Review: The Recorder
With any electronic device and an internet connection you can find the entire history of any subject matter in 0.29 seconds. That kind of access is a wonderful gift, but sometimes becomes an overload of information. A quick search for the ratio of tablespoons to teaspoons (it's 1:3) leads to at least ten minutes down the drain looking at beautiful pies on Pinterest.
So instead of jumping from article to article in an endless scroll I find myself more and more drawn to physical printed pieces. But not just because of the design or quality of printed publications. It's their specific editorial viewpoint in which I've become most interested.
As soon as I received The Recorder by Monotype I was of course impressed by the quality and design, but more than that it was the way the articles almost told a story. Turning the pages I became much more intrigued by the curated nature of the publication - everything from typeface to layout to photography - that created a dialogue between the written articles and their visual representation.
The variety of articles were all excellently written and researched. The article on the exhibit Century: 100 Years of Type in Design was fascinating because of the obviously clever way of using hundreds of periods from hundreds of typeface as a unifying and textural element.
Perhaps my favorite was The social effects of typography in public spaces, illustrated by David Doran, about how certain areas pay attention and regulate neighborhood signage, but others don't. Yet another article about "ghost signs" and the forgotten painted advertisements of bygone eras has me looking at billboards today and thinking "dear god, this is what future generations are going to remember as a visual landscape of our time".
All of it sparked interest about how design relates to history, and how it will serve as history, in ways I've never thought about before.
It was quite enjoyable to sit down and read from cover to cover, without a jaunt over to google to find more information about a particular term or look up some specific subject matter. Given the rise and success of rather recent boutique published magazines - Uppercase, Wrap, even Nobrow to name a few - I wonder if this is indicative of a larger trend of the way we consume media. Or perhaps editorial print has never been on the verge of death, has never even been a bit under the weather, and I'm the one late to the game :)