Over the Transom – Vol. 4

A collection of follow-ups and links to some stories and developments that I found interesting or important in the past week, that I think you’ll find worth reading about too.

Computers as Museum Interactives

Ed Rodley has done a couple of very interesting posts here and here at his Thinking About Exhibits blog on computers as interactives in museum exhibits. The posts are a reaction to the release of a Reach Advisors report suggesting that only 11% of visitors liked using computers to receive information in the museum setting. He does a good job of unpacking the survey results, in the process casting some doubt on their methodology and conclusions. Worth a read for exhibit planners and designers.

Sans Rules?

This blog post by the folks behind identifont.com suggests that their top ten list of fonts in what they describe as “the largest independent database of typefaces” is consistently populated by sans serif faces. They go on to suggest that this means sans serif faces are massively more popular than serif faces. I’m not convinced that the results are quite as skewed as they suggest — perhaps this reflects only that the top ten fonts are pretty difficult to distinguish from each other for users of identifont. The main reason people use identifont, after all, is to determine the name of an unknown font they’ve encountered. Serif faces give you just a bit more to go on – could that account for at least some of these results?

The Library as Design Hothouse

I’ve already outed myself in the past as a great believer in the value of libraries and the serendipity they can facilitate, so I was naturally receptive to this post from the It’s Not About the Books blog about how Libraries can and should be “idea factories.” This really struck a chord with me, as I’m an advocate of the value of drawing ideas from multiple, seemingly unrelated sources to inform the design process. The post explores some ideas from Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From: the Natural History of Innovation, summarizing the core thesis of the book quite neatly. I found this to be a thought-provoking read — highly recommended.

via: @hamishcurry

If you’ve only got four minutes to spare, I’d highly recommend this video that explains Johnson’s take on where good ideas come from in a fun, hand-drawn marker illustration that unfolds before your eyes.

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