Quick looks
 ISSUE 35   March 2002|  updated 11/26/02   


The pile of books to review keeps getting bigger. These comments are based on a quick scan, not a thorough reading of the books listed. Take them for what they're worth.


The Digital Designer book cover - Stephen Pite, authorThe Digital Designer: 101 Graphic Design Projects for Print, the Web, Multimedia and Motion Graphics.
Stephen Pite, Thomson/Delmar Learning, 2002
[ more reviews, buy at Amazon]

Don't let the title fool you: this book is mostly about print. The first 217 pages, to be exact, leaving only 83 to cover Web, multimedia and motion graphics as promised in the subtitle.

A greater disappointment is the 101 projects for "design teachers and learners." The projects are basic categories (Promotional Cards, Announcement Cards, Collateral Cards; Promotional CD-ROM, Entertainment CD-ROM, Edutainment CD-ROM) described in general terms, with often vague suggestions about what should be considered.

Here’s an excerpt from the “Web Design” chapter: “A Web page must activate graphic space and communicate verbal and visual messages, using type and image, color and tone, lines and patterns. Visual organization will reinforce the hierarchy and create meaning through the assignment of primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of importance.”

Insightful, huh?

Rather than providing examples of how instructors have created individual projects with specific parameters to guide students in exploring these issues, the author leaves us with generalities like:
“The great thing about Web design is that growth in complexity and sophistication is inevitable.”

Save your money until a truly useful book comes along, Steven Heller's compilation of actual course syllabi. In the meantime, check our Open Source EDU section for idea.

Multimedia Literacy Cover - Fred T. HofstetterMultimedia Literacy, Third Edition
Fred T. Hofstetter, McGraw Hill, 2001
[ more reviews, buy at Amazon]

As an introduction for the novice this book may be worth a look, as long as you are willing to accept PowerPoint as your vehicle for learning. The bulk of the book is a fairly detailed tutorial on using PowerPoint to create sample interactive projects. This may be a good thing, since the learning curve with PowerPoint is much lower than with more advanced authoring software like Flash or Director. My concern about this approach is that it “dumbs down” the complex and rich possibilities of interactive media to the level of bad conference presentations.

If you want to explore the possibilities of PowerPoint (which is far more powerful than you might think) you could do worse than working your way through these examples. It got me to fire up the copy on my laptop for the first time ever. The $95 cover price makes this a pretty dubious expense, though.

Mac users, be warned: this is Windows territory. The author doesn't have anything to say to you.


For more book, software & web reviews see our
full list









Return to TOP