For some reason, I’ve gotten on mailing lists to look over books for publishers with the hope, on their part, that I’ll blog on their books. One of the books I received recently is another one from Princeton Architectural Press. At first glance it seems to have little to do with what we do here at Radiqx. But I think I should mention it, because I enjoyed reading it, and because you may need it at some point in your career.
The Wayfinding Handbook (what signage has become)
This is a small, inexpensive book that shares the knowledge necessary to get involved in very large, expensive projects to help people find their way around public spaces. For most of us (small design firms) these projects are far beyond our capabilities. These are multi-disciplinary jobs with close involvement of the architect or planner of the space, the governmental or corporate management, the builders, and the sign fabricators.
That being said, there are many times when a smaller entity needs a sign or several and this book can help a lot as you conceptualize the design and prepare your proposal. This book does not have design or production specifics. What it does well is give you a very good handle on the questions that need to be asked, the scope of the solutions needed, and most importantly aspects of your design that need to be satisfied to make your solution truly functional for the client and the people your client serves.
From my point of view as a book designer, the book is very pretty. It is surprisingly easy to read considering that the book designer made it as difficult as possible by using sans serif body copy, and what appears to be the limitations of page layout by Quark—horrible hyphenation, flush left copy in a tightly gridded book, and other issues like that. That being said, the book design is consistent with the topic and feels very corporate, institutional, and professional.
My only real complaint about the book is that it is such a brief overview of an immensely complex type of project. All the sections were very brief, offering overviews with no real depth. Many times I found myself wishing for more information. The book appears to be designed as a textbook for a two or three credit course as part of an architecture degree. It would do that job very well.
All of that being said: it is a good read, carefully designed for beginners in this field, a thorough overview, and a good-looking book at an excellent price (Amazon is listing it at a little over $16 today). It is definitely worth adding to your design library.