Reading

Ellen Lupton’s “Thinking with Type”

Don’t read this book:

Ellen Lupton’s “Thinking with Type”

The book is split into three sections: Letter, Text and Grid. This gives the illusion of structure, but don’t be fooled. This is the most disorganized book on design I have ever read.

There is no narrative. Ellen jumps from topic to topic as if each spread was from a separate book. She would write about obscure InDesign hotkeys, font licensing, HTML header tags and even proofreader’s marks without any coherence. Sometimes she would pretend the reader has no idea about computers at all: did you know, she would ask, that if you press Shift+Enter instead of Enter, you would get a new line, but not a new paragraph?

Ellen would explain how typeface is not the same as font. Then put a spread of some student works of questionable value. Then write half a page about “branding”. Because why not write about something, if such a thing exists? It feels like Ellen just crammed together everything she heard about typography giving no crap as to how these random facts, thoughts and examples would help anyone get better at anything. None of the topics is given any care, many are given just a couple of paragraphs.

As to author’s credibility, I have to say she thinks that a double prime (˝) is the same as dumb quotes ("). She sets HTML is small caps, but CSS is all-caps — on the same page, that is. She would also explain that CSS is Cascading Style Sheets (very helpful). At some point in the book she mentions Tufte, then tries to redesign a table and comes up with a result that shows that she either did not actually read Tufte or completely missed the point.

If you are new to design and typography, after reading the book you’ll go, wow, there’s so many stuff — I guess I will now have to find real books to figure it all out. Well, just go straight to Tufte, Bringhurst, Tschichold and Müller-Brockmann.

2015   books   design   rants   reading   typography

Read The Magazine on the original iPad

Marco Arment’s brilliant The Magazine is only available on iOS 6. Unfortunately it’s doesn’t work on the original iPad which I still use, so I’ve subscribed to The Magazine on my iPhone 4. But I don’t like reading anything longer than an SMS from the phone’s screen. So how do I read The Magazine of the iPad?

I just open The Magazine on the iPhone and send articles I want to read to Instapaper (Instapaper works on iOS 5).

At first I thought that the “Send to Instapaper” button in The Magazine was dumb. Why would I want to save something for offline reading if I already have it available offline in a readable format? Well, now I know: because I want to read it on my iPad. And since The Magazine is about text and not some impossible UI and crazy animation effects which have plagued Newsstand publications, I don’t lose anything by reading it in Instapaper format.

By the way, I fully support Marco’s decision to drop support for earlier iOS versions in The Magazine. I think it will benefit the majority of his customers: by using advanced APIs and better hardware he’ll be able to spend less time optimizing and testing stuff, and more time on great features.

2012   iPhone   reading   saying no

Weekend reading of January 21—22

Good this week:

  1. Interview with Dominique Leca, one of the makers of Sparrow.
  2. “Content” Creep. Drew Breunig explains what is wrong with the word “content” (you don’t need to read the whole thing to get the main points). Перекликается с моим недавним наблюдением о платном чтиве.
  3. The myth of the page fold: evidence from user testing. Another study shows there’s nothing bad about long scrollable pages (but see also some observations of the same authors applied to online shopping, particularly number five).
  4. Why Hasn’t Safari Skyrocketed Like Chrome Has? There’s no actual answer in the post, but it’s interesting nevertheless. For me the problem with Safari is that it’s too conservative and is developed very slowly. Separate address and search is a fail. I’d love to switch to Chrome, but it can’t sync bookmarks with iOS.
  5. Vladimir Putin question and answer session in Russia. Guardian’s live text coverage of “A talk with Vladimir Putin” of December, 15th. Guys are having fun.
  6. Things I Learned Doing Responsive Web Design. Brent Simmons writes about today’s web. Some 15 years after Russians, the world starts to get it right.
  7. Optimal Form. Stuyvesant Parker makes a reasonable case for that Samsung copying Apple is fine.
2012   design   reading