I asked James to write something about reading, and how the Kindle might be changing our experience of reading—and he went way beyond that limited brief, outlining a much richer story pivoting around Amazon and its infrastructure, speaking to the dynamics of contemporary platforms as well as contemporary culture. It's exactly the kind of piece we envisaged for SuperNormal.
I thought I'd also note the amazing graphic work that the series also benefits from, by the great Milan firm Salottobuono who are creative directors for Domus magazine. It's an utter privilege to work with Marco Ferrari and Simone Trotti on these articles—I'm really enjoying the interplay between the essay and the graphics. Essentially, we deliver the essay and then Salottobuono get to work. We kick ideas back and forth a bit, and then they produce these amazing graphical articulations of the themes, which add a whole new dimension to the piece. Two for one.
In this piece, note the particularly strong, clear information design by Simone Trotti, explaining everything from how e-readers work to the global distribution of Amazon's infrastructure, from the market shares of Kindles and iPads, to the various 'lives' of Amazon itself. (Incidentally, I learnt a little more about the name 'salotto buono' earlier this week while reading 'The Dark Heart of Italy', by Tobias Jones. Here's a definition. Interesting choice, chaps!)
Next in the SuperNormal series is about to appear, and I'm excited about that one too—more when it's out, but it's a very different theme indeed. Another one is in production, and then another before the summer break. Then, some more work on the website to continue the "knocking into shape" project there. (Phew. This 'spare time' work does indeed take a lot of spare time.)
See also the earlier post on the background to SuperNormal, and the first two entrants in the series: on the Nokia N9 and Facebook Timeline (including an interview with Facebook designer Nicholas Felton.)