I was shown the new IKEA ad a couple weeks ago. On the surface it points in good humor at Apple, but under the raillery I couldn’t help feel the commentary on books themselves.
I had a great professor in design school, whose assignments I liberally experimented with. He took no time in correcting me and that was the best part. I was constantly learning what to do and what not to do. On one such occasion, we had to design grids for a book project. I took the extra step into lunacy and created a dynamic grid that was changing from page to page, and rather unsuitable for a book.
Afterwards, I still remember Matthew—my professor—telling me, “Webpages are not cinematic. Books are cinematic.” The movement in a book is beautiful but it comes from how you use the same grid on every page as at least an initial fixed variable. Even the way we used to critique sketches spoke to this. No matter how many spreads anyone had, they were never hung up vertically—always horizontal. It didn’t matter if the wall only fit three people at a time for critiques—spreads simply had to be looked at the same way one turns pages in a book, left to right.
When I saw this IKEA ad, I thought the same thing—books are cinematic, and an experience. And best of all—though I don’t refute the argument that for reading, electronics books make sense—there’s something lovely about paging through a book. You’re able to live the journey inside something that you’re holding in your hands from its outside.