Daily nuggets of inspiration from the good folk
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To promote its new Office 365 software, Microsoft placed an ad with free wifi in a special edition of Forbes magazine. (Nice spot, Alex.)
The ad was made up of four pages, with a super-skinny router and battery packed in between. After activating the wifi, readers could get online for free (thanks to T-Mobile) for 15 days, wherever they took the magazine.
They could also charge phones and tablets on-the-go, by lifting a flap in the paper and connecting to a mini USB cable. Now that’s worth a read.
The Clickable Paper app takes QR codes to a new level – enabling commercial printers and publishers to offer new multichannel features to their customers (Nice one, Toddy). With the click of a smartphone at any printed surface, people are directed to a wealth of related online content – from videos and games to social media.
Clickable Paper links print readers to multiple sources of digital information, while requiring practically no ‘real estate’ on the printed document. Not only is this more visually appealing, but it also enables people to enhance and update previously printed documents with the Clickable Paper technology – a feature unheard of with QR codes.
Look out for the December issue of many Conde Nast magazines, including Wired, The New Yorker, Vogue and Glamour. For one issue only, these covers will resemble Windows 8 Start screens – as part of the company’s initiative to inform readers about its content on the new platform. The cover attachments aren’t paid ads for Microsoft – these can be found inside the magazines. Instead, the covers are coordinated with them.
A few months ago, The Drum magazine asked me to pick a great British design classic. Where do you begin? Poster designs, packaging, products, architecture…the choice is huge. In addition, I didn’t want to pick anything too obvious – like a Dyson vacuum, or even something more current like Heatherwick Studio’s design for the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai expo in 2010 (which is fantastic).
I eventually settled on the original Penguin Classics/books, because for me they satisfy two areas. Firstly, the aesthetic – but then the clincher, they also create an emotional connection that goes beyond the rational and can be quite personal to the individual. For me, this is the bit that goes the extra mile and creates something people fall in love with.
Penguin paperbacks were originally born in 1934, created by publisher Allen Lane. At the time, if you wanted a good book you either needed to earn a lot of money or have a library card. There were paperbacks available, but they were really poor quality. After visiting Agatha Christie in Devon then trying and failing to purchase a novel in a train station (they only had magazines and reprints of Victorian novels), Lane’s idea was born.
The design was to fall under the artistic direction of Swiss typographer Jan Tschichold (who was based in London at the time) and was colour-coded into genres. It’s a simple design that has endured the years and become an iconic symbol of popular culture. The titles have reflected changes in our attitudes through the years, but the original design has stood fast, and only in recent years has it become a canvas for the talents of new designers.
More recently, we have seen the vintage editions used on mugs, posters and notebooks etc, proving the nation’s love for this iconic symbol and its appeal beyond the original paperbacks.
All this raises a bigger question for the future of book design. Given the use of e-readers such as the Kindle, the opportunities for cover designs are becoming more fluid. The trend for personalisation is particularly interesting, as people can already personalise their own covers. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the future, as people seek a more personal experience from their bedtime reading.
Struggle to finish books or reluctant to try new authors? Then take note of a new invention by Argentinean publishers Eternal Cadencia: a book written in disappearing ink.
El Libro que No Puede Esperar (The Book That Can’t Wait) comes in sealed packaging. As soon as you start to turn its pages, the book begins to age, giving readers less than two months before the words fade into nothingness.
While it might sound like a needless irritation, the publishers feel strongly about boosting excitement about real (not digital) books and encouraging readers to try new authors. It might sound like something from Harry Potter, but disappearing ink is coming to a bookshelf near you!