Brain Pickings

New McSweeney’s Children’s Book Uses Thermal Ink for Secret Images

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Old-school storytelling gets new-school tools, or how heat-sensitive ink is giving the iPad a run for its money.

UPDATE 01/13/12: The book is now out and available to order.

It’s no secret I have a soft spot for children’s books, especially the timeless classics. But I’m also keenly fascinated by the evolution of publishing and innovation in books. (A timely topic given this week’s acquisition of PushPopPress by Facebook.) So I’m thrilled about a new release from McSweeney’s brand new children’s imprint: Keep Our Secrets by Jordan Crane isn’t merely a charmingly illustrated treat, it’s also an admirable piece of publishing innovation — the book is printed with thermally-activated color-changing ink that lets you discover a wealth of delightful surprises and hidden illustrations as you rub the pages and the heat from your fingers causes some ink layers to become transparent.

This kind of playful, tactile interactivity in what’s still a printed, physical book is challenges our assumptions about what it means to build truly “interactive” reading experiences, showing it doesn’t necessarily have to mean device-centricity.

Keep Our Secrets comes out in December and is now out for pre-order.

via Etre / Reaction

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Move, Learn, Eat: Around the World in 3 Timelapse Short Films

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What an exploding volcano has to do with incredible edibles and a terabyte of globe-trotting footage.

From Rick Mereki, Tim White and Andrew Lees come three poetic and ambitious short films shot over the course of 44 days in 11 countries across 38,000 miles by way of 18 flights, exploring movement, learning and food — no better way to enter the weekend.

It’s also noteworthy that Rick doesn’t appear to have a personal site or Twitter account or any centralized online presence, and even sports a Hotmail email, yet he was able to produce some of the most creatively compelling footage I’ve come across in a long time — a lesson in not judging a proverbial book by its (digital) cover.

(That, or the whole thing is a viral hoax that will eventually turn out to be high-budget production promoting the recently rolled out Vimeo PRO. But let’s stay with the earnest, non-cynical take for now.)

via Gizmodo

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Typography in 7 Minutes: A PBS Micro-Documentary

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Visibility, invisibility, and what the spirit of letters has to do with the meaning of text.

On Monday, we featured 10 essential books on typography. Today, we turn to this fantastic short documentary on, you guessed it, typography from the excellent Off Book series by PBS Arts. In just 7 minutes, the film explores type — ubiquitous yet often unnoticed and misunderstood — through the work of some of today’s most iconic type designers and freshest voices, from Brain Pickings favorite Paula Scher to our friends at Hyperakt, masters of the infographic form, as well as legendary duo Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, and Pentagram prodigy Eddie Opara.

Words have meaning and type has spirit, and the combination is spectacular.” ~ Paula Scher

From the selection and sometimes bespoke creation of fitting typefaces for every print publication, website, movie, ad and public message, to how computers have liberated and democratized typography, to the design decisions behind creating compelling infographics, the microdocumentary offers a succinct case for the power of typography as a communication medium and a storytelling device.

The most challenging part of working on an infographic is taking all the available data and deciding what is the most important bit of information that we need to communicate. Infographics are about typography getting out of the way of the message.” ~ Deroy Peraza

I determine how I design something based on the audience and what the audience would bear. Evoke the response you want while pushing the audience to see something perhaps in a new way.” ~ Paula Scher

For more, feast your type-loving heart on these 10 timeless books about typography.

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