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The Books:
We have seven books to read for this class—the order has changed slightly from the syllabus due to problems with procurement. The books are listed in the order in which I read them, accompanied with commentary.

  1. The Non–Designers Type Book, Robin Williams:
    Excellent introduction to type—I will never look at a printed page in the same way again—blast, these em dashes are moer time consuming, but I weem to have the hang of them. I was much more impressed by this book than by The Non–Designer's Web Book, possibly because I was much less familiar with the topic. I have been aware of type for a long while due to my interest in web page and book design, but I never got much beyond the font selection stage. This book has opened up wide new vistas, though I doubt I will be incorporating the wilder type–design examples used in the book any time soon. Robin williams, has encouraged me to be more aware of my font selections and to be more conficent in them... I really liked some of the quotes used in the book;

    Boldness Has Genius,bla
    And Magic In It.


  2. Illuminating Letters, Paul Gutjahr, et al.:
    This book is a collection of essays about the power of typography in shaping the meaning of a text. Particularly interesting are the introduction and its survey of typography and the essays by Gutjahr on the history of typography in the printing of the St. James Bible and how this affects and reflects the current interpretation of the text, Sarah Kelen's discussion of how type can be used to create objective distance in readers from the subject of the printed work, and Gene Kannenberg's essay on the tyography of comics. Note:Remember Isaiah Thomas—Colnial American self–made man, idealis, and philanthropist. He produced the first American edition of the King James Bible in 1791 with the express purpose of showing that American products were as good as anything coming out of Great Britain. This edition was widely acclaimed as the most beautiful book ever printed in AmericaBenjamin Franklin himself praised the work.

  3. The Story of A, Patricia Crain:
    A history of the alphabetization of America in the period from 1650 through 1850. Very interesting discussion of the history of the teaching of the alphabet in America, higihlighting the forms of the books, images and rhymes associated with individual letters, and the alphabet itself. Crain goes on to note the increasingly gendered rendering of the alphabet and the teaching of literacy beginning in the 1840s as part of the cultural transformation of the roles of women occuring during the same period. Women were considered the trustees of the new generation of Republicans commited to democracy. Crain begins to lose me when she starts talking about the eroticization of the alphabet, however, making the last few chapters of the book quite difficult to get through...

  4. Photoshop Retouching & Restoring, Katrin Eismann:
    This book is an excellent guide to using photoshop—lots of good advice, clear, straightforward examples, and written in an accessible manner. Eismann encourages the reader to experiment with different methods to touch–up photos, constantly reinforcing the fact that photoshop offers multiple pathways to improving images—and that experimentation is the best way to learn photoshop.

  5. Visual Explanations, Edward R. Tufte:
    Interesting—a book about images and quantities, the history of the use of images to quantify reality.
  6. Don't Make Me Think, Stephen Krug:
    An excellent work written by a webpage usability expert on how to produce usable webpages. Krug sets out a number of principles for the development, production, and testing of webpages. The book uses commercial websites for its examples, but the principles discussed apply across the board to all presentations on the internet. Particularly useful are the guidelines for useability testing for organizations without a budget for testing.