic design does more than capture attention and make the audience linger. It prolongs the encounter, compelling the reader not only notice, but to remember.” (cover)

“…so the first benefit of witty design is that the recipient becomes willing to hear the message. The audience become captive. The communication has the best possible start.” (p.18)

“Designer are also salesman. Even when they are designing technical literature they are influencing the commercial outcome, because the ease with which the reader extracts the required data affects the decision to specify the product. In that implicit transaction, something looked at with pleasure will be thought of with sympathy.” (p.21)

If designer make you smile, They get you on their side, Because humour has the capacity to override the normal defences.” (p.21)

…We would argue that an idea that happens in the mind, stays in the mind. Whatever happens when an ideas strikes, It leaves a stronger trace. People can remember that flash moment, the click, and recreate the pleasure just by thinking about it. It seems  that stronger than one that is immediate.” (p.23)

Type of wit :

Pair – comparison, highlight significant , link between unrelated (table/rocket)

ambiguity – this is form of two in one design where image can seen two ways. (leaf/mouth)

substitution – classic 2 in 2 technique , ones element within the image introducing a rouge element. (round stamp/cycle wheels)

addition – 2 ideas in 1  of poster (l U.N. ch)

modification – one image can see 2 image.. it introduce the second ideas (rat & cat in once face)

expectation found – seen to be unseen / unseen to be seen (ซ่อนรูปเครื่องจักรไว้ใต้รูปรถ)

coincidence – an element within the job is not only unusual in itself, it also coincides in someway with an idea or thought relevant to the message.

Shift – Time (past-present) // Scale (big can be small /connection btw 2 things n different scale) // view (chafe the view / backward, unexpected direction)

Alphabet – unexpectedly seeing ‘this’ and ‘that’ delivers both recognise and surprise.

The face – play with human face / minimal playful and unusual they can be.

series of twists – play turn on an ideas  / use a theme and provide the variation. (The partner UK,1990)


This book give me many ideas of ‘how design is work on people?’

“Creativity and playfulness are intrinsic to these activities, which provide a natural environment for wit.”

The ideas from the book are very useful for develop my design. I can use different way to make people recognise my work and remember it. I think, it is true that design should make people not only to notice , but to remember. Design should have story that make  the audience be the part of it. This is fantastic book ever. I should read it over and over again.


McAlhone, Beryl and Stuart, David. (1996) A Smile in the mind. London: Phaidon Press Ltd.

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