2008 BEST
Design & Publishing Center / DTG Magazine / 2008 BEST AWARDS  

Each year, DTG editors pick the best of the best in books, software and web sites. The products listed below are true winners. They represent the very best of the industry in terms of content, presentation, and value for the user. Enjoy...

BOOK of the YEAR: Visual Communications

Decoding Design by Maggie MacnabDecoding Design: Understanding and Using Symbols in Visual Communication, by Maggie Macnab
      This book is our unanimous decision for BOOK OF THE YEAR in the graphic design field. In this landmark book, author Maggie Macnab presents the practice of discovering, learning, interpreting and then utilizing symbols to communicate complicated concepts and ideas in visual communications. This is the first book to fully investigate symbolism for use in graphic design -- particularly logos. More importantly, Macnab delves deeply into the world and cultures of symbols, and draws real links to the design of excellent symbology for modern graphic imagery. She handles the subject matter in an academic yet human manner, and the book is not only deeply inspiring -- it's fun to read and browse. The book is beautifully designed, illustrated and printed, with hundreds of visual images that will get your creative juices flowing.
      This is an important book, and one that should be considered as required reading for anyone involved in the fields of graphic design and visual communications. Don't wait for it to go out of print. Buy it NOW:
NOTE Decoding Design: Understanding and Using Symbols in Visual Communication
NOTE Earlier this year, George Engel took an in-depth look at Decoding Design
NOTE See the DTG interview with author Maggie Macnab

Book of the Year: Photoshop

The Creative Digital Darkroom The Creative Digital Darkroom by Katrin Eismann, Sean Duggan
      There were many, many Photoshop books in 2008 -- really more than was necessary -- but most focused on CS3, or specific Photoshop areas of concentration. Dozens of authors raced to the pulpit when Adobe announced and released CS4, but most of the big boys still have 2009 dates on their CS4 books. Many of the authors merely recycle the same stuff they put in their CS2 and CS3 books with a CS4 slant.
      Katrin Eismann is different however. Her book "The Creative Digital Darkroom" breaks away from the Photoshop stereotype and approaches the subject from the aspect of doing something wonderful with the software. This transcends all the tipsters and hawkers who spew Photoshop tips and tricks over and over again.
      In the The Creative Digital Darkroom Katrin Eismann and Sean Duggan Teach Photographers How to Sculpt with Light and Listen to Their Images ... an inspirational visual journey to actually create images of greatness using Photoshop. You'll be enlightened to the imagery, not the gimmickry.
      If you use Photoshop, get this book TODAY. By the time the CS4 books hit the shelves, you probably won't need them.
NOTE The Creative Digital Darkroom by Katrin Eismann, Sean Duggan
NOTE See our review, earlier this year

Book of the Year: Desktop Publishing

InDesign InDesign CS4 One-on-One, by Deke McClelland, with David Futato
      You will find no fewer than 54 articles on Deke, or his books in the Design Center alone. If you search Google, you'll find 187,000! But, it's been years since Deke graced the pages of DTG Magazine's BEST. His original "Bible" books were ground breakers, and then many of his specialized Photoshop books, like the "Studio" series, delved deeper into the world of Adobe products. But then they began to become ho-hum -- not really best material. Most of the Bibles after #3 fell into the recycle mode so many other authors take. But then O'Reilly got hold of him, and his One-on-One series began redefining the genre. InDesign CS4 One-on-One takes book/DVD training to a new level. Deke has matured, and fine-tuned his wit and presentation. His new "Deke Pod" series is very cool!
      Deke wrote the first book on InDesign in 1999 -- with InDesign CS4 One-on-One you now get the very best there is in learning experience. Read the lessons... watch the videos, and do the exercises. You'll get the fundamentals along with insider techniques, tips and gotcha's few others will purvey. The book is stunning in its design, illustration, layout and printing. The included DVD alone is well worth the price.
      Deke says: "Adobe InDesign CS4 One-on-One' is designed to suit the needs of beginners and intermediate users. But I've seen to it that each lesson contains a few techniques that even experienced users don't know."
      Do you use InDesign? We do. But don't take another step until you have Deke along, one-on-one, to help you through the experience. Do it now.
NOTE InDesign CS4 One-on-One, by Deke McClelland, with David Futato
NOTE See our Full Review.
NOTE See Spread #1, and Spread #2

Book of the Year: Photography

The moment it clicks The Moment It Clicks: Photography secrets from one of the world's top shooters
      This spectacular book, by Joe McNally has been called "The first book with one foot on the coffee table, and one foot in the classroom." If that's not true, at the very least, it's a book every photographer should own. But actually it's true! (Need convincing? See this, and this)
      Being one of the world’s top pro digital photographers, Joe is in the unique position to show you how the photos were approached; what props to use; how the lighting builds the scene; what to do, what not to do to make or break the difference between a photograph and a world-class photograph. The book does something no photography book has ever done -- mix rich, stunning images with the elegant layout of a coffee-table book -- combining the invaluable training, no-nonsense insights, and photography secrets usually found only in those rare, best-of-breed educational books.
      This book also gives you something more. It inspires. It challenges. It informs. But perhaps most importantly, it will help you understand photography and the art of making great photos at a level you never thought possible. All through the book, you'll see notations in Joe's own writing -- sharing the inner tips that made the photo truly great!
      This book is packed with those "Ah ha!" moments -- those clever insights that make it all come together for you. If you shoot photos (particularly if you shoot photos in a studio, or for commercial purposes, ) do not delay! Get this book today!
NOTE The Moment It Clicks by Joe McNally

Book of the Year: Creative Experience

Inner Life The Inner Life of Martin Frost by Paul Auster (Author), Glenn Thomas (Illustrator)
      We've never really had this category in the BEST AWARDS, but when this book came, everyone was puzzled about its relevance to the Design Center. It's not about design or visual communications at all. Paul Auster's novel The Book of Illusions explores the implications of stories within stories, especially as films. Battling with personal crises, Auster's protagonist David Zimmer falls into the work of the fictional silent film star Hector Mann. The Inner Life of Martin Frost is a long-lost Mann film.
      But when Mark Batty Publisher combines Paul Auster's story with Glenn Thomas's typography and graphic design -- sparks happen! The BEST award is deserved here because of the stunning and innovative graphic concoction of wonderful typography configurations, graphic illustrations, and page-layout mastery. You don't even need to read the story -- which is fascinating -- but merely thumb through the book, dazzled by it's layout and assembly. Be sure to see our full review for photos of spreads!
      Throughout the book, lavish use of fold-outs and over-printed, translucent make each new spread a discovery in visual form. I believe this will, some day, be a collector's book -- and will certainly go down in history as one of the ground-breaking designs of this decade -- perhaps the millennium.
NOTE "The Inner Life of Martin Frost" by Paul Auster & Glenn Thomas
NOTE Don't miss our Full Review

NOTE Continues on the next page


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