I had a long (and quite frustrating) conversation with a colleague who wanted me to do quite a bit of (pro bono) work on a brochure re-design — on the basis that it was “only changing the cover shot and updating the text a bit.” In trying to explain that design is a lot more than slapping a photo on the page and adding a few words (assuming we could even source an image of the subject she was suggesting), I realised I needed to adopt the writer’s maxim; “show, don’t tell”.
So I created a few alternative cover designs for The Invention of Solitude and talked through “my working out” with my colleague. I’m not going to bore you with all the iterations, but will share my “final” designs.
The above is, I think, the least successful cover (and so the most useful for my teaching purpose). I like the image, which my son took of me a few years ago, but struggled to make the required text fit the space — while being visible on a background of both dark and light.
This was my “late entry”– the image shot at the weekend. It is the closest to the mental image that the book’s title conjured for me.
What do you think?
This post was written for the Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4.
In these days of global brands and game-slash-movie-tie-ins, kids toys have a sort of universality.
From Taipei to Taihape, Moscow to Motueka, you’ll find shops full of the same kid-magnet merchandise: Minions, Frozen, Transformers, Jurassic Park — everything from figurines to lunch boxes. Even established toy companies like Lego seem to be creating more and more themed ranges — including Minecraft, Disney Princess, Star Wars and even Scooby Doo.
Toys that are locally-themed, let along locally-made, seem increasingly rare.
Fun Ho! a company in Taranaki, New Zealand, started making sand-cast aluminium toys in 1942. According to the company’s website:
During the 1970s, over a million Fun Ho! toys were sold annually each year, but in the late 1970’s, import restrictions were lifted and people started buying the cheaper imported toys which flooded the local market, instead of buying the Fun Ho! aluminium or diecast toys.
By 1982, toy production ceased and in 1987 the factory finally closed after over 50 years of manufacturing.
Since then only small quantities have been made as reproductions for the collector market. (Fun Ho! History)
There can’t be many Kiwi-raised adults who have never owned (or at least seen) one of the cars, tractors, fire engines or other vehicles made by Fun Ho! — even if they don’t recognise them as such.
Today, Fun Ho! toys are very collectable, and those aren’t too well-loved can fetch high prices in antique shops. The Big T obviously enjoyed his Fun Ho! toys quite a lot — they are all much too well-loved for resale.
Love shows itself in the smallest ways. A piece of ginger crunch, cut in two equal(ish) pieces and shared.
Here are a few other bloggers’ responses to the theme that I particularly like:
The native New Zealand Kowhai tree is known and loved for its healing properties and beauty. Our logo features its delicate, vibrant flower in the universal symbol of women — the perfect portrayal of Women’s Refuge and our values. — Women’s Refuge NZ
Symbol: noun. something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign. Source: Dictionary.com
Logos are a particular subset of symbols; a visual representation of a brand, rather than a concept. In the case of Women’s Refuge, it’s a social, not a commercial brand; a symbol of hope and healing for the thousands of (mainly) women and children in this country who are affected by domestic violence.
I have a strong connection with Women’s Refuge through my involvement with NZ Sculpture OnShore which raises funds for, and awareness of, the work Refuge does.
It is in part because of these fundraising efforts that Women’s Refuge has been able to develop a source of sustainable income. Yellow Belle (a very apt description of the kowhai flower), is a chain of upmarket recycled women’s clothing boutiques. The stores accept donations of designer clothing and on-sell it — generating valuable income and helping to increase awareness of domestic violence and Refuge’s work. A second brand, Kowhai Tree, is currently being developed to focus on sourcing, warehousing and distributing household goods and clothing to women and children leaving Refuge — many of whom arrive with no more than the clothes they are wearing.
So for me, seeing Kowhai trees in bloom — as they are at the moment — is especially meaningful.
PS: this is the actual Women’s Refuge logo.
Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
— Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.
Part of the challenge is to invite other bloggers to take part. I’m not going to ask anyone specifically, but please feel free to join in if you’d like to.
Remember when Google was the name of a search engine? Before it became the go-to verb that basically means “to search the internet.” Or maybe not even the internet. My son is still chuckling over hearing a friend say he was going to “google the dictionary.”
I know English is a living, fast-changing language. That’s cool. I like the way words change their meaning and new words are constantly brought into being. Only a couple of days ago we coined the word Chanelf: n. house-elf with a penchant for designer socks. I’m not expecting to see it in the Revised Oxford anytime soon, but it perfectly describes my boy-child, who has been particularly industrious around the house lately and whose knitted foot covering of choice comes from Polo by Ralph Lauren.
But quite a lot of verbing bothers me. When someone says “let’s dialogue this” instead of “let’s talk about it”, it feels as though language is being used as a barrier — or worse — a weapon, instead of a tool to communicate.
Particularly disturbing is re-verbing words that already have a verb form. A few years ago I heard a woman on television describe her neighbour (who, it turned out, had killed a couple of people and buried them under his house) as “difficult to conversate with.” She obviously knew the word “conversation” and worked backward from that. I’ve since heard conversate used again, along with “signatured” (as in he signatured the document) and believe it or not, “motivationalised.”
But perhaps the case of verbing which bothered me the most is “versing”. Throughout the (many) years my son played soccer, I had to endure players, parents and coaches talk about the team they were versing. That poor, innocent preposition “versus” was mangled into a verb that no amount of patient (and not so patient) explanation from me could ever dissuade people from using.
This post was written as part of the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge that Mish at Mishunderstood invited me to take part in. My three quotes all come from the much-loved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson. You can see Day One here.
Part of the challenge is to invite other bloggers to take part. Rather than invite anyone specifically — I know we’re all pretty busy — if anyone does want to contribute to the challenge, please feel free.