Beautifully Briefed 24.5: On Into Summer

This time, we welcome the start of summer with a selection of photography and book design items — with, as usual, a couple of bonuses. Oh, and a computer item with its own “bonus.” The Summer of Joy starts now.

SteerMouse

Like many who spend a ton of time mousing, my production Mac sports an aftermarket pointing device: a Logitech MX Master 3S. It’s a great mouse: ergonomic, covered in button options, and with a freewheeling scroll wheel that makes both design and surfing a joy.

Unfortunately, Logitech’s software doesn’t live up to the hardware’s promise. I’m certainly not alone in thinking this way, but like many, I’d resigned myself to living with it . . . with one glaring, continually-irksome exception: over the years, they’d actually removed a regularly-used feature.

There’s something significant missing from the available options. (Logitech.com screen capture.)

That’s right — there is no way to reprogram the two main buttons. They’re a single click (left) and a command/control click (right), whether you want ’em that way or not. Most of the time, I don’t.

It’s fine for surfing, sure, and for other applications as well. But for book design, not so much. The right button has to be a double-click. That way, word, sentence, paragraph and section selections are readily available through a combination of first- and middle-finger clicks. Sure, they could be assigned to the side buttons (4 and 5, above), but if you’ll forgive me mangling an analogy, race drivers don’t try to get their feet on the door handles when clutching.

Thankfully, while sitting in a tire shop the other day — speaking of driving — I was making the wait more palatable by listening to Accidental Tech Podcast, wherein Steven Hackett’s post on Logitech software was briefly mentioned. And the clouds parted.

Okay, sure, it was technically unrelated. But he’s trying SteerMouse — and that’s all the recommendation I needed:

It may not look as flashy, but it’s the content that counts. Kudos.

My double-click is back! Quality independent software, highly recommended.

Special Bonus #1: From another chapter of less-than-ideal software, Adobe continues to flub the landing. PetaPixel has been on their case in a significant way, with Adobe Says AI is the New Digital Camera, Adobe’s CEO is Just Not on the Same Wavelength as Artists, Adobe Throws Photographers Under the Bus Again: ‘Skip the Photoshoot’, and ASMP Calls Out Adobe for Its ‘Shocking Dismissal of Photography’. Whew.

A Couple Library of Congress Photographs

Speaking of PetaPixel, they’ve posted a story on someone retiring from what seems like a great way to spend a career: “The Prints and Photographs collection in the Library of Congress number more than 15 million images. Maintaining the archive is a big job and a retiring librarian has picked her favorite pictures after working there for 34 years. [Read] Jan Grenci’s final blog post.”

Even the cats know the refrigerators contain plenty of food at the Casa Grande Farms. Pinal County, Arizona. Photo by Russell Lee, 1940.
Two pigeons on a ledge with a view of the Chrysler Building in the background. Photo by Angelo Rizzuto. June 1957.

The LOC’s Picture This has a plethora of great posts, and 15 million photographs is a great way to pass a rainy afternoon (or two). Enjoy.

Special Bonus #2: From the archives comes another PetaPixel post on Getty’s Open Content Program, with its 87,000 free-to-use photographs: “Add a print of your favorite Dutch still life to your gallery wall or create a shower curtain using the Irises by Van Gogh — the possibilities are endless,” Getty explains.

Kirkus: 20 Books that Should Be Bestsellers

Kottke points us to a Kirkus Reviews post, 20 Books that Should be Bestsellers. Some good book design here:

Both of the above have been added to my “potential best covers” folder (without designer attribution, alas); the former for what I’d call “the quintessential 2024 style,” and the latter for the quintessential book cover purpose: fantastic type treatment and compelling imagery combined with the-question-that-has-to-be-answered. (“The seven-hundred-year-old bones of Saint Nicholas […] weep a mysterious liquid that can heal the sick,” Amazon explains.) Good stuff.

There’s also this, which isn’t quite up to the above but still interesting:

…with its box o’ quotes on Amazon:

Nice.

Special Bonus #3: Chip Kidd has been promoted: “VP and art director at Knopf and graphic editor at Pantheon.” Few are more deserving, as the long list of accomplishments on his Wiki page attests.

A couple of faves from “Good is Dead,” a selection of book covers he’s designed:

Cover design by Chip Kidd.
Cover design by Chip Kidd.

And, of course, Naked, in this post’s cover image. Kudos.

Special Bonus #4: One the subject of great designers, this film on Charles and Ray Eames was a winner. (It’s from 2011, but was new to me — and hopefully you, too.) Watch when you can:

YouTube won’t allow me to embed this, unfortunately — click the link above to view.

Special Bonus #5: The lede-of-the-day award: “Do all book covers look the same today? Euronews Culture goes under the dust cover with those that design them.”

The interesting thing here is a discussion of risk — ’cause, of course, in today’s culture, a book cover alone can result in a title getting cancelled banned — revolving around things, um, yellow:

One of my favorite covers of 2023, still without a cover designer attribution. (Darn.)

Special Bonus #6: Penguin Books reveals the Cover Design Award 2024 shortlist, a contest for non-professionals to take a crack at Penguin greatness. (Via CreativeBoom.) My favorite:

Cover design by Charlotte Gill.