Travel guides according to Wikipedia, and our first impressions of existing travel guides. An ongoing research.
A guide book is a book for tourists or travelers that provides details about a geographic location, tourist destination, or itinerary. It is the written equivalent of a tour guide. Many travel guides now take the form of travel websites rather than printed books.
It usually includes details such as phone numbers, addresses, prices and reviews of hotels and other lodgings, restaurants, and activities. Maps of varying detail are often included. Sometimes historical and cultural information is also provided. Different guide books may focus on different aspects of travel, from adventure travel to relaxation, or be aimed at travelers with larger or smaller travel budgets, or focus on the particular interests and concerns of certain groups such as sexual orientation or dietary restrictions.
Guide books are generally intended to be used in conjunction with actual travel.
The idea of a guide book dates back to the medieval Arab world, with the establishment of treasure hunting as a major industry from around the 9th century. Many guide books for travelers in search of ancient Near Eastern artifacts, monuments and treasures were written by experienced Arabic treasure hunters and alchemists which became best sellers in the medieval Arab world. This was particularly the case in Arab Egypt, where ancient Egyptian antiquities were highly valued by early Egyptologists.
A travel guide needs:
• To be in a small format that is easy to carry around.
• To have good/clear illustrated information about cultural sites and attractions.
• To be not too heavy.
• To have valuable insights into most aspects of a country, its people, culture, history and attractions.
Studying the guides.
Wallpaper City Guide - Amsterdam
- Wallpaper City Guide starts with ‘The City At a Glance’, basically highlighting certain locations and sights.
- Contains blank and girded pages at the end of the book for notes and scribbles. Which is a practical solution to having to carry a guide book and a note pad.
- The average temperature and rainfall are useless as you can check that more precisely and up-to-date online.
- Wallpaper City Guide contains a directory of museums and restaurants with the addresses and phone numbers.
- Very good photography, but all pictures lack the human figures.
Design & Layout
- Wallpaper City Guide uses two main fonts, a sans serif font for the titles and the body text in all pages and a serif font for the introductory body text for each section.
- The text layout is a one [full page] column for the main introductory text and a two column grid for the descriptive text.
- Simple covers in bright, attractive colors.
- The best format of the 4 guides we have in terms of practicality in carrying around.
DK Eyewitness Travel - The Netherlands
For starters I’d like to say it’s ugly, too big, too thick and the cover is too rigid!!
- Divided into areas with color codes.
- The ‘How to use the guide’ was obviously added when they realized it was really hard for anyone to find his/her way though the clutter!
Design & Layout
- Built on two and three column grids with inconsistent text alignment.
- An overwhelming, confusing amount of pictures and different styled illustrations.
- Too big, too thick and too heavy.
- Design: http://lava.nl/
- Le Cool basically contains bits and pieces about anything and everything in Amsterdam. Shops, activities, museums, recommendations to kinds of foods and restaurants that are worth checking out.
- Also mentions the important festivals and when they take place.
- Has interviews with some people, shop owners for example which makes the experience of going though the book while or in preparation for going through the city ‘real’.
Design & Layout
- The usage of creative, unconventional pictures and design elements make it interesting and fun to own.
- Built on variable grids. Visually bound by the style of the design elements and the pictures.
- Le Cool has a sans serif basic typeface for the body text and a variable typefaces for the headlines of the sections.
- It has a very good format thought I think it’s a bit too thick to carry around.
Lonely Planet Amsterdam
- Lonely Planet has a more detailed insight into the country with the people’s habits and expected reactions.
- Some people find the lonely planet’s approach feeling like spoon fed information, not leaving much for them to explore and discover on their own.
- It mentions helpful facts about ways to get around, transportation costs and appropriate tipping in hotels and cafes.
- The descriptive paragraphs are short and to the point in terms of information.
Design & Layout
- The first couple of pages are too busy with pictures.
- The inside layout is modest, and the two color scheme is simple enough for the reader.
- Each Bold cyan title is followed by a smaller font sized paragraph of info, i.e: telephone, website, opening hours and ticket prices. Followed by the descriptive body text in Regular.
- Lonely Planet is dissected by areas, and the pages have the area name in fine spaced vertical font format.
- The two color maps are easier to use that the fully colored ones.
- The 3 blank pages for notes near the end of the book may be helpful.
- The Lonely planet is of a medium format that’s not optimum for putting in a small bag or a pocket but shouldn’t be too irritating to walk around with.