How to see a book?

之前也說過,我開這個 blog 其中的原因是因為想在這網上的世界多一點的設計書評。但到現時為止,我還未寫到一篇設計書評。我在想怎樣寫設計書評的過程中,想到很多很多的問題(如不能知道字型的名稱、書的確切資料、有些設計者背後的動機);因為不想寫那些兩句就寫完的評論,所以我想我應該以一套什麼方法去分析一本書才算完整呢?在這樣缺乏背景資料的情況下,我想我也應該主要以「感覺」與「設計眼睛」去作分析,而不是靠有形的資料。一些設計得好的書,應該是普通的一個讀者也感覺、看、聞、聽、觸得到的;Feel 到之後,分析得精準與否,就要看個人的設計知識、設計理論、思考方式與表達能力的高低去決定。

以下是Keith A. Smith 在 ‘STRUCTURE OF THE VISUAL BOOK’ 說明他怎樣去看一本書。


The best approach to gain a sense of the book is to become acquainted with the book as physical object. Pick up a book, hold it. feel it. Look at it, then examine it, not routinely or mechanically by habit but make a conscious effort to see at every step in the process, every movement of the eyes and hands.

他所說的是應留意我們自己的動作,我們的眼睛與手跟書本所作的每一步。當我們拿起一本書,我們會感覺書的厚度、感覺紙的質地、封面的厚薄、到翻開第一頁到最後一頁的過程、flipping 的感覺、文字與圖像的大小、方向、構圖、深淺、節奏、一頁一頁之間的時間、一頁與一頁之間的關聯、快速翻閱時所呈現的流動圖像……眼與書與手的每一個 interaction 也要留意。就是這樣,我們可能會對我們手上的書有新的發現。

HOW to SEE a BOOK: My approach to seeing a book for the first time is to go through the entire book at least two or three times at one sitting.

1) The first time is at a fast pace, with the other viewing successively slower, having been modified by the previous viewing. The book on the first viewing, theoretically, could be upside down. I am not necessarily looking at subject matter or reading any words, but seeing the overall layout, the composition of the total book, as well as the individual pictures, I am picking up the tone or mood.

2) The second viewing is less general. I do not turn the pages at a constant pace, as previously, but create my own pacing by dwelling on things that either interest me or that I do not comprehend. At this viewing, I become acquainted with the subject matter which was only superficially seen on first viewing, and I pick up on motifs, symbolism, subtleties.

3) I am pleased if the book requires several viewings. It then exists on more than one or two levels. The book invites the viewer back. It is exciting to pick up on nuances. On the third viewing I check to see if my previous pacing is altered by what I perceive to be the bookmaker’s implied pacing.



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Hei Shing

書就是… A Book is…


A piece of paper reflects not only time but also space. Books are formed by binding papers together to become containers of words that serve as a reservoir as well as a spring of wisdom.

July 2007
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