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An On-Line Book Review:

'The Colorbook'


This HTML book is split into four chapters, intended to collate piecemeal information and facts about colour in terms of marketing and psychology in a usable and interesting format. Additionally the book contains a "complete colour reference" section, which brings together twenty colour subsections with some common associations and facts about each. The author appears at first glance to have covered a great deal of ground in this book, as the four chapters are split further, into 32 subsections. However, many of the chapters are brief, or would be better placed into context with further integration between chapters. For example, I would have liked to have seen hyperlinks throughout the document, to take advantage of the HTML format. The reference guide, at least, benefits from the linked table at the start of the section.


The author admits at the beginning of the book that two of the chapters are rather mixed up because "most people find it interesting and it will provide useful talking points". Although this offers a justification, it is a shame that the author has decided to do this, because these chapters are reduced from a useful book to a collection of articles, which are difficult to refer back to after reading. Hyperlinks have been utilised to jump to specific chapters, but there are no subheadings within the chapters themselves to refer to when looking for specific information, which also lowers the usability.


The content itself is, as the author suggests, very interesting, covering a diverse range of topics such as colour and religion, food, music, business, the home, and in institutions, among others. Concentrating on less, condensing the information and restructuring the book would help increase the usability here, as the reasoning behind the chapter topics are not always clear. However, research seems to have been carried out from far and wide to create the content, and so credit is due for collating the information. The reference section is probably the strongest section of the book in terms of usefulness and informational value, as it covers a good range of colours, and an interesting, but not overly useful, selection of criteria for analysation of the colours.


The author writes with enthusiasm for the subject, but once again, the piece-meal style of the whole book does not allow for much detail or thought. Glancing through the book reveals few paragraphs over five sentences in length, although keeping points succinct in a HTML document is usually the safest way to make readability less of a problem. Sadly, there are some spelling and grammatical errors in the book, which show a little carelessness. As the critic, I know I am not perfect either, but when money comes into the equation, the buyer wants to see perfection.


The sources of many specific parts of the colorbook are a mystery, although a good bibliography is included at the end of chapter 4. It would be useful, however, as this is a HTML document, to have the bibliography linked to paragraphs in the book. All too often, the author refers to sources as ‘them’, and ‘they’, rather than a specific source, which lowers the credibility somewhat.


I have to conclude that the book contains a number of useful points, facts, and opinions, but after reading them the first time around, things are difficult to find again, apart from within the reference guide. Overall, this book strikes me as being a very good collection of pre-essay notes.