Judging Books By Their Covers (and Page Edges)

I’m terrible for judging books by their covers. It’s precisely how I make my first decision about whether or not I’m going to enjoy them.

This technique may have been around for ages, but it was new to me on Saturday. It’s using coloured page edges on paperbacks. The first one I saw was this, with jet black pages:

Jet Black Pages

It looked quite lovely with the deep red and gold. And when you turn it edge on it’s such a deep powdery black that it almost removes light. It’s a really nice effect.

Jet Black Pages

Then I came across this blue one which I also liked a lot:

Beautiful Blue Pages

I wondered if it was just a thing that Canongate had done for Scarlet Thomas until I saw this:

More black pages

For Penguin in a totally different book shop.

I’m probably well behind and everyone’s been rolling out coloured pages for ages. But because I normally get books from Amazon it’s rare that I get to see books that I don’t own edge on.

I’ve been missing out.

Urban Play Amsterdam – Moving Forest


I was in Amsterdam at the weekend and was lucky enough to pass through a bunch of things that were going on as part of the Urban Play festival.

I particularly liked the mobile forest.

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

Urban Play Amsterdam - Moving Forest

I’m not sure it was supposed to be this mobile…

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

But when I spotted this lone tree in a courtyard it all seemed to make sense for a brief moment…

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

Also liked the Cycle Recycle Cycle thing where you could pimp your old bike Bollywood style…

Cycle Recycle - Urban Play Amsterdam

Cycle Recycle - Urban Play Amsterdam

And then there’s the sad story of Sagmeister’s coins…

Urban Play Amsterdam - Sagmeister Was Here

If you want to see the whole story you can check out this video…

What I’m Feeling About Webby Connect

Zi6_0086

It’s interesting. But through the sessions it’s becoming very clear that it’s a world of 2 halves.

One half is people who believe that it’s just business as normal. Everything conforms to the old rules in the end. It’s all about talent, content, films and monetization through advertising. And things like fragmentation are just are just an irksome inconvenience than can be sorted out later using old-school big money hammers. There’s glimpses of new thinking. But rightly or wrongly there’s lots of clinging to old stuff too.

Examples:
http://lstudio.lexus.com
http://www.inthemotherhood.com/
http://www.thewb.com

Photo 8

The other world is made up of designers, inventors and entrepreneurs. People who love making things. Guys who understand online culture and user experience. They value simplicity, focus, single mindedness and more often than not have built something for themselves that it turns out (and I don’t think by accident) other people love too.

Examples:
http://www.muxtape.com
http://www.mint.com
http://www.tumblr.com
http://www.aaronkoblin.com/
http://www.hulger.com

And then there’s the anomalies. Guys like the New York Times who you’d expect to be in the first group, but quite brilliantly exist fairly firmly in the second.

I’m not saying that one or other of the groups is necessarily right or wrong. They can both be right and do their thing. But one costs less, is more fun and feels like the spot where ‘real’ creativity is occurring.

I’m talking tomorrow. Eek.

The Taxi Driver’s Question

cab 666

I just lazily took a cab ride from the other side of town back home (and it wasn’t the taxi of the beast as pictured above – that was the first picture I found on Flickr). Anyway…

The cab driver was a chatty and charming young guy. He asked me what I did. I tried to explain, wriggling hard not to fall back on the easy (but commonly understood) ‘web design’ answer. We were chatting around it. Then, just as I’d paid him a fiver, he dropped an awesome question:

do you need knowledge or imagination to do what you do?

I feebly answered ‘a bit of both’.

What a brilliantly insightful question. And one that I’m going to ponder a bit.

Reusing not Recycling

RIMG0290

Just realised I posted a dumb comment over on Ben’s blog. He’d blogged about how we should re-use our Amazon boxes and how it’d be better than recycling.

I commented about how I’d cleverly thought of re-using some Innocent pots the other day. Not realising that Innocent would have course suggested this on their packaging. Doh!

Innocent Pots Re-use ideas

You could almost hate them sometimes couldn’t you?

The pots are quite tasty by the way.