My current favourite design books

I believe no matter what your profession, it is important to familiarise yourself with what others are doing within the industry. In my case as a young designer, I enjoy reading how other designers have obtained their success (and gaining insight into their creative process is always interesting). The saying goes don’t judge a book by its cover but as a designer, I can’t help it. The cover of a book has the potential to communicate so much about its content so if the cover isn’t amazing I won’t take interest initially. I picked up a lot of these originally due to their front covers, but their contents did not disappoint.

Work For Money Design For Love by David Airey

As I’m writing this post I haven’t yet finished reading this book but so far I am happy I decided to pick it up. It appears to be a great book for the novice designer (such as myself) as it describes in detail what being a Graphic Designer will entail. From my own experience, University was a great environment to learn about design history, myself as a designer and generally just learn to thrive in a stressful environment (maybe I can elaborate on my University experience in a future post, anyone interested?). Since graduating however, there are many things myself and my fellow creative friends are struggling to learn on our own. Things such what do I charge as a freelance designer? How do I communicate with clients? 

The best thing about the book is that it has clearly been designed with the intended audience in mind as each chapter is short and is often broken up with either illustrations or bold type which I LOVE. I have always processed information visually and reading large bodies of text can at times be tricky for me (I’m basically a kid). All in all, I would recommend this to anyone starting their design career or considering branching out into a freelance career or working from home.

Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

Anything that features hand produced type attracts my interest like a magnet, so when I first laid eyes on these two books I decided to pick them up pretty quickly. This quirky hand made type features throughout the whole book and somehow compliments the tone of the books so well. Both of the books also have really soft covers, I’m not sure what they are made from but I love it.  Both books are also short in length making them easy to ready through.

The books themselves have been written in first person, which was nice as I felt like I was quietly listening to the author talk directly to me throughout the whole book. Throughout the books, Kleon essentially talks the reader through his personal experience in the creative industry while showing snippets of his portfolio. I love getting sneak peaks into the creative processes of others. I sometimes feel there is a strange wall between successful and novice creatives in terms of providing insight and sharing their stories to success. Social media is of course changing this but I love to get my hands on any insight I can get. Since reading these books, I have become a bit fan of the author. His work is a great example of how hand made type can be incorporated into a range of different projects.

Design Your Life by Vince Frost

I had always been a fan of Vince Frost. It wasn’t until I attended a Vince Frost talk at my university’s grad show that I realized just how cool he was. Throughout his talk, Frost spoke about his recent book Design Your Life. I often find it hard to easily connect with a message, or a person but what he was saying just made sense. The talk was on the last day of my course, after spending the day with my friends for the last time in a while I went home, asked my boyfriend if he could get me the book as a Christmas present and waited. When Christmas came around I read the book and loved it.

The book brushes over elements of his career, includes beautiful and playful examples of type and features interviews by professionals in other industries. These interviews were interesting as they gave insight into anyone can design their own life they don’t have to be from a field that is traditionally considered creative. I would HIGHLY recommended this book. not only is it beautifully designed and a pleasure to hold in your hands, it is full of incredible insight for someone starting their career.