Tag: books

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is Out for Sale

The illustrated edition of “The Fall of the House of Usher” is officially an ebook that can be downloaded from Amazon here:


The Fall of the House of Usher
—Special Illustrated Edition—

The Fall of the House of Usher, cover design

This edition has the original text by Edgar Allan Poe with 10 color illustrations, plus a bonus portrait of Poe himself. After designing many variations of the cover, the final choice was crow-sourced. Votes went to the blackletter type and the white space and simple layout of this cover.

The language that Poe uses is so full of visual references that upon reading the short story I felt compelled to do some illustrations. I wanted to draw what I was imagining in my head. Eventually I kept highlighting more and more passages of the story. I ended up with 40+ segments I wanted to illustrate. I decided to cut it down to 10 for the book. One day I might illustrate all paragraphs of the story.

This is the very first paragraph of the book that inspired me to start this project:

The Fall of the House of Usher, first paragraph

Download the Kindle ebook:
The Fall of the House of Usher
—Special Illustrated Edition—

WIP: Cover Designs for The Fall of the House of Usher

Here is a selection of covers. All of them are works in progress.

The Fall of the House of Usher, ebook covers

One of the reasons that I decided to start illustrating the book is because of how visually stimulating the writing is. The cover for the illustrated edition of “The Fall of the House of Usher” is inspired by the first paragraph of the story:

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.

The goals of the cover are:

  • Iconic cover: Create a cover in the style of the book illustrations: geometric, iconic images that should inspire rather than tell a full detailed story.
  • Contemporary look: To distinguish itself from old covers, and to communicate that this illustrated edition is not a classically illustrated story, but a modern, geometric, graphic edition.
  • Thumbnail friendly: Since this will be an ebook to be sold online (eg. Amazon), the image should work at small (as well as medium and large) sizes, be readable, etc.

I lost the first round of cover designs, and it was interesting to see how all the work I had put in the first series of covers, had somehow influenced the second wave. The experiments and trials were in my head even if I couldn’t physically look and reference them.

This made me wonder if I should start from scratch a third time, but then when should I stop? My engineering mind thinks that the better approach is to do A/B testing with the covers and let the public decide. Might try that.

Book review: Responsive Web Design

‘Responsive Web Design’ is a perfectly succinct and to the point introduction to the topic. It covers both the philosophy behind responsive design, the design principles to make it happen and the actual code to put it all together.

The key learning of this book can be sumarized by the following quote:

So what does it take to create a responsive design? Speaking purely in terms of front-end layout, it takes three core ingredients:

  • A flexible, grid-based layout,
  • Flexible images and media, and
  • Media queries, a module from the CSS3 specification.

Topics

The book covers multiple topics: scalable typography (w/ CSS’s em unit), the math behind adapting a grid-based layout to be flexible, fluid images, how to approach media queries and what are the most useful breakpoints, introduction to device vs display units and the viewport, the “mobile first” philosophy,…

Summary

  • Level: intermediate
  • Who is this book for: mid to senior level developers inexperienced with responsive design/development.
  • Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)