In September 2015 the world lost Phil Patton – prolific design writer, teacher and tantalizing wordsmith. Patton’s insatiable curiosity, sense of humour and keen eye made for the most compelling reads. Whether he was chronicling design minutiae, quirky anecdotes or bizarre tales, Phil’s hundreds of books, columns, articles and posts always delivered a new account. As his editor at i-D magazine, Chee Pearlman, said, ‘His insight takes the reader beyond the object to an understanding of its broadest sociological context’. No topic eluded him, and for a large part of his 40-year career he championed automobiles, technology and product design. Roger Black, designer, writer and long-time colleague and friend of Patton’s wrote, ‘He taught the New York Times – by example – to cover design. The domino effect, the rest of the media followed.’
With an introduction by Edward Tufte and foreword by Caroline Baumann, this volume compiles 40 selections representing the wide range of interests and fascinations that occupied his thoughts. Punctuated by images of ideas and lists from notebooks he carried everywhere, Top This and Other Parables of Design is an intimate and portable companion for those who choose to always have a witty, informed friend around.