A Whelming Read

Massimo Vignelli is a product designer who wants his work to be “pragmatically understandable.” (He also mentions the urge to be “timeless,” but you or your stuff cannot be that.)

What’s the point if it’s too complicated? I look for the “wise mind” where reader and author meet: not too emotional, not too rational. While occasionally I want to go on a metaphorical zip-line or spelunking expedition, most often I just want to be “whelmed” by a book: not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed.

A new series by Hatje Cantz holds that kind of centering promise: 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts. They are what their name badge says. Small, smartly designed conversations, essays, writings. You could almost say that they’re not really even “designed”: matter-of-fact enough that the “delivery method” or “style” fade away.

Books worth publishing that don’t require a skywriter to exclaim themselves, but are still more likely to land on my shelf.


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