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?