Expert Read | Grafik

Expert Read | Grafik

Vienna-based designer and typographer Paulus Dreibholz has published a beautiful volume all about that fundamental human activity, reading.


Along with music, architecture, literature, acting, dance and other cultural activities, typography claims only a small niche in the totality of human communication and interaction. However, due to its direct relationship to language, its complexity and ubiquity, its influence on our society and our society’s consciousness and development, typography constitutes an interesting and significant element of social life.

Typography is a wholly cultural phenomenon. Invented and refined by human beings, moulded to their needs and developed by their interaction with it, typography allows people to communicate across space and time. Typography cultivates and is cultivated: we form it and it (in)forms us.

Although man-made, typography is not exclusively based on learned, abstract knowledge: its influence and strength draw on our innate abilities to perceive and read. The purpose of the following text is to recall these skills, to make them conscious once again, with the ultimate goal of turning them into tools that designers can actively use in their work.
Reading and meaning

One of the most striking characteristics of human beings, and probably the biggest difference between humans and animals, is humans’ developed ability to communicate. The exchange of information – whether real or hypothetical, whether within ourselves or with others – allows us to establish distance between our being and our thoughts, and makes it possible to expand our consciousness in new ways. There is no such thing as communication without meaning (since even meaningless communication is open to interpretation). As a reciprocal process, however, communication begins first with the reading of meaning and not with the sending of information. Only when something has meaning can I see it, try to understand it and accordingly construct my own message. Because of this, I believe it makes sense to consider first the process of reading and to return to the process of design later.

The ability to recognise meaning and allocate it correctly is the basic requirement of semiotics, the study of meaning generally, and thus also of semantics, the linguistic study of meaning. Without this capacity to interpret there would be no meaning, no content to messages and no sense; only formal relationships and empty constructions containing neither purposeful nor coincidental relevance would exist. Meaning arises during the processes of reading, in particular the processes of acquiring and interpreting information. Let us examine the misunderstandings that result from two often prematurely drawn conclusions with regards to this process. The first preconception deals with the relationship between the reader and the word.

In conventional use, we take the written word as a precondition for the process of ‘reading’, and with that we leap directly to typography, the study of the printed word. This is, however, a premature connection, since reading encompasses more than the reading of letters. The verb ‘to read’ is the root for many characteristic modifications, as in ‘a reading’ or ‘the reader’. And, indeed, reading refers to the processing of more than only the written message. (The term ‘literacy’, incidentally, also alludes to media in general and not only to typographic messages, just as texts and other written messages, works of art, experiences and developments can also be read.) This broader definition of reading is not exclusive to the English language: in German, one also speaks, for example, of reading traces or tracks (Spurenlesen), likewise activities that have nothing to do with the written word.

But what exactly does it mean to read, to decipher or to interpret? What processes do we set in motion, which of these are automatically triggered: what happens to us when we read?

The Do Book Co. – Do Design – Why beauty is key to everything

The Do Book Co. – Do Design – Why beauty is key to everything

Do Design: Why beauty is key to everything.

‘The act of creating something of beauty is a way of bringing good into the world. Infused with optimism, it says simply: life is worthwhile’. Alan Moore’s new book is set to inspire us to make better things, for better reasons.

Whether it’s a website, a handmade chair, or a business – we are encouraged to ask: is it useful and considered. Is it a thing of beauty? And this isn’t some throw away remark about a sunset or pretty dress. It’s the idea of creating something that might endure – often beyond the lives of its creators.

One example in the book – as seen here – is Fred and Hugo at Blitz Motorbikes building motorcycles from discarded parts – giving new life, energy and purpose to old bikes. Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, describes the book as, ‘An excellent guide to the essence of beauty – the freedom to create it and an argument for its power and importance to the soul.’

a16z Podcast: Finally a Tablet that Replaces Your Laptop by a16z

When the iPad first came out in 2010 there was chatter that went in two directions:

1. It’s just a big iPhone
2. I’ll never carry a laptop again

Both were wrong. The big iPhone comment was quickly dispelled as people (and their kids) fell under the consumption thrall of iPads. But iPads never could meet the needs of most laptop users –- until now.

Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky offer their reasons why the iPad Pro hits the mark as a machine for all kinds of things, and why it may have shoved their own laptops aside for almost everything.

Man selling $100,000 collection of 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters / Boing Boing

Man selling $100,000 collection of 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters / Boing Boing

Craiglist has something wonderful on it: a vast collection of more than 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters, including accessories and marketing literature.

“My collection consists of over 600 typewriter items including the company’s first typewriter in the 1880’s to one of the company’s last typewriters in 2000’s and all models in between, along with all types of items that correspond to the typewriters, including ads, accessories, displays, documents, manuals, photos, shipping crates, etc. Smith Corona’s products are beautiful, interesting, unique, colorful, and when displayed, fun to look at.

I collected the typewriters and related items from 44 of the 50 United States, Washington DC, four Canadian provinces and three foreign countries. I only purchased museum quality items, so the collection would make an instant museum. The collection includes many rare and valuable items.

I have decided it is time to sell the collection.

The collection is a nice financial investment that consistently increases in value over time due to a large international typewriter collectors market. The collection will only increase in value over time.”

Some of our books live on | Five Simple Steps

When we decided to close Five Simple Steps, we made the decision to hand back the rights to each book to its relevant author. We are delighted that many authors

Source: Some of our books live on | Five Simple Steps

When we decided to close Five Simple Steps, we made the decision to hand back the rights to each book to its relevant author.

We are delighted that many authors have chosen to re-publish their work, some even making updates. Here we intend to list these books along with links to their new homes.

CSS3 Layout Modules – Rachel Andrew
Designing for the Web – Mark Boulton
Colour Accessibility
– Geri Coady
HTML Email – Andy Croll
Effective Workshops – Alison Coward
Web Performance – Andy Davies
Front-End Style Guides – Anna Debenham
Writing in Markdown
– Matt Gemmell
CSS Animations – Val Head
The Icon Handbook
– Jon Hicks
Psychology for Designers – Joe Leech
Sketchnoting – Kevin Mears
Building a device lab – Destiny Montague & Lara Hogan
Practical Responsive images – Ben Seymour
Working with Brand & Design Guidelines – Rachel Shillcock
The Craft of Words -The Standardistas
Creating Symbol Fonts – Brian Suda
Designing with Data – Brian Suda
International User Research – Chui Chui Tan
Version Control with Git – Ryan Taylor
Interviewing for Research – Andrew Travers
Web App Success – Dan Zambonini

The Little Book of Design Research Ethics

The Little Book of Design Research Ethics

This one is about ethical practices in design research. It covers the principles that guide our interactions as we search for insight. It’s written for everyone at IDEO and for all the people we work with—those we learn from, and those we teach.

We’ve distilled lessons learned—as you’ll see, sometimes the hard way—from more than a quarter-century of experience and dozens of stories from the field. We’ve integrated advice and recommendations from external sources too from ethicists and from existing codes of ethics in related professions, such as journalism and market research.

Principles of Mobile App Design: Engage Users and Drive Conversions – Think with Google

Principles of Mobile App Design: Engage Users and Drive Conversions – Think with Google

In a crowded market, how does an app attract new customers, gain loyalty, and deliver value? With great design for a delightful app experience.

Here, Google’s UX Research Lead Jenny Gove will take you through 25 principles to build an app that helps users achieve what they’re looking to do.