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Visualization

The Art of Letters

A fascinating interview with the German typographer Erik Spiekerman, who was recently awarded the German Design Lifetime Achievement Award. He makes a compelling comparison between typeface design and musical performance. The score may be the same, but the meaning is different depending on how it is visually interpreted. One of the …

Off the Shelf

I like to catalogue past exhibits on artists’ books to see how the idea of the “artist book” has evolved as our ideas about the book (and its future) have evolved. See this exhibit from 2000 at MASS MoCA which had three main themes — science, travel, and the theater — and …

The Digital Book Has No Cover

My title comes from a quote from The Atlantic on the crisis in book design in an ebook world. Covers obviously cover something, so when there is no bounded space to cover, well, then the visual cues of the book are thrown way, way off. On the one hand, ebooks …

Visual Dictionary According to Google

Perhaps many of you remember those illustrated dictionaries from childhood. Now there is the Google Image Book by Ben West and Felix Heyes. It contains the first image listed for 21,000 words in the English language when entered into Google. The result? A book of bad photography, images that don’t …

The Visual Text

One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is what happens when books, in the form of electronic interfaces, become far more visual than textual. Take for example Ken Perlin’s new Pride and Prejudice interface. It allows you to see the whole book as an image in the right …

All A are not B

An excellent new event put on by Triple Canopy on the aesthetic dimensions of the “diagram.” As they write: Approaching the diagram in such a way—as an epistemological figure—means questioning the nature of relationships between things and how we perceive them, and how we understand our own subjectivity in relation …

The Shape of the Book

Some visually piquant photographs of imaginary libraries from Jean François Rauzier. They’re an interesting combination of the architectural impossibilities of Piranesi mixed with the large scales of iterative forms of Andreas Gursky. Above all, there is a bookish logic at work here with the conjunction of the perspectivally flat with …