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Posted March 23, 2011
The nine chapter titles of the Content indicate the scope of the material as well as the shift in the regard of these with many contemporary popular and trade publications: Editorial Concept, Idea; Object; Structure; Navigation; Typography; Layout, Grid; Cover; Visual Language; The Next Chapter. Although some such as Editorial Concept, Typography, and Layout are traditional terms, the text and visual material of the respective chapters present the latest concepts and practices in these areas. Other terms such as Navigation and Visual Language are ones from computer use, especially website considerations and design, which are influencing periodicals newspapers, and books. "From the positioning of pull quotes to the different styles of page numbering, from the artful use of psychological techniques to lead the reader's eye into the story, to the ever-improving art of typography..." from Andrew Losowsky's "Introduction" specifies some of the details being affected by the ideas, concepts, and techniques in the chapters.
While innovative and experimental design practices are being freely used by print publications, this is to enhance for the reader and to distinguish for reasons of market identity and competition what are meant to be basically print publications. As Losowsky also writes, "To argue that print will be entirely replaced by technology is to repeat a hugh misunderstanding of one of the more fundamental aspects of printing. Because a book, a newspaper, a magazine are themselves pieces of technology, honed by centuries of skill and imagination." Professionals in the publishing field are instinctively aware of this, and implement the latest practices to make text more appealing and possibly more informative in subtle or implicit ways, not to overshadow or replace it.
The references and knowledge base for any publishing professional's tasks cannot help but be increased with this work. For students and beginners in the field, the organization and content are like a course in the latest practices, with the last chapter--"The Next Chapter"--by far the longest a signpost to coming practices and novel types of publications. For example, Pulp is a new type of travel guide which features a crime novel with actual locations followed by promotions of these. This idea thus brings together the popular literature field of crime fiction with information for tourists adding an extra dimension to each of the elements. A multi-language fashion magazine, publications showcasing new artistic talent, and self-published works are among other types to be found in this chapter.
Although "Turning Pages" is about ninety percent visual, its text should not be overlooked. More than simply captions for the visual material, related text notes what to look for in the visual material and often explains its purpose and source. Apart from annotation-like text, there are also interspersed editorial commentary and quotes by designers, typographers, and other professionals whose work is displayed. In short, the text is instructive.
The relevance and even value of this book for getting abreast of the state-of-the-art work being done in the publishing field mostly in Europe and to a lesser-extent the United States cannot be overstated. Professionals and talented students and newcomers in the field would be missing something by not going through this work with keen attention.