| October 26, 2010 2:37 am

Note: Still working on the book.  Making progress, hope to be finished very soon.  (Very, very soon.)  Regular programming will resume when the draft is sent to the editors.

There’s nothing like a deadline to throw you into pandemonium and confusion.  I am trying to finish up the chapters on stuff and things, and I’ve found myself deeply conflicted on what I want to do and how I want to do it.

I can take one of several paths, but all options require compromises which don’t excite me.  And due to the need to actually finish sometime in my lifetime, I’m going to have to cut material.  I’ve already made really deep cuts and  now it’s time for more.  Without supporting bits (already cut) I’ve discovered that a lot of remaining material doesn’t make sense.

This is painful, because I thought the material lovely, interesting and essential.  The bits were amongst my favorites, and I hate to see them go.  (But then, after you’ve worked on a book for a year, you lose any semblance of objectivity. Ideas are like your children, cutting them feels tantamount to murder.)

One piece that I had and really liked was a bit about the history and evolution of type, particularly how new letterforms allowed for new stories and types of ideas.  Then, I removed much of the surrounding material and the graphics no longer make sense.

But some of the ideas are nifty, and I’m always a sucker for history of any kind, so I’m making a last minute salvage attempt.

What do you think of the layout below?  (PDF to be found here.)  Is it too dense?  Are there too many words?  Does it work?  Does it help to tell a (somewhat butchered) story?  Opinions, thoughts and critiques welcome.

Comments

2 Responses to “Deeply Conflicted”

menelic wrote a comment on October 26, 2010

I like the idea of presenting the history of type like that – and I think the section on “how new letterforms allowed for new stories and types of ideas” should definitely not be sacrificed to page limits and editors lusting to slice off sections (if thats wat drives the cutting spee).

That said, I think the layout does not really help to tell the story. I see it as a case of a great idea (the story serpentining around the illustrations) encumbered by the execution: The text does not really flow because the paragraph breaks accompanying the ilutrations are too large. At first glance, the text does appear as unconnected chunks explaining the illustrations rather than as text. After realising the chunks are connected, the reader is drawn into a bumpy read: Especially after the sentence …it gave the text the appearance of refined handwriting” its not clear where to continue and how trhe fwolowing chunks connect. This could however be adressed with a tighter and more organic text flow which leads the eyes.

That said, I hope you will refine the idea for inclusion in the book. With the increasing availability of myriads of fonts, a few words on hstory, design, uses and qualities would certainly be useful. An inclusion of high quality free fonts such as linux libertine, gentium (http://forums.pcpitstop.com/index.php?/topic/175598-free-software-fonts/) etc.

Rob Oakes wrote a comment on October 26, 2010

@menelic: Thanks for the ideas and review Particularly the feedback on the layout.

Unfortunately, there were several reasons I had to cut the material. Length was only one consideration. The need for review, revision and so forth were also factors, as were the comments of people who have read those chapters.

The biggest motivator, however, was to finish the book. It’s great stuff (I wrote it, after all, so it must be), but the artwork needed has resulted in delays and has prevented other parts from being completed. As much as I have loved working on this book, it’s come to the point where I need to finish it.

All of the research is still intact, and I’ll probably sweep many portions into an essay for separate publication. Maybe in a journal, there is a fantastic new bit journal that just launched on scientific communication. Or, I might post it here. Or I might put together a typeset essay and post it that way. I still haven’t decided. I have no intention of throwing it away, however.

Re: Fonts

The use of high quality free fonts and other design elements is covered in layout/design Notes about usage have been added. They are still in draft form, I am hoping to finish that section this weekend.

Care to comment?