We've all seen them since first grade- initially they used to bear beautiful illustrations and colorful content at which we could glare all day, such were their appeal. As we grew older, they grew bigger, and the pictures vanished, making room for uninterrupted lines of text and more text. I'm talking about our text books, our old pals who'd stay up late on days before exams during all-nighters, yet at the year end look brand new and untouched by human hands.
I've been issued my set of material for the IPCC (shown above) yesterday. To say the least, I was stunned on seeing its sheer volume, as were my friends. The very thought of covering them all within nine months was depressing. And then to cool me down, I thought of viewing them from a designer perspective, and arrived at the following goofy yet interesting observations:
- Each subject follows a color code when it comes to the cover, enabling us to pick out our choice easily.
- The covers have a sleek and modern look, which is good.
- The covers might be a little confusing with "Paper-1, Volume-II, Part-3…" on every one of them.
- The entire design and layout is minimalist, appropriate for text-books.
- Headings, paragraphs and tables stick to a solid hierarchy.
- Numbering of pages is convincingly done in a "Chapter-no. Page-no" format.
- Tables are in plenty, and pretty consistent in style. Graphs and charts are a rarity.
- The whole set of books is set in a sans-serif font, which in my opinion is quite unsuitable for print, especially for text books. While sans-serifs may suit the screen media, serifs are less straining to the eyes and more pleasant to stare at in the print media. Most standard texts and other books follow this practice in their typography, sadly not these.
- Even in theory-based books like that of Law, the whole text runs from left to right of the page and are not split into columns like in a newspaper. Another let-downer for me.
- They all smell really good (think I mentioned goofy on top!).
So these were nothing you never really knew, but I did you good by listing them out. To those of you who question the very purpose of 'viewing from a designer perspective': I agree content is king, but let's accept that the way it is presented is important too. Design matters. Hence this post :)