Last week saw the first edition of The Manual landing on desktops and doormats across the UK. With, I presume, those destined for further afield arriving over the next few days.
For the last four to five years, like so many others, my focus has taken a steady turn from print-related matters to digital things. No surprises there. Way back in time, in my first job, I knew nothing about typography but was blessed by a crotchety Creative Director; a stickler. His reliable and regular trashing of my sorry attempts at typesetting on early Macs proved to be the necessary force that fuelled a passion. A passion for working out how the heck you do this stuff properly. I read loads (and continue to do so).
The web is a different beast. It's not an ancient craft, steeped in traditions, with rules that hardly change. And it's certainly no mere extension of an established field. It's a brand new composite discipline-on-the-move, made up of unequal amounts of graphic design, product design, computer science, neuro science, strategy and lord knows what else. But the struggle to understand it's fundamental nature feels, nevertheless, similar to how it felt all those years ago. And like then, I'm hungry for insights and understandings.
The Manual helps.
Not that it attempts to define this new industry in hyper-detail. What it does is express the thoughts and ideas of a few good men/women who are playing a part in the formulation and appreciation of a new industry. Each expression a component; a small constituent part of a very big thing. How right each is, or how vital their fragment proves to be, is not as important as their endeavour; their efforts to make this thing as good as it can be.
That's a strangle, noble and thrilling adventure. And, I feel, The Manual (second edition already in the pipeline) will play its part.