Another in the ‘just because I can’ series of articles.
I mentioned a few days ago about my sojourn with Gmail and how I was entering all my business cards in there. I finally finished this morning (until I find more scattered around the house or until I attend another networking event) and I have a few thoughts about business cards to share with you for no other reason than I can, I know it has nothing to do with books but that’s tough. I understand if you click away now.
Business cards are an entry into your world and while they should reflect you and what you do they should also be readable. You need to find that line between the amount of text and the amount of white space as well as finding the fine line between the size of the text and the amount of white space, not forgetting the balance between the font, the colours and the cardstock. Let’s have a look at some of these in more detail.
This is the space around the text, called white despite the background sometimes being some other colour. It helps with readability, if you have no white space it’s more challenging to read and if there is too much white space your eyes are drawn to the space rather than the text. Look at your favourite magazine and see how much text there is as opposed to white space, you’ll notice a band of white space around the edges. If you find a page with a number of small articles you’ll notice some white space between each article.
Size of Text
Some of the business cards had plenty of white space but the font size was far too small, even with my reading glasses on I had to get out a magnifying glass to be able to read them, with small amounts of text there was more white space than text. Think of the footer you use on your regular documents where you’re putting the page numbers or the file path of the document, that is generally done in 8pt and it’s challenging to read but it is something one doesn’t need to read too often, the text in the body of the document will range from 10pt to 12pt. I suspect some of these cards were done in 6pt, hence the magnifying glass.
You do want people to be able to read your cards, they need to be able to read them relatively easily otherwise your card is likely to end up in the bin and they’ll never use your services. Finding the balance between readability and getting all the information on the card is challenging, when I was designing my Send Out Cards business cards I went for a slightly larger font as I like to make it easy for people and I’m wondering if it’s a little too big.
This is an awkward one as you don’t want the same font everyone else has, you want to get away from Arial or Times New Roman but you do want it to be readable. Have a look at some different fonts and ask yourself how readable they are. Some of them are very beautiful and would look fabulous on a poster, in a large pt size of say 70 or 100 or even more they’re quite easy to read but make them small and the curly bits make it hard to read.
While I love the different colours on anything sometimes people’s choices are problematic. You need to look at the contrast in the colours and shades. If you’ve chosen an orange background then you need text that will stand out against that and not blend in, black works well with orange but some other colours don’t. I had a couple of cards where the text blended into the background and was far too hard to distinguish. Don’t put yellow on white and dark grey on black will also not work.
Some cards were printed at home on photo paper, inventive but not terribly professional looking, others were on much heavier cardstock. Having a card that’s a little larger or an irregular shape will make it stand out but will also give problems fitting it into wallet.
Some of the cards had typos which reflects badly on your business, it makes it look less than professional. I know it’s not just me being judgemental as I’ve had conversations on this topic with other people and we’ve all agreed. If you’re not certain make sure to get it proofread by someone skilled in that area or just ask someone you trust.
Check your card for content
This is a big one. My first card didn’t say what I did, it had all the contact details but neglected to say anything about books. People need to know what you do and they need to know how to contact you. One card I had only had a phone number, not necessarily a bad thing but I always remember there are people who are deaf, they’re not going to ring you and need an email address. I once worked for the Department of Social Security, now called Centrelink, one of my co-workers was deaf so he had a TTY machine, one day I had to answer his phone and managed to make it work with his machine so I could ‘talk’ to the deaf person on the other end but emails are so much more convenient.
This one could just be me being judgemental but if you have a website you’ll look that much more professional if your email address matches.
So, having bored you all with talk of business cards I’m now signing off for the weekend. Be safe.
Jeffrey Beall is a blogger who keeps track of those publishers who have been less than ethical and have taken money to say articles have been published, it’s not entirely clear if those articles have actually been published and are available for purchase or viewing but it’s indicated that they aren’t. One of those publishers is now sueing for $1m. Beall has kept clear records so it’s going to be an interesting court case. Not sure yet whether this is going to go ahead in the US or India. It will certainly be something worth following.
A series of books written by J. P. Martin and Sir Quentin Blake and published in the 1960s and 1970s will be republished thanks to a crowdfunding through Kickstarter. There will be lots of new material and old illustrations. Instead of paying $USD1702 for pre-loved copies you’ll soon be able to buy the whole set for only £37 plus postage.
Qantas has decided to get on board with reading during flights and has had some books published which are designed to be read on the plane. They expect you should finish the book just as you touch down at the other end of your journey. Not sure if I’ll get to try these out the next time I fly Qantas as it seems to be for their members from Bronze to Platinum and I don’t think I qualify.
I’m really not sure how today’s Mondayitis is likely to go as I’m interviewing the Library from The Great Gatsby, I’m sure the books could have a great deal to say if I can only get them to talk. Here goes…
What do you read?
What do we read? What a terribly strange question you ask. There are so many of us residing in this library and it is very obvious that we must be reading each other. Rather, we would very much like to read each other but Mr Gatsby hasn’t seen fit to cut the pages. He made certain to buy real books, not cardboard or anything cheap but then did not cut the pages.
We do sometimes read to each other to help alleviate the boredom of sitting on the shelf all day. We trust Mr Gatsby will cut our pages one day, it will all depend on if he lives after his little dip in the pool. There was another man nearby, we think he had a gun and we all know what a gun can do.
No, we don’t feel like answering any more strange questions. Goodbye.
Thank you to the Library from The Great Gatsby, I pay great respect to F. Scott Fitzgerald for bringing us this wonderful work.
English is a mongrel language, it comes from many different places including three Germanic tribes, French, Latin, Greek and now computer speak. I took pause the other day to think about ‘lieu’ and ‘lieutenant’ and to wonder about whether they came from the same word.
I found they do come from the same root meaning place, from the Middle English liue, from Anglo-French liu, lieu, from Latin locus and was first used in the 14th century. With the tenant part coming from the Anglo-French tenir to hold, from Latin tenere. Confused? I was so I googled (love the way a noun has changed to a verb in such a short time) lieutenant and was sidetracked by its pronunciation.
‘Lieutenant’ looks like it should be pronounced the French way ‘loo-ten-ant’ but many English countries pronounce it ‘lef-ten-ant’ and the reason is unclear to me. It appears that the Old French word had a final ‘w’ which was often pronounced ‘f’ by certain areas even if it shouldn’t have been. That sounds like a logical idea and the one I like the most but I found several other thoughts.
1. A common English word for ‘toilet’ is ‘loo’ and they didn’t want to be derogatory towards the officers so they started pronouncing it ‘lef-ten-ant’
2. A deliberate Anglicisation of a French word. The English and French have been at odds for a very long time. When we were intending on travelling from England to France we were told we’d be fine if we mentioned we were Australian.
3. Someone thought it had something to do with Russian and German!
4. The letters ‘v’ and ‘u’ being almost the same in English they were swapped.
5. A mouth injury to a Lieutenant Lefting made it hard for him to pronounce his title and the ‘Leftenant Lefting’ stuck.
6. Noah Webster changed things a bit when he wrote his American dictionary.
7. The lower ranking officer walked on the left side of his senior officer and protected it, giving rise to the ‘left-tenant’.
8. In medieval times when people actually fought their own battles the Lord of the Manor would be in the middle with his Head Knight on his right and his Head Tenant on his left, when the Head Tenant had enough money he paid someone else to fight in his stead making him a ‘left-tenant’.
It’s all very interesting and that’s with only a half hour research. I do wonder how much more rubbish I could find if I took more time. I do love some of the inventiveness of these people. I leave you with a link to the History of English, it seems to be fairly close to what I already knew but I found someone disputing some of it. The joys of the internet.
It used to be that you could go your whole life without having to read and it was only the privileged few or the religious who could read but in Western civilisation it’s now imperative that you can read and write as we have forms to fill in, signposts to read, banking and so much more. How hard would it be for someone who couldn’t read to get around town, hold up a job…or more particularly, to get a job in the first place? How would they be able to fill in the forms for the doctor, dentist, Medicare, tax office? Sure, you can get someone else to do it for you but that can only last some of your lifetime, we’ve made it imperative for everyone to have to be able to read and write.
If you wander over to this link you’ll see an assumption that the prisons in England are full of people who can’t read or people who lack good reading and writing skills. I doubt this is true of everyone but certainly a percentage of these inmates are those who can’t read or write at all and programmes such as the Quick Reads initiative must help in part but do they help people to stop re-offending when they get out? Can’t answer that question but I certainly hope so. I love the idea of this programme, if you read to the end you’ll find they gave 300 copies of the new Doctor Who book to the prisons which I hope will help people to want to read. I’m a firm proponent of the ‘find the right book and they’ll start reading’ theory so it’s good to see they’re not just being given classics but are also being given science fiction.
A while ago I found a group of people in Melbourne trying to collect donations and books to lend to prisons, they were focusing on textbooks, dictionaries and encyclopedias, I managed to give them some books but the next time I had a couple of boxes of dictionaries looking for a good home I couldn’t find them again. I think the problem with that project was the cost of postage, it’d be much better if we could just give a set of reference books to each prison in Australia and then they’re there all the time and we don’t have to worry about storage or postage. Postage is fairly expensive here and reference books weigh a lot. I can send a parcel weighing up to 500 grams for $6.95 across Australia but only small dictionaries would weigh less than that, most of them would weigh more so it’s then more economic to use a pre-paid satchel for $13.40 but that only goes up to 3 kg, the good reference works would weigh more than that. If I want to send a 20 kg parcel to Perth it’s outrageous at $67.45! The problem is the vast distance it has to cover, to give overseas people some idea of how far it is, they’re three hours behind us, it’s over 2,000 miles or 3,400 km by road.
You know those days when the memory clears and you finally remember that absolute gem from your childhood that is still on the shelf? I had one of those yesterday and quickly unearthed it this morning. As you can see from the photo it is J. R. R. Tolkein reading from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it’s not the whole of the books but only excerpts as it was made in 1975 and is therefore on vinyl but it’s an absolute gem. I searched YouTube and found one of the excerpts for you:
It’s all of side A and is Tolkein reading Bilbo’s meeting with Gollum. The illustration on the front is an original picture by Tolkein of Smaug talking with Bilbo.
Here is the special announcement I was referring to on Monday. Anthony will be writing a few guest posts, he’s taking on the topic of children’s books; something I don’t like writing about as I don’t know enough. Over to you, Anthony.
Reading together, parent to child, is always going to be among the foremost of all the special experiences of childhood. Many people’s earliest memories are of being read to by their mother or father. The special mix of being snuggled in a cuddle or a cosy bed, combined with entering a wonderful imaginative world of adventure and possibility, is unique. Furthermore, research has shown that simply listening to someone reading to them increases activity in the language centre of a child’s brain, helping them acquire language themselves and to lay down verbal memory. Other benefits have been identified as a strengthening of relationship between parent and child, enhancing communication skills and embedding a sense of being well equipped to deal with new experiences having approached them via an imaginative route first. For a parent, there is also the element of heritage – handing down to your child the love of a book that you were read to when you were their age, that they in their turn will one day be reading to a child of their own. The mark of an inspiring children’s book is one that endures as the top reading pick through the generations. Here are five titles worthy of the accolade “Timeless Classic.”
1. “Where The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.
Over 19 million copies of this story of the night Max put on his wolf suit and made mischief have been sold since it was first published in 1963. Max, in his costume, wreaks chaos in his house and is sent to bed without any supper. His bedroom is magically transformed into a jungle and he sails to an island inhabited by wild beasts, which he first intimidates and then is crowned by them as King Of All Wild Things and asked to stay forever. But Max “was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him most of all.” The fact that someone is his mother, and that she had a hot supper waiting for him after all, encapsulates the poignant message that your parents will still love and forgive you, no matter how naughty you are.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
There can be very few people on this earth unfamiliar with the tale of the colourful caterpillar that eats his way through all manner of foodstuffs before pupating and emerging as a butterfly. This book is a winner on all counts – from its marvellous illustrations to its potential for interacting in counting games as the litany of foods eaten unfolds, to its satisfying denouement with the transformation from caterpillar to beautiful butterfly. There are very large board book versions of this story, which are great for propping up in front of a high chair or play pen, so that your pre-schooler can enjoy looking at the colourful illustrations between readings.
3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
This wonderful picture book is the perfect bedtime story for a heavy- lidded child still clinging to the last vestiges of daytime. The gentle lulling tone, the softness of the story of a child saying goodnight to all the sweet objects and beings in her room and – finally – “Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere” – is like sleep-hypnosis for the very young. The gentle rhythm of the language and softness of the images makes it impossible to feel other than safe and sound at the end of the day. Indeed, many a reader has ended up accidentally falling asleep alongside their child after the whisper of the last word on the page has barely left their mouth.
4. Diary Of A Wombat by Jackie French
Published in 2002, it is easy to predict that this award winning picture book illustrated by Bruce Whatley is destined to join the ranks of stories that are read aloud to generations to come. Mothball the wombat’s diary covers eight days in his life, during which he plays havoc with a local family – not out of any malice but because he is seeing life through his wombat eyes and doing just what comes naturally. The result is full of humour, charm and warmth that will raise a giggle from even the most serious of kids.
5. The Cat In The Hat by Dr Seuss
The exotic and charismatic cat of the title holds all the power in this, the first of Dr Seuss’s Cat In the Hat series which has taught generations of children to read. Written in upbeat rhyme, it is the perfect read-aloud book which narrates a rainy day in which two bored children are left alone by their mother. Enter the eponymous cat and life becomes a little wild and more than chaotic. Reactions to the exploits of the exuberant figure who performs all sorts of whacky tricks are typically divided among children who take gleeful delight at the cat’s outrageous anti-authoritarian antics and those who literally squirm in anticipation of the return of the children’s mother to a totally upturned domestic scene – wherein comes one of the best last lines of any book ever – “Well, what would YOU do if your mother asked you?”
Anthony Smith is the Chief Operating Officer of an Australian childcare management company, Guardian Child Care Alliance. As a parent himself, Anthony recognises the importance of reading to children allowing them the freedom to thrive and in an educational and nurturing environment.
Today is a very special edition of Mondayitis. Today, I present to you Uncle Alfred! Sometimes he’s a Queensland Blue Heeler and when he’s not he’s a perfectly rational man.
What do you read?
I’m not a big reader. I read the newspaper, there are a lot of pictures in the newspaper, it makes it easier to read.
Why do you read?
I read to pass the time, when I’m not mowing the lawn or drying dishes. Sometimes the family leave the telly on and I watch that. Good programme on now, it’s Playschool they’re about to go through the window. It’s a dog! Woof! I’m a dog! Want to play with the dog on telly! Woof! Woof!
My apologies for that, I didn’t know how long he’d last. When Uncle Alfred sees a dog he behaves like a dog. I think I should take him to the park for a game of fetch. He comes from the book I’ll Plead Insanity by Melbourne lawyer David Cross.
It’d be nice if I had something to say today.
Instead of finding something to write about I’ve been tidying, I’d like to see my desk so I’ve been dealing with things. All cords have been tidied and been placed into a box, the pile of books has been put away and I’m currently in the middle of entering business cards into my gmail account so I can access the information easily. I saw someone else photoraph a business card, put it into her virtual filing system and then give the card back so I thought I’d do a similar thing and spent the weekend using lots of swear words downloading business card apps on my phone, finding they don’t work too well, deleting and then trying another. Having tried three apps I decided I could use my finely honed data entry skills and do it manually, 16 cards and a couple of hours later (I won’t talk about the interruptions) I feel I’m well on my way to having the 50 odd cards sorted and thrown out before I move onto the ones in my filing system.
Gmail is great for this as I can put people in groups and add extensive notes so I know when and where I met them, what we discussed and what further action I need to do, the groups are awesome as I can just select a group and work some magic with them. The extensive notes are seriously needed as I have a head like a sieve and really need some organising to ensure I don’t forget to do something I’ve promised. Once that’s done I’ll have to work on the papers and then consider actually cleaning the desk before moving onto some other part of the house.
I was hoping to make an announcement today but I think I’ll just leave everyone on tenterhooks, I’m waiting either for confirmation or a photo or both before I publish an article which I hope will be the first of many and a slightly new direction for this blog.
I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day.