Area 2 a Graphic Design book for Inspiration

I was pleased to given a free copy of Area 2 which i was asked if I was interested in reviewing. Even though its a freebie I don’t believe in giving a good review unless I feel it is deserved, but fortunately I really like this book.

graphic design book for inspiration

According to Phaidon who publish the book:
10 of the most respected figures in the field have come together to select 100 innovative designers, working in media ranging from books and magazines to posters and typography. 100 critical essays introduce each designer and lavish full-colour spreads provide an insight into the visual character of their work.

The book is a real bombardment of inspiration, it reminds me a bit of a fashion catwalk where you see trends being set, which then will trickle down to the high street or in his case other designers. This isn’t a book you can just have a quick flick through, it is huge (over 400 pages) it is packed with design and illustration and is the sort of book you will keep noticing something new in each time you look. I was please to see some of my favourite character designers included too – James Jarvis and Friends with You

You can buy Area 2 from Amazon

Book for Logo Design Inspiration

logo design book

There are a lot of good websites out there now for logo design inspiration including most well known logopond, while these are great I always prefer looking at reference in printed book form.

I bought Dos Logos about a year ago while working on a logo design project and stuck for inspiration. Unlike many books on logo design this isn’t made up of pages of highly corporate logos, in fact there are very few logos in the book that I had seen before. As well as some conservative logo design approaches this book shows logos pushed to their limits, such as icons more like illustrations in their own right, pictograms and icons without words.

The books is split into sections such as: corporate, culture, design, fashion, media etc and explores a wide range of logos applicable to that area. Some of the logos are totally what I would call “off the wall,” some highly usable but what it does do is get you thinking about what a logo is and the different directions you can take it.

If you are looking for a book with well known logos and explanation to the designers process this is not for you, but if you want to be bombarded by logo design inspiration from the expected to the unusual this book is worth a look. A new book in the series is also out called Tres Logos.

Do you know of any good logo design books?

New Book available on Freelancing

freelance design bookI found out Freelance Switch have produced a new book on freelancing “How to be a Rock Star Freelancer” via Charity at Design Adaptations

I haven’t read the book but according to the Freelance switch site:
“Weighing in at 212 pages, this is the essential guide to Freelancing. It covers topics like Getting Started, Getting Your First Jobs, Scoping & Timeframes, Project Management, Pricing, Marketing and Building a Business.”

Freelance Switch is an excellent site full of information for freelance designers and I am sure the book will be just as good. It’s available as a PDF ebook for $29 and will be available in printed format from Lulu in January

How to Have Creative Ideas

creative bookWhile I was away on holiday I took the book “How To Have Creative Ideas” by Edward de Bono which I heard a lot about. For those of you that haven’t heard of Edward de Bono (I hadn’t a few month ago) he is a leading figure in the field of creative thinking and has worked with people from children to large corporations. De Bono believes that the brain and your creativity needs to be exercised. As with anything you become more creative with practice, he also believes that anyone can learn to be more creative.

The book “How to Have Creative Ideas,” consists of a series of exercises designed to flex your creative muscles using random words for inspiration. For example one of the exercises is to take a random word (these are selected from tables at the back of the book randomly by rolling a dice) and come up with new ideas to make a bank more attractive to its customers. I randomly drew the word curry mmm… makes you think doesn’t it. How can you use the word curry to come up with ideas to promote a bank? Maybe the bank could have a snack bar so customers can grab lunch while sorting their finances, could the bank be themed different Countries different months India/curry to promote its travel currency services and travel insurance, maybe on opening a new student account the student is given a voucher for a curry at a local curry house. Ok maybe they are not the best ideas but you can see the concept. Once you are confident at using the random words with de Bono’s exercises you can then apply the random words to your own problems.

Another exercise I enjoyed was to randomly pick to words to create a potential profit making company. I picked Ant and Hotel, so maybe there could be a hotel with very small rooms, I have seen on TV hotels in Japan where your “hotel room” is literally a shelf with a bed and curtains round it, perhaps this could be introduced for pub goers as a cheaper alternative to a taxi (ok, if you are laughing, you think of some 🙂 )

What I really like about the whole random word idea, is it can throw up concepts that you wouldn’t have thought of in a million years. I can see that this way of thinking could be especially useful for conceptual design work and advertising, I think I will give it a try on the next project I am stuck on.

I think this book is well worth a look for anyone interested in expanding their way of thinking. If you are looking for a random word generator to have a quick try of some creative thinking check out the random word generator. This site also suggests exercises similar to Edward de Bono’s ideas.

Graphic Design Cookbook

A little while ago I came across a small paper back book in our local bookshop called The Graphic Design Cookbook, with a slogan – mix and max recipes for faster, better layouts, sounded interesting so I bought it. Essentially what the book does is picks and element of a design layout for example page folios and then shows you numerous page folio examples, just as simple black and white diagrams. The idea being I guess that if you are stuck for an idea for layout you flick to an element of the book to inspire you. Some of you may disagree but I think the premise of this book is very good. I would never create a mix and match design but sometimes you do think – what could I do with that page folio to make it look a bit more interesting and anything to help spur an idea is always welcome.

The downside of this book is, in my opinion it is badly executed. I decided to give it a go when I was stuck once for a straight piece of layout design.When I have a concept within a design I find the layout easily evolves around it, but for me if I am just given a photograph and text and told to make them look nice its a lot more difficult to pull something interesting out of the hat. So did the book work, for me, no, the graphics deliberately made stark/diagramatic did not inspire me at all, and so I did my usual flicking through my scrap books and magazines for inspiration and scribbling on a layout pad. What it did do was make me think this could work if was done better.

Maybe there is a way we could all start a shared design elements gallery on Flickr or similar image gallery (cool headings, navigation, folios etc) ? I rarely use Flickr so am not sure if this is possible for people to group their images together, or do you prefer to have your own personal resource? What do you think?

Pictoplasma 2 Contemporary Character Design

pictoplasmaI absolutely love the Pictoplasma character design book. What made me pick it up in the bookshop initially was it looked so different – larger than A4 padded and pink with silver foil splodges. The book is full as it says in the title contemporary character designs – some you will immediately recognise. There are a diverse range of characters – vector based, photographic, japanese influenced. toys and dolls, I’m sure I recognise some of the toys from one of the new Citroen car adverts. Its the most up-todate collection of characters I have seen, the Pictoplasma website is cool too.