书评 | oprah time | 서평 艺术与设计 | design | 예술과 디자인

Type Matters by Jim Williams

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Why would I care about a book like Type Matters? Back at the beginning of the PC era; Apple sought to differentiate itself through its understanding of design. Steve Jobs had the Macintosh team apply the knowledge he’d gained dropping into a college course on typography. Fonts and kerning became important.

Type Matters

Jobs also drove his team to distraction. The original Macintosh operating system had a 2D graphics library called QuickDraw that was a core part of the system. It could create primitive objects such as lines, rectangles, polygons and arcs. Jobs berated his developers. They didn’t have an oval or a rounded rectangle in its capabilities. He took them outside looked around the real world and pointed these shapes out to them.

Decades later, we care about the principles of UX; but don’t pay quite the same attention to typography. Books are often designed to be to be read on screen and then a paper version is printed from the same layout. Often the sole consideration that will be given to typography will be by the digital designer who will be wondering what web font will be used. Spacing and kerning won’t have that much attention paid to it. Instead we accept ‘good enough’ in the way that the word appears on the web or in an app.

Which is where I think Type Matters comes in. Jim Williams brings decades of experience of graphic design to the book. The book is a thin Moleskine sized volume that provides a good guide to fonts and their use. It’s a book that is easy to read cover-to-cover, or dip in and out of as you feel like it.

It combines good design practice with a history lesson on the elements and consideration of putting words on a page: whether its made of velum, paper or pixels. Williams’ writing is accessible for the non-designer. It provides a better understanding about readability and legibility considerations. More design related posts here.

书评 | oprah time | 서평 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술

The Bhutto Dynasty – The Struggle for Power in Pakistan by Owen Bennett-Jones

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Before reading The Bhutto Dynasty I knew very little about Pakistan. The story of the Bhutto family is a story of fierce ambition with bursts of hubris. But it is also the tale of the moghul empire of pre-Raj India, British rule and post-colonial Pakistan.

The Bhutto Dynasty
The Bhutto Dynasty

The Bhuttos have been at the centre of Pakistan government. It is an interesting parallel to the Nehru-Gandhi family in India.

The author Owen Bennett-Jones has had access to the family and its wider circle of friends in writing this book. Combining that with a long time covering Pakistani current affairs for the BBC and you end up with an informative book.

The Bhutto family power base comes from being land owners and being able to rely on a block of local voters. The feudal nature of their power base was important before, during and after British rule. These votes were often achieved through means, rather like the British rotten boroughs.

A second aspect of their success was their ability to change and adapt. Bennett-Jones talks about how they adapted and thrived using the British legal system. They also shifted their allegiances to match where Pakistan was going. Being recognised for their support to the British Empire to supporting Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Or from founding a political party that engaged with China, to becoming a centre right party.

I would have liked to know more about the Pakistani effort to develop nuclear weapons. As an outsider, this was the biggest event since independence for Pakistan.

It was fascinating how different members of the Bhutto family consistently under-estimated rivals. This was usually because they had a blind spot for clerics, the uneducated and of lower social standing.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto grossly underestimated his own choice for chief of army staff. General Zia went on to depose Bhutto and bring in ten years of military government.

He compromised on laws sought by muslim clerics and was surprised when they were back demanding more, instead of appreciating what he’d given them. His daughter Benazir Bhutto underestimated the risk of her religious opponents and was assassinated by suicide bombers prepared by the Taliban.

I found The Bhutto Dynasty as a good introduction to South Asian history; rather than just a family biography. There are a number of aspects that I would like to understand more about. In particular, the rise of extreme political Islam, the India – Pakistan conflict, Pakistan’s relationship with China and the Pakistani nuclear programme. More book reviews here.

书评 | oprah time | 서평 商业 | business | 상업 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 消费者行为 | consumer behaviour | 소비자 행동 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅

Consumerology by Philip Graves

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Consumerology taps into Phil Graves experience as a consultant on consumer behaviour.

In the book, he draws on experience in retail marketing and classic marketing case studies such as New Coke. These examples show the numerous ways in which marketing fails to understand consumers.

Consumerology by Philip Graves

Much of the tried and true testing methods used make consumer marketing decisions have their own built in biases and affect the results that marketers use to base major decisions on.

AFECT criteria

In Consumerology, Graves recommends a set of criteria to assess any research project against. The more that the research project aligns with these principles, the less likely it is to be adversely affected by consumer or marketer bias.

A – Analysis of behavioural data. Does the research look at consumer behaviour or not? If it doesn’t look at some aspect of consumer behaviour, it isn’t valuable.

F – Where the consumers in the right frame of mind? Where they observed whilst in a retail experience, making a purchase?

E – Environment. What is the context of the content. Research that isn’t observational / behavioural in nature should at least be done where retail decisions happen. Environment is bound together with frame of mind.

C – Covert study. Being aware of being observed affects behaviour. Think about the use of close circuit TV and fisheye mirrors to try and prevent casual shoplifting.

T – Timeframe. Did the timeframe of the study match the timeframe that consumers would typically use themselves?

Other book reviews here.