Peachpit Releases Slew of Technical Books
May 19, 2003 at 02:52 pm by
New Books For Newspaper Designers
This has been an especially difficult column to write this month. I?ve tested several new software products, but none of them seemed worthwhile enough to recommend to most newspapers. I looked at a couple of products meant to make sharpening photos more accurate. Unfortunately neither of them did significantly better than Photoshop?s Unsharp Mask tool at a moderate line screen. I looked at a new software title that markets itself as a low-cost competitor to Photoshop, but couldn?t get the program to work with my scanner. I considered doing a review of Mac?s latest version of OS X, Jaguar, but realized that everybody is doing a review of Jaguar this month and most newspapers aren?t ready to make the leap to Jaguar anyway.
A Guide to Setting Perfect Type
Finally, I turned to my trusted shelf (make that shelves) of books. Each month I receive twenty or so books from publishers who specialize in titles for the computer and publishing markets. Thankfully, there were several satisfying offerings this month. The first, from Adobe Press, is The Complete Manual of Typography, by James Felici. Felici says this book, ?is about how type should look and how to make it look that way ? in other words, how to set type like a professional.? The author accomplishes his goal of explaining how to use computerized tools to achieve what he calls, ?the secret of good design: well-set type.?
A detailed index makes it easy to find focused answers to specific questions. Old-timers will appreciate the historical references. One of my favorite chapters is titled, ?Setting Type on a Personal Computer.? Less experienced page layout artists will learn much about why we do what we do in newspaper design. Frank Roman, Rochester Institute of Technology, calls The Complete Manual of Typography, ?The ultimate typographic tool: a beautiful book that pulls together everything you need to produce great typography. Available for $45 (U.S.) / $70 (Canada) from most booksellers or on the web at www.peachpit.com. ISBN 0-321-12730-7
An Updated Type Setting Classic
Adobe Press has been busy of late. Stop Stealing Sheep, Second Edition is a unique, entertaining, and educational tour through the most basic unit of written communication: type. Type experts Erik Spiekermann and E. M. Ginger explain in everyday laymen?s terms what type is and how you can use it to enhance the legibility, meaning, and aesthetic level of your work. They touch on several aspects of typography, including the history and mechanics of type, how to train your eye to recognize and choose typefaces, and how to use space and layout to improve overall communication.
This edition is revised and updated to include new chapters on Web typography and other forms of online text display. A perennial best-seller since the first edition was published in 1993, Stop Stealing Sheep will draw you in with its beautiful design and layout, which makes liberal use of more than 200 illustrations and photographs. In addition, readers will especially appreciate the many references to newspaper layout early in the book. I would suggest newspapers purchase copies of Stop Stealing Sheep for local school libraries. Available at most larger bookstores for $30 (U.S.) / $47 (Canada). www.peachpit.com. ISBN 0-201-70339-4
Increasing the Power of Quark XPress
Who would have known there were so many shortcuts available to Quark XPress users. Quark XPress Power Shortcuts, by David Blatner, claims to include every Quark shortcut ?known to humankind.? Written for both Mac and Windows users, topics include: handling palettes; shortcuts to dialog boxes, tabs and rules; easy keystrokes to open control menus; fast ways to manipulate text and pictures; even a special section on Easter Eggs. Tips which apply to version 5 of Quark XPress are identified with a special icon. The last section of the book is titled Ten Best-Kept Secrets.
This is a compact, no-frills book. Readers will quickly find what they need. Quark XPress Power Shortcuts is a ?must-have? guide for any newspaper using Quark XPress for page layout. $22 (U.S.) / $35 (Canada). For more information, go to www. peachpit.com. ISBN 0-7897-2433-2
In Photoshop, Seeing Is Believing
If you?ve read my column very long, you know that I?m a big fan of the Peachpit Press Visual Quickstart series. Photoshop 7 Visual Quickstart Guide, by Elaine Weinman and Peter Lourekas, is no disappointment. Visual Quickstart Guides work like reference books. Simply look up what you need and go straight to work. With an easy, visual approach, readers use pictures and straightforward commentary to guide them through Photoshop 7. If I only owned one Photoshop reference, this would be it. $25 (U.S.) / $39 (Canada). ISBN 0-201-88284-1