Book Design in Hell

pattyfab's picture

Argh!!! The horror!!! Motivational spiritual mumbo-jumbo meets painfully hideous design. I can't believe this guy has a job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpNnbNonlA4&feature=related

Si_Daniels's picture

Isn't that one of those 'vile' videos all the cool kids are talking about?

Quincunx's picture

That dude is so boring, I can't even watch past the first minute.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I can no longer use the word hierarchy. :^\ This guy has learned some hot buzzwords. That's it.

aluminum's picture

Ha! That's crazy.

Si_Daniels's picture

It is sad :-( from this to that in 550 years of "progress".

The Don Killuminati's picture

If he invests in a nicer shirt he could be the Sam Harris of typography.

blank's picture

You know what really scares me? That there are enough book designers who didn’t learn about hierarchy and mood in Typography 101 to fill a lecture hall.

clauses's picture

I just finished all his videos. Once you get over the fact that you intensely hate him, he is more right than wrong.

Nick Shinn's picture

there are enough book designers who didn’t learn about hierarchy and mood in Typography 101 to fill a lecture hall.

That's the kind of thing I walk out of, but most people are too polite.

Don McCahill's picture

He must be a great designer ... I mean, he is wearing a black t-shirt.

aluminum's picture

Seems to be targeting the 'self help book/direct marketing' demographic. It always boggles my mind when seemingly design-savvy publications like DWELL and Print resort to crappy direct marketing mail to win over customers.

bojev's picture

I agree with Nick - this guy is awful!

russellm's picture

I dunno - I'm sort of all for "a unique wavy shape that sets a vibrational frequency and brands the book instantly." Who can argue with that???? :o)

-=®=-

russellm's picture

Oh yeah, popup windows in print. I like those too.

-=®=-

Paul Cutler's picture

Are you saying he's from Norway?

pbc

jupiterboy's picture

I dunno - I’m sort of all for “a unique wavy shape that sets a vibrational frequency and brands the book instantly.” Who can argue with that???? :o)

It used to be called a radio spot.

Jackie Frant's picture

Why are we letting everyone forming our imaginations for us?

It has gotten to the point that if I want to read a news article, I can't - it only comes in video. I am reminded of music in the 1980s - I liked songs and had my own interpretation of them - and all of a sudden there was MTV. I felt sorry for the generation growing up with that music - they would never be able to go into their minds and see what could emerge.

I wrote a comment Heron2001 on that page -- and I really mean what I wrote. I think that person should first attend some classes in Education about how children are taught to read. Followed up by a trip to a bookstore to see what works and what doesn't work.

Personally, I am not about to sit down with a picture book -- and have "pop-ups" come into my life. I block them on the net - and I will block them in my reading. If I want a picture book - I shall buy one. But if I want a good read, and I want to interpret what the author has said without distraction, I'll go for the tried and true typography that will live on.

Boy is his stuff dated - anyone here using Lithos lately?... Enough. I have real work to do - real page layouts that folks are going to love looking at to read!

What ever happened to READING? Is it really gone....

Nick Cooke's picture

What a talented guy!

I'd much rather see a spread that looks like it's under water than that boring old-fashioned black-and-white format. Now I know what I've been doing wrong all these years - I must tap into my vibrational frequency and do something about my dynamism on the page; two things that I didn't even know about until now.

Thank goodness he's out there giving us the benefit of his knowledge.

It's strange that he gave no mention of taste and discernment.

Nick Cooke

dezcom's picture

"strange that he gave no mention of taste and discernment"

You can't show what you don't have!

ChrisL

pattyfab's picture

It’s strange that he gave no mention of taste and discernment.

That's because he has none.

I'm dealing with a client who also has none - he is the product of market research and focus groups. It's incredibly frustrating because he can't have a plain old reaction to anything, it's all about whether that approach has been successful in the marketplace. We're talking about cookbook design here, not branding strategy. The editor mentioned she liked the design of the Dean & Deluca cookbook and his reaction was: that's a great brand. Which misses the point.

design guild's picture

Drew
design guild

What sort of work should we expect from his followers?

Si_Daniels's picture

The guy makes the point that plain traditional book typography leaves the text open to interpretation, and doesn’t allow the author to specify the exact points they feel are important. It’s interesting that this criticism is leveled at holy books – any crackpot can read any interpretation they like into a given text. Taken to its extreme maybe we should do away with books completely and have a series of bulleted lists, or better yet a PowerPoint deck?

blank's picture

The guy makes the point that plain traditional book typography leaves the text open to interpretation, and doesn’t allow the author to specify the exact points they feel are important.

This guy is the ultimate argument against postmodern typography.

Nick Shinn's picture

Hey wait a minute, isn't this GOOD NEWS for designers!!!!

I mean, it's not like we just get to design *one page* for a paltry fee, and then an editor dumps text into the format to fill up the rest of the book.

Now we get to apply design leverage to EVERY PAGE in the product, and that means: MORE MONEY.

So why ya'll bitchin'?!?!!

blank's picture

Nick made me realize what is really going on here: this is an AIGA guerrilla marketing scheme. But they have to keep it secret, which explains why my membership dues got me some nonsense about ethnographic research producing a left-handed cup holder.

;b

jupiterboy's picture

God Nick. This all makes me think about this nutty marketing guy at a college textbook publisher I worked for. He came in with this intro Spanish book and had the on-staff book designers create every single page as if the whole project was one big Dynamite magazine. This book eventually consumed a full third of the design staff, designing and redesigning for more than two years. When it was finished the whole thing flopped.

I'm afraid there is a perception that for children to learn the entire universe must resemble a box of Lucky Charms.

Maybe we will all evolve until the phone book comes in 200 volumes and every entry resembles a MySpace page.

andyclymer's picture

Another one from the same conference,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kge4Os4gghI

Skip ahead to about 4 minutes. From her bio:

Val is the first (and still the only) female writer in 500 years to design a font for her own books, called booklady®

Anyone care to dispute this claim?

Andy

Ch's picture

one word: lithos

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

dezcom's picture

Seems to me there have been several women type designers in the past 50 years. Perhaps the deal is that none of them designed fonts purely for the purpose of setting a book they had authored. I'll just bet that hers is just so special though (the book and the face) :-)
I am REALLY digging "BookLady Passionate;-P

ChrisL

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

I am reminded of music in the 1980s - I liked songs and had my own interpretation of them - and all of a sudden there was MTV. I felt sorry for the generation growing up with that music - they would never be able to go into their minds and see what could emerge.

So true, Jackie.

Personally, I am not about to sit down with a picture book — and have “pop-ups” come into my life. I block them on the net - and I will block them in my reading.

Have you seen the commercials for Blu-Ray DVDs? More pop-ups!

Si_Daniels's picture

How many male writers have designed fonts for their own books? Not many. Anyway how about Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse?

dezcom's picture

Damn, Si, I am having enough trouble finishing a typeface, now you want me to write a book to print it with, too? Let's see, I will set it in Froggy Passionate :-)

ChrisL

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Oh my GOSH -- Tom Peters as an EXAMPLE of good book DESIGN. Wow... Now I've SEEN everything!!!

William Berkson's picture

After gradually recovering from the tramua of viewing most of this, I started googling to get the story on this crew. The leader seems to be this Kirchenbaum, who says in a self-published interview that she never had an art or design lesson in her life and is bad at dealing with technology.

She teaches middle school in New York City.

The target of her 'Beyond Guttenberg' book are self-publishers like herself, who don't know anything about design and want to learn. This talk, though, was given to the National Speakers Association, which has nothing to do with either design or publishing. It was basically showing off their skills in BS--oops I mean public speaking.

The guy in the video posted by Patty is I don't know who. The contact person at Stunning Books (they sure stun me!) who supposedly is her publisher is called Martin Rimm. Perhaps the other videos mention who the speaker is, if not him.

I don't know if it's the same guy, but there is a Martin Rimm who was an engineering undergrad at Carnegie Mellon who in 1995 wrote an infamous research report about internet pornography, which got into the Georgetown Law Review. But though referred to by Time Magazine and quoted in Congress, it was so bogus that it led to an inquiry and criticism by the Carnegie Mellon faculty. This same Martin Rimm seems to be the author of the book "The Pornographer's Handbook: How to Exploit Women, Dupe Men, & Make Lots of Money".

I find all this information strangely reassuring. So Patty, you might breathe a little easier, as I have, knowing that in all likelihood this crew has never been hired by anybody to design anything.

I have some snake oil that I might contact them about selling, though.

Nick Shinn's picture

Good point Si.
Can't think of too many books written by the person who designed the type.
William Morris, of course. Several of his fantasy works, and poetry too.
"Goudy's Type Designs" is written by him, and set in his Italian Old Style. Does that count?
Didn't Eric Gill publish the odd tract set in Perpetua?

Scott Richardson, creative director at Random House Canada, has recently written a novel--but I don't think he designed it. Unless one is self-publishing, this sort of thing can be tricky, politically!
http://www.quillandquire.com/authors/profile.cfm?article_id=7544

clauses's picture

I don't think the the Martin Rimm of stunningbooks.com is the porno dude. In one of the videos he mentioned that he had been a student of Milton Glaser [sic]. Anyhoot, another woman involved in this is Ruth Rimm (wife?), and I found this stunning press release about her endeavours into postmodern [sic] design.

Si_Daniels's picture

The dedication to investigative journalism exhibited by typophile members warms my heart - keep up the good work. These people need to be exposed.

eliason's picture

Didn’t Eric Gill publish the odd tract set in Perpetua?

Certainly, quite a few.

William Berkson's picture

>In one of the videos he mentioned that he had been a student of Milton Glaser

The site goodbyegutenberg.com also quotes Milton Glaser as saying of the book: "Bursting with information and ideas!"

Call me a cynic, but I don't believe it.

Si_Daniels's picture

“Bursting with information and ideas!”

The yellow pages?

chn's picture

"Dear Friend,
I am a high school teacher at a public school in the Bronx, not a salesperson, so I can’t give you a "sales pitch" here. I can only tell you a little more about this first edition, what makes it so special, and why at this price it is an amazing bargain".

I thought this quote about her Goodbye Gutenberg book was funny after watching her video.

e_roc's picture

Excuse me for just jumping in here, but I can't resist commenting on something like this. Apparently, Milton Glaser really likes this Goodbye Gutenberg Book.

http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/01295.htm

"...what world renowned graphic designer Milton Glaser described as 'the visual history of the universe and its relationship to writing.' "

"Bursting with information and ideas."
Milton Glaser, world renowned graphic designer

ugh.

Scalfin's picture

This person should take a lesson from comic books: you do not put text directly on an image.
I've though about how one might do this, as I have considered creating something between comic and fully textual, but I can't think of any reliable way.

Images are a boon for things that are presented factually, and the writers of such works should take a lesson from scientific articles and use plentiful pictures, diagrams, sketches (this one is also good for first person accounts before the creation of popular photography, when sketching was considered a crucial skill), and charts.

design guild's picture

As a snotty Canadian I could not help but note their distribution strategy...

"This special limited first edition of Goodbye Gutenberg is being made available to United States customers only."

Hmm pity.

daniele capo's picture

Futurist Typography in the Age of Electronic Reproduction.

ebensorkin's picture

"There's a new one born every minute" is what comes to mind most.

aluminum's picture

"Among her many accomplishments, she is the first female writer in 500 years to design a font for her own book"

???

David Rault's picture

How old is Milton Glaser, again?

dr

blank's picture

How old is Milton Glaser, again?

Not old enough to have a senior moment like that!

This special limited first edition of Goodbye Gutenberg is being made available to United States customers only.

Maybe Canadian customs has started confiscating really tacky stuff.

dezcom's picture

Maybe Glaser was taken out of context with “Bursting with information and ideas.”?
If you add some more words the meaning changes quickly:
“Bursting with information and ideas...” which make you want to throwup!

ChrisL

PS: Milton must be 30 years older than I am and that makes him quite capable of a senior moment :-)

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