Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Full of Books

I need a new bookshelf to hold proof copies, graphic design and typography books.

That's really kind of awesome. I like that. A lot.

I love books enough that I have given up the idea of living in a home where the weight and volume restrictions on stuff is severely limited.

Yes, I know, I can have them on a Kindle ... and yet, I still rely heavily on the ability to flip through a reference book. I run my fingers along the pages and watch those colors and the text go by, and mysteriously my brain connects with what I need and stops me within a few pages of exactly what I want. Also, as my vision gets worse, I depend on those larger surface areas. Yes, I can zoom in using a Kindle, but I lose the area of words, the big picture. Specifically with graphic design books and non-fiction in general, the bulk of what I read, I need to have that broader view of the book in a format that's larger than even the biggest pads I've seen. A computer screen comes the closest to the size I like. Mine is 9" high--the size I'd need to view an open spread on a 6x9 book. For larger books on art, graphic design, architecture, etc. my computer screen is much, much too small. Fiction is much more flexible. I could easily see having my whole fiction library on a Kindle or iPad with no issues. But non-fiction ....

I think that one thing that will be a challenge to future book designers will be to rethink and redesign non-fiction from the ground up so that they can present the amount of information that they now are able to transmit in a physical book. Most people aren't aware of how columns, sidebars, images, graphs, illustrations, different styles of type and white space all contribute to feeding information into the human brain. When the way all these things interact is severely space-restricted, and a full open-book spread isn't available except in a tiny size ... yeah. I don't think the answer is necessarily larger device sizes (which will affect their cost and portability.) I think a combination of the way we learn to look at books from infancy through adulthood and the way books are put together will have to change. I believe I'm too old to relearn how I glean information from the page. So for people my age, it falls to the designers to bring the mountain to us.

Already, great strides have been made in book design and information impartation. Smart phones, web site design and rich communication formats have come a long way. My own websites are sad, primitive creatures that could use some TLC from someone who knows what they're doing (and who can manipulate more complex and innovative software than I know how to use) to take advantage of everything our information age has to offer. I have some fun ideas, but I can't make them into reality, and I don't have the time or money to devote to that project (yet). Soon, maybe ....

Speaking of time, it's time to get back to work (on my day off). Some days I think about retiring ... and how much work I can get caught up on when I do. Do people ever really catch up on work?

Probably not. I know I probably won't ever catch up. My work defines who I am, and like my writing and book designs, that work keeps evolving just like the world that's evolving all around and with us.

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