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Openness is our greatest human resource.

Blog Entries tagged 'design'

Design, design, designers

Nice work from young designer Steph Walker.

October 27th, 2009

Does the Brain Like E-books?

Really appreciate this series of perspectives from the Times on digital vs analog reading.  

I especially resonated with this one by Maryanne Wolf, John DiBiaggio Professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts, and the author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”

After many years of research on how the human brain learns to read, I came to an unsettlingly simple conclusion: We humans were never born to read. We learn to do so by an extraordinarily ingenuous ability to rearrange our “original parts” — like language and vision, both of which have genetic programs that unfold in fairly orderly fashion within any nurturant environment. Reading isn’t like that.

Each young reader has to fashion an entirely new “reading circuit” afresh every time. There is no one neat circuit just waiting to unfold. This means that the circuit can become more or less developed depending on the particulars of the learner: e.g., instruction, culture, motivation, educational opportunity.

Equally interesting, this tabula rasa circuit is shaped by the particular requirements of the writing system: for example, Chinese reading circuits require more visual memory than alphabets. This “open architecture” of the reading circuit makes the young reader’s developing circuit malleable to what the medium (e.g., digital online reading, book, etc) emphasizes.

And that, of course, is the problem at hand. No one really knows the ultimate effects of an immersion in a digital medium on the young developing brain. We do know a great deal, however, about the formation of what we know as the expert reading brain that most of us possess to this point in history.

October 15th, 2009

Nothing Ever Happens on My Block


So as many of you know, I love great design.

Which is one reason I love Donald Crews. My son and I have just about every one of his books, and have spent many hours reading our favorites: Freight Train, Harbor, and especially Flying.

Crews is someone I've wanted to interview for years--his graphic work is that strong--and as I'm working on a book at the moment that integrates the visual arts, I sought him out. 

I found him, and also the work of his daughter, Nina Crews, who is a terrific illustrator in her own right. I also found an interview with her in which she mentioned a favorite children's book that inspired her work. 

It's called Nothing Ever Happens On My Block by Ellen Raskin. It was published in 1965. I immediately ordered it from Amazon. It arrived yesterday and is FANTASTIC. It's about a boy, Chester Filbert, who declares nothing ever happens on his block while a dozen fascinating stories play out behind him.

What makes the book so great, aside from its lovely, lovely design, is the way the six or seven mini-narratives unfold in the graphics behind Filbert. You have to keep going back to find the early versions of each one to follow them, which ends up feeling like a cross between a treasure hunt and reading six books in one.

GENIUS. 

And that's my post for today. Even when we think nothing is going on, we are at the center of an untold number of stories. We just have to wake up to them. Then we won't be like Chester Filbert, thinking nothing ever happens when really, we are at the center of universe. 

September 25th, 2009

Dreaming...of home

From the book Woodstock Handmade Houses. Love the organicity. 

August 4th, 2009

I'd pick it up.

So of course I'm always looking at books. The copy on the jacket, the blurbs, trim-size, and overall design. Though I'm not completely sold on the color combo, I'd definitely pick this one up.

Would you?

June 29th, 2009

Goodbye Domino. xo Rebecca

Even though celebrating objects seems wrong at the moment, I think it's important to remember that beauty, like poetry, is not a luxury.* It heals, inspires, and is sometimes the only thing that keeps humanity going.

At every time, in every place, it's always about the art. 

I'm so sad to hear Domino is no more. Here's to seeing the team--Deborah and Joao and Catherine and everyone else who made the mag gorgeous--when they reconvene to make something new. 

 

Goodbye Domino!

xo

Rebecca

*Love to Audre Lorde: Poetry is Not a Luxury. 

February 21st, 2009

The Beautiful Five Thousand Dollar House

I love prefabs. I think they're the answer to unsustainable living. Impermanent, earth friendly, affordable. This one is small, and marketed to developing countries and dislocated people. Imagine this instead of trailers in New Orleans. 

From our friends at Inhabitat

January 27th, 2009