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Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects.

The animal featured on the cover of Information Architecture is a polar bear (Ursus maritimus). Polar bears live primarily on the icy shores of Greenland and northern North America and Asia. They are very strong swimmers, and rarely venture far from the water. The largest land carnivore, male polar bears weigh from 770 to 1400 pounds. Female polar bears are much smaller, weighing 330 to 550 pounds. The preferred meal of polar bears is ringed seals and bearded seals. When seals are unavailable they will eat fish, reindeer, birds, berries, and trash.

Polar bears are, of course, well adapted to living in the Arctic Circle. Their black skin is covered in thick, water-repellant, white fur. Adult polar bears are protected from the cold by a layer of blubber that is more than four inches thick. They are so well insulated, in fact, that overheating can be a problem. For this reason they move slowly on land, taking frequent breaks. Their large feet spread out their substantial weight, allowing them to walk on thin ice surfaces that animals weighing far less would break through. Because food is available year-round, most polar bears don't hibernate. Pregnant females are the exception, and the tiny 1 to 1 1/2 pound cubs are born during the hibernation period.

Polar bears have no natural enemies. Their greatest threat comes from hunting, but in the past 15 years most governments have placed strict limits on the hunting of polar bears. Their population has more than doubled in that time, and is now estimated to be between 21,000 and 28,000. They are not considered to be endangered. They are extremely aggressive and dangerous animals. While many bears actively avoid human contact, polar bears tend to view humans as prey. In encounters between humans and polar bears, the bear almost always wins.

Edie Freedman designed the cover of this book, using a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. The cover layout was produced with Quark XPress 3.3 using the ITC Garamond font.

The inside layout was designed by Nancy Priest and implemented in FrameMaker 5.0 by Mike Sierra. The text and heading fonts are ITC Garamond Light and Garamond Book. The screen shots that appear in the book were created in Adobe Photoshop 4.0 and the illustrations were created in Macromedia Freehand 7.0 by Robert Romano. This colophon was written by Clairemarie Fisher O'Leary.

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