Hyperlinks in Print III

This third chapter of our investigation into the use ofhyperlinking metaphores in print design takes us to a page of theApril 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly magazine: David Foster Wallace’s cover story about talk radio. The layout of the article has been altered to facilitate interaction between the main text and the footnotes (not unlike the work done in I.D. magazine in early 2004).

[if:book] Wallace is well-known for his copious use of footnotes & endnotes, and this article is no exception. However, either Wallace or The Atlantic’s art director have decided to treat his digressions differently in this case: words or phrases in the main text that signal a jumping-off point have lightly colored boxes drawn around them, rather than a superscripted numeral after them. In the print edition, boxes in the margins – one immediately thinks ofwindows – with notes in them appear, color-coded to match the set-off phrases. Some of the notes have notes; they get more boxes of their own. It’s subtle and well thought out, and considerably more inviting to read over 23 pages than footnotes or endnotes would be. Most interesting is how the aesthetic draws inspiration from the web: the boxed notes suggest pop-up windows (or the electronic – not so much the paper – version of Post-It notes), especially when they’re layered. And the boxed phrases suggest nothing so much as the underlining that the Web has taught us signifies a hyperlink. The HTML version (preview) on their website follows this exactly, presenting the notes as pop-up windows (some of which pop up their own windows).

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Click image for bigger version. Image originally from the if:book website. Reposted here under similar Creative Commons License.

If you have seen some kind of web-like layout in other publications, please let us know by sending us an email using the link at the top left of this site. Thank you.