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Digitization and the (Vanishing) Arts of the Book

Nov 02, 2009, 17:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

"Indeed, fifteen years into the ever wonderful, ever widening world of the Web, we are treated to hideously cluttered home pages at news sites that seek to cram as many topics onto a single screen as are spread across the first two sections of a newspaper. Even the stylish New Yorker, which has lovingly preserved its original type faces and layouts in its print edition with few changes (and those of equal flair) throughout its near-century of existence, presents an on-line cover to the world that would send founding editor Harold Ross into an apoplectic fit. And this despite the fact that it is a destination site, with no need to act as a Google magnet, or any reason to fear that visitors will refuse to invest an extra click to take them another page deeper into the riches they have arrived to enjoy.

"Worst of all, of course, is Google, whose Spartan presentation (calling it a style would be oxymoronic) takes the functional beyond austere to the brutally mechanistic. Try any search at the Google home page and the results will make your eyes ache. The only tiny concessions to the concept of graphic design are the corporate logo, and the pale blue divider bar spanning the top of the page. Nothing, it seems, can compare in priority to appeasing the god of fast loading speeds, or rise to the visual importance of the raw display of data."

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