concept to publication

Month: February 2009

Charles Montgomery Burns Blogging Award

charles montgomery burns award

Almost a year ago, the excellent India Ink was tagged for excellence in blogging, an award she rebranded as the Charles Montgomery Burns Award. Mr. Burns is the owner of the Springfield nuclear power plant on the Simpsons. Well, India’s blog is hot.

Friday roundup

“If Folly link with Elegance no man knows which is which.” – William Butler Yeats

Latest inbound links

How to design like Massimo Vignelli

vignelli canon

Crave that prominent-grid, basic-fonts, industrial design aesthetic? Massamo Vignelli  would tell you that you can’t just imitate the surface, which must emerge as an epiphenomenon from an essential spirit embuing the design at its most fundamental level. He has put a document called The Vignelli Canon on the web as a pdf. It’s worth consulting.

Albums of the year

continuous passive motion

Why book review sections don’t work

book reviewer

Who would have guessed that the San Francico Chronicle‘s Sunday book review would be one of the few standalone newspaper reviews remaining? (It survives as a pull-out from the paper’s opinion section.) That the review has stayed alive is more a testament to the exceptional dedication of the Bay Area book community than to any quality of the review itself.

Friday roundup

“Honour commercio’s energy yet aid the linkless proud, the plurable with everybody.” — Finnegans Wake

Latest inbound links


The Writers Center is looking for a Business and Operations Manager, “overseeing day-to-day business functions and facility upkeep and maintenance.” The job pays $35-40K. They are located in the DC area.


Why proofreading is hard

proofreading error

Aoccrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny ipormoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed the txet wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


image via Gary McMurray’s photostream


What’s going on here?


Maybe by the time this post runs the photo will have been widely printed. If not, you can still try your luck at guessing what this picture — which won the 2008 World Press Photo of the Year contest — represents. Answer after the break …

Making a WordPress index page

7 junipers index

I have been busy constructing an index to my 7 Junipers site, which is devoted to Asian Art and Culture. The index in process is accessed via one of the site’s navigation tabs. Tag clouds are often seen in sidebars, but I think they work better as pages. At 7J I made a brief post summarizing the steps involved creating an index page  via the tags function.


Public service announcement

Because this cannot be said often enough. From Robert Bringhurst’s Elements of Typographic Style:

In the nineteenth century, which was a dark and inflationary age in typography and type design, many compositors were encouraged to stuff extra space between sentences. Generations of twentieth-century typists were then taught to do the same, by hitting the spacebar twice after every period. Your typing as well as your typesetting will benefit from unlearning this quaint Victorian habit.


Spelling test

spelling test

According to, these are the 25 most  commonly misspelled words in English.

I don’t consider myself a very good speller, for an editor (I just look everything up). But this test seemed easy to me. The only question that I thought was a little tricky was the one that asked about a British spelling, since I’m only familiar with U.S. style.  I figured it was a trick question and answered with the U.S. spelling, which luckily was right.


Friday roundup | Duly quoted

“Every separation is a link.” — Simone Weil

Duly Quoted

“Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job.” — RNC Chair Michael Steele

“One of my sons … was more interested in Alexander’s stilted delivery which paused. After. Every. Word. He wanted to know if Alexander had had a stroke.” — Ron Silliman


Codex Book Fair

codex foundation blog

The second biennial CODEX Book Fair will be held this weekend, February 8-11 in Berkeley. The Codex Foundation promotes the art and craft of the book and strives to increase awareness of the book arts.

For those unable to attend in person, Codex now maintains a blog.


David Godine on Bruce Rogers

Elsewhere I mentioned recently that the David R. Godine blog has been a dispirited creature, with few and meager posts. I am happy to report that it has now been infused with new dedication and spark, and I am informed by both David Godine and Daniel Pritchard at the press that they are resolved to maintain the blog at a high level going forward.

For about the past week substantial posts have been coming almost daily. Yesterday featured a generous commentary on Bruce Rogers, the great American typographer best known for designing the neo-Venetian typeface Centaur.

The kindness of strangers

Here’s a cool thing. I received an e-mail yesterday from Dave Kellam, someone I didn’t know. An excerpt:

Just found your blog today, via India Amos. I’m an aspiring book designer, and it’s been fun poking through your site. One of the posts linked to another post ( about wanting a WP plugin. I’ve created a few WordPress plugins, and might be able help you out with you with a custom plugin.

What are the components of a well-made book?

india, ink

Over at India, Ink., the redoubtable India is thinking about “what materials and processes and vendors to use to make books that will last a hundred years.”

I think traditional books will survive the digital revolution but that their role will change. They will become luxury items, keepsakes, so whoever still knows how to make the nicest books will win. But I’ll bet that a lot of well-meaning production people don’t even know how to spec well-made books, because all they’ve ever been asked to do at their jobs is make everything cheaper and faster. And as the vendors that excel at quality work die off—Stinehour comes to mind—it will become even more difficult to acquire that kind of experience.

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