June 18th, 2007

Apollo 4 on column of fire

Teaching bad design?

Is it just me or is practically every book on layout that’s out there (aside from Tschichold’s The New Typography, if it is in print) badly laid out—fragmented, uncertain as to order of reading, extremely inefficient in the use of paper, etc., etc.? I’m having no luck at Amazon when I use the ‘Look Inside’ feature, the books all seem to suck; I’m starting to think that Bringhurst’s is the best designed one out there, and so is worthy of more respect than I have given it. Is this how they teach design in schools? Perhaps it is significant that Bringhurst (like Donald Knuth, actually) is a writer who lays out his books, not a book designer as such.

(I guess I should rephrase that as ‘aside from Tschichold and Bringhurst’, though I haven’t bothered to see whether the English edition of Tschichold is currently in print. I got mine at the Walker Art Center bookstore many years ago.)