Friday, October 22, 2010

You Have to Hand It To Them

Who says great designers don't think alike?

The other day, I bought the book Proofiness, by Charles Seife, published by Viking, which is an excellent (and funny) exposé of math abuse and deception in today's media (a worthy modern take on the old 1950s classic How to Lie With Statistics). Highly recommended.

This morning, I received in the post a review copy of a book called Sleights of Mind by Steven Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, two neuroscience researchers whom I had met at the Santa Fe Science Writers Workshop last year, and who study how the mind lies to us, published by Henry Holt. I am looking forward to reading it.

What immediately struck me about these two books were their covers:
Those hands certainly get around! (Thank you, Thing.) In fact, close examination shows that it is the same stock image (from Getty Images, according to both book jackets). They're wearing gloves, otherwise I would check their prints.

It kind of reminds me of that back page in Consumer Reports where they occasionally show all the different ads that use the same stock photo models; one poor guy, apparently, had every disease on Earth until he finally turned up in an ad for a funeral home. Then there was the fickle family who were in one ad for a cable company and then the same bunch turned up in another ad for satellite TV.

My former TrendWatch colleague Heidi Tolliver-Nigro and I used to write a lot about stock photos back in the day and we would always point out that one of the downsides to using royalty-free imagery was the chance that someone else would end up using the same image.

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