Nicolas Magand on the internet

Comments about tech, media, nature, &c.

My name is Nicolas Magand and I live in Paris, France. I work as a social media and engagement editor at the Global Editors Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in the news industry. Here I blog mostly about tech and media, but many other topics can face my enthusiasm.

Filtering by Tag: design

When you think of a pencil, you probably picture it yellow: This is why

Another gem of a link that I discovred through Daniel Benneworth-Gray's newsletter Meanwhile. Gabrielle Hick, on Artsy, tells the origin story behind the colour yellow and pencils:

A number of pencil manufacturers, including Hardtmuth, now sourced their graphite from Siberia—the vast Russian province which shares borderland with China. That geographic proximity was key for Hardtmuth as it devised its marketing scheme.

In China, yellow had long been tied to royalty. The legendary ruler considered the progenitor of Chinese civilization was known as the Yellow Emperor; thus, centuries later in Imperial China only the royal family was allowed to wear yellow. Eventually, the shade came to represent happiness, glory, and wisdom.

Great story. I would love to see a list of products and the stories behind a particular colour or a specific shape; I can only think of blue jeans, white earbuds, and possibly the Laguiole knife. If you think of something, hit me up on Twitter.

Don't read this if you don't want to get mad

Avi Selk, on the Washington Post

The major reason to use two spaces, the researchers wrote, was to make the reading process smoother, not faster.

I have to say I agree with Khoi Vinh on this one. This article got me mad, and the whole idea is so ridiculous to me that I had to link to it.

Why not three spaces after each dot? Why not only use m-dashes to separate sentences? Why not capitalize the whole first word of every sentence? There is a fine line between comfort and style, and for me this line is called design.

If two spaces after a dot made the reading experience slightly better for some, it appears like systematic typos to me, or as pompous provocation from the writer. This doesn't improve my reading experience at all, on the contrary, it distracts me and I end up ranting about it.