Book review

Raymond Francis FBDO, BSc (Hons)

One of the many brands featured

Amazing Eyewear written by Maarten Weidema is an extensive look at independent eyewear designs featuring their history, design and brand philosophy.

Detailing frame materials, frame parts and shapes with glossy illustrations, this book is a very readable compendium. Eyewear brands from all over the world can be researched with each designer’s individual ethos examined. ‘Custom designed’, ‘unconventional’, ‘ultra-fashionable’, ‘precision’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘invisible’, ‘chic’ and ‘collectable’ are just some terms used to highlight various brands mentioned in the book.

Undoubtedly, this book will appeal to a wide range of those in the eyecare industry but also the general public with a keen interest in fashion eyewear. The author’s extensive knowledge and experience as a freelance eyewear designer over many years enables him to appeal to, and captivate, a diverse audience.

Smart presentation box

The quality of the illustrations and graphics is very impressive, which adds to the interest. Maarten’s great love, passion, understanding and insatiable appetite for constantly challenging himself is totally infectious. His desire to pursue excellence in his field of study has enabled him to produce a masterpiece.

A particularly interesting chapter in the book makes reference to ‘famous eyewear shapes’. As a qualified dispensing optician, you are involved with choosing appropriate frame styles to suit a multitude of different face shapes. Despite this probably being one of the most important aspects of the role, it is an area not very well discussed or covered in optical literature. For this reason, this book provides a comprehensive insight into most of the well-known frame shapes and how they may be applied to different face shapes.

On a personal note, I particularly enjoyed the section covering plastic, metal and biodegradable frame materials, and frame parts, which took me back to year one of my college days when we attempted to make our own handmade spectacle frame out of sheet acetate.

Author Maarten Weidema

Starting off in optics as a dispensing optician, lab technician or becoming acquainted with the spectacle frame and lens industry involves learning a uniquely new language of terminology. The book’s optical dictionary is particularly useful for those like me, who in 1984 had to become familiarised with this terminology. The author takes time to describe them simply and accurately and, again, the illustrated pictures clearly demonstrate this.

My overall evaluation of Maarten Weidema’s Amazing Eyewear is that it really is the ‘holy grail’ on eyewear design. I personally believe that it is a strong contender to be listed as an ‘essential’ on the list of books required at all the optical learning institutions. Independent optician practices most certainly would benefit from having a copy in their reception area, and it wouldn’t be out of place on the coffee table or bookshelf at home.

Sun lenses feature

No matter what your background or reason for purchasing, you won’t be disappointed. The sheer drive, determination and passion to move eyewear to the next level makes it compelling reading. Whoever you are, you will certainly learn something you didn’t already know. An easy read, it was most definitely made more pleasurable thanks to the high quality presentation. My only hope is that there will be more from Maarten at a later date.

Amazing Eyewear can be ordered here.

Raymond Francis FBDO, BSc (Hons) is a part-time locum dispensing optician.