Re: Calling All Cooks & Design Gurus

Subject: Re: Calling All Cooks & Design Gurus
From: "Sierra Godfrey" <sgodfrey -at- ion -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 13:42:14 -0800

I have found Japanese cookbooks to be excellent displays of design and
layout. A lady at work leant me a Japanese dessert cookbook that was a
beautiful thing. I find that Japanese documents tend to follow the
picture-for-every-instruction rule. What the cookbook designers did was
take on that challenge to fit the pictures for each step in a way that
didn't compromise too much space. They used interesting columns and layout
grids. I couldn't judge very well how good that would be to cook just
glancing at it, probably not that good, but the pages sure were pretty. The
series or publisher is called "Non-no."

Another highlight was that every recipe had a picture of the finished food.
This is something I find severely lacking in all my cookbooks. If I can't
picture a yummy dish, I'll be much less inclined to want to put in the
effort to make it. I want to see how nice it will look. I find this also to
be the case for myself with documentation--give me the finished picture and
I'll be more inclined to put the product together.

There is a paper written about how the differences between Japanese and
American illustrations in the may 1999 issue of Technical Communication
that provided me with a lot of insight in this.

Finally, I have to agree with Gene Kim-Eng that listing ingredients is a
good way to start, for cookbooks. I find myself skimming ingredients first,
and if there are some crazy items, I might skip it or might be more excited
to attempt it. I also like to lay out all ingredients for anything (food or
otherwise) before starting so this is particularly useful.


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