Lou Rosenfeld on Book Design

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by: David Armano on Design Research Conference

If you're writing a book—you might as well take the advice from someone who's already written a few.  Louis Rosenfeld is considered one of the founding fathers of modern day information architecture and co-wrote the "Polar Bear" book titled "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web". 


I recorded a portion of his talk at the design research conference and found this bit the most interesting.  Rosenfeld is currently in the process of writing his sixth book.  When I say he's in the process, I mean he literally unveiled his book cover design at the conference.  In fact, I held off at posting this video so he could inform his publisher on the decision as opposed having them find out via a blog.

But here's the takeaway from this clip.  Rosenfeld's advice to others who are in the process of writing books is to hire an art director.  His larger point was that while it's easy for consultants to point to "cobblers children" tendencies to our clients—we're just as susceptible to the same pitfalls and need to know when we might be heading in the wrong direction.

Rosenfeld compares his own art direction to the final cover design and admits that he got too close to it and needed some help to get it back in the right direction.  As someone who's been a creative director—I understand exactly where he's coming from.  Even if you're qualified to do something yourself—often times it's best to invest the time to find and direct the right resource and empower them to do what they are really good at.  This isn't mandatory if you don't have the budget or resources—but if you do, sometimes it's better to bring in the right talent and a little objectivity.

Rosenfeld was also candid enough to share some of his own research in where he conducted a study to find out what was the considered the most well designed book in the user experience field.  Can you guess what it was?

No surprises—one of my favorites: "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug.  If he did the same study on brand building—I wonder if the result would have been The Brand Gap? (another of my favorites).  Anyway, check out the video as it provides a good insight.  This will be my last post on L+E related to the Design Research conference.  I will do one last wrap up on Experience Matters.  Oh, and on a related note—I will have the honor of co-keynoting CanUX 2007 along with Rosenfeld.  That should be a learning experience.  🙂

Original Post: http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2007/09/lou-rosenfeld-o.html