Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Publisher's Note to Volume 2: Why We Bother

Putting together the second issue of Further North I suddenly realized what drew me to editorial design as a career also drew me to the ­Keweenaw—an absolute love of the material world. Editorial design means designing books, magazines, any other lengthy text intended to be read. It is a category of graphic design distinct from, say advertising, which you might read but you don’t really sit down and enjoy. It just grabs your attention long enough to sell you something. Editorial design needs to not just convey the message but enhance and embody the message, and sometimes it needs to disappear into the experience of reading and not keep drawing attention to itself. It is not an end in itself: it is a process. That is especially true of book design, my particular passion.

In this increasingly digitized world designing for print is almost anachronistic. A friend of mine who designs entirely for web sites said candidly she couldn’t stand the pressure of designing for a medium that cannot be immediately corrected (once in print any error is “permanent”; the beauty of the internet is it’s constantly updating and “correcting” itself). Personally, I like a sense of permanence—including the errors that go with it. There’s even a term for this in modern computer-speak: “reliable locatability”—something you only get with books.

That affection and respect for the material of the world is something that imbues all the articles in this issue—wine making, fishing, gardening, building a sauna, creating botanical art—all activities that draw from the physical world of the Keweenaw Peninsula to create something new but still tangible. Clearly located here, in this unique place and this present life.

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