During my break, I had a very hard time getting back into a normal sleeping pattern. I wouldn’t have cared really, but I thought it would help with returning to a normal work schedule. During my restless nights, I tried to accomplish reading two books, Thinking With Type by Ellen Upton and CSS in 24 Hours by Kynn Bartlett. Both are interesting and help-full, but when it came to grabbing one over the other, there was a preference.
Now, I don’t have a particular interest in type and I tend to struggle with it, so I figured a little reading on it would help me out. I don’t think CSS is the most interesting thing in the world either, but I know I will need it later. However, I was consistently drawn to the type book – take a look at the picture, can you blame me?
Both covers are very simple, and both consist of topics that are have structural and aesthetic elements. However, the similarities end there. Plain and simply stated, why do computer books have to be so ugly? I know the CSS is a book that will be obsolete in a short period of time, but I don’t think that’s any excuse.
They’re right, after all, about the obsolete thing…when I am finished with this, it will go in the pile of ugly Adobe in a Classroom books in my closet. It won’t resurface 10 years from now like my old high school literature books, to serve as a nostalgic icon of 2007. Maybe I’ll never finish Thinking of Type, but I’ll keep it around, maybe even leave it out in public view for others to thumb through. Books with such beauty an simplicity deserve this honor, even if I later detest type. The finish of the paper, the thoughtful layout and informative bits of visual information make this a book that gives me a sense of satisfaction in my hands. Both books were around the same price, yet I feel I have a long lasting piece of art in one book, and a temporary manual to computer-geekdom in the other. They both do their job and are successful in achieving their goal, just one does it with interest and aesthetic appeal.
Sometimes you have to judge a book by its cover. I’m in design school, after all, and i have standards for my shelf space.