Saturday, May 24, 2003

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fun with design, several years too late

The local library has a strange mix of books. Some are impressively recent and trendy, and some are astoundingly old, antiquated even. Books on how to pass the Foreign Service Exam of 1983, for example.

I had fun with this when I poked around the graphic design and illustration books. I found a book called Complete Studio Tips for Artists and Graphic Designers by Bill Gray and took it home for a flip-through. It turned out that the book was written in 1996 and is entirely devoted to non-computerized graphic design and illustration. Sample tip sections: "How to prevent things from sliding off the drawing board," "What to do if you spill rubber cement," "How to retouch a photo with laundry bleach," and "How to position art in your own photostat machine." It's fascinating to see the history of this field represented in minutiae like this. Nowadays it's more likely to be "How to kern properly in InDesign" or "How to get the most of your burned CDs."

However, at the same time, there are two other reasons that this book will stick in my head, and they're unfortunate ones. First, all text in the book appears to be handwritten in some kind of oblique or calligraphy hand. It looks like a letter to someone's grandma, and it's a bitch to read! C'mon, guys, you can cough up for some proper typesetting.

Second, in the section on "How to identify the major styles of lettering," I came across this example and laughed for about half an hour afterwards:

Say Your Piece

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