My Design Bookshelf
I have always been a book-lover ever since I was a small child and I almost always had a book in my hand; however, as I got older, I gradually got busier and busier and the time for reading seemed to slip away. I miss reading novels and taking a break from my life by transporting myself into someone else’s through the stories and tales in books, and I love learning new things through reading too. In the past few years, I have been attempting to rekindle my book-reading days by reading books about design, so that I can justify the time spent reading because it’s informative, inspiring and encouraging as well as being related to my university work or side projects. I’m chronic for daydreaming about books and often buying more when I haven’t finished the ones I already have (oops), so I’ve made myself stop buying more until I’ve finished all the ones I’ve yet to make it through, although this is proving very difficult! I thought that today I would share the books I have bought and enjoyed so far so that you can enjoy them too!
Michael Janda - Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, But Should.
This is the first design book that I ever bought. I think it was the bright yellow cover with brilliant illustrations all over it that originally had me sold, but what lay on the inside was even better. This book is non-stop brilliant content with every sentence full of value and motivation. There are real-life practical tips and advice to help you succeed as a designer and make your mark in the creative world and while the advice is real and extremely helpful, Burn Your Portfolio is full of humour and a fun read. I actually think I need to go back and re-read this as many times a year as possible, it’s that great!
Gem Barton - Don’t Get a Job, Make a Job
While Burn Your Portfolio was the first design book I ever purchased, Gem Barton’s book happens to be the latest one to be added to my collection! I actually wrote about this book in my April Favourites post but I couldn’t not mention it here too. Some people think that you can’t run a successful design agency if you haven’t finished your degree, or that it will be impossible to find a design job after university because there are just too many designers, or that you have to just go and work for somebody else when you graduate because that’s just how things work. I disagree with all of those things and this book is full of examples of inspiring creatives who have taken the bull by the horns so to speak and made a career of their own! If you want to feel inspired and challenged to do something great, this is the book for you!
Deyan Sudjic - B is for Bauhaus
I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t completely finished this book because it is reasonably long and quite a full on read, but what I have read has been amazing! An A-Z of all things from Critical Design, to Grand Theft Auto, to National Identity, to Postmodernism, to Youtube and so on, this book is a discussion of the world around us in relation to fashion, technology, design and art. Each chapter goes through the alphabet discussing a different topic, making the reader think about the world today and how these things impact our work in design and art. I love this book but I definitely have to be in the right mindset to read it because it’s not a lazy Sunday afternoon read, but more of an interesting, intellectual read for when you’re feeling inquisitive and thoughtful. It’s also beautifully designed so that’s a bonus!
Phil Cleaver - What they didn’t teach you in design school: What you actually need to know to make a success in the industry
This is another book which teaches you the things that design school can sometimes miss out on. While Burn Your Portfolio is directed towards working in design and how to manage more business related aspects of design, Phil Cleaver’s book contains more practical skills around design itself. This includes information on setting up for printing, working with photographers, what SEO is, different colour-matching systems and so on. It contains most of the basic things you need to know if you want to work in design and gives you practical steps to help you get started with them!
Philip B. Meggs & Alston Purvis - Meggs’ History of Graphic Design
It’s all well and good to be up with the latest design trends and know what is expected as a designer today, but its equally important to understand the history of the business you’re a part of and where all these trends have come from. Meggs' History of Graphic Design is a comprehensive history of our field with masses of information and inspiration throughout the ages. This is a huge book and perhaps not one you would sit and read casually, but it’s a great reference book and one to take a look at when you have the time to see how design has developed throughout time to get to where we are today! I have the 5th Edition but a brand new 6th version has just been released this year so you'll have the FULL history!
The Graphic Artists Guild - Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines
This is another big ol’ book and actually sits with my copy of Meggs' History under my computer screen for the moment! (I’m working on getting a stand so I can actually read these books but it’ll do for now!) This is basically a text book for all things business in the design world. It contains information about contracts with templates for you to use, pricing guides based on global averages, legal information about copyrights and other potential issues, and so much more! Again, this book is definitely not a casual read, but it’s all of the practical and really important things that can help you as a creative in your business ventures, make sure you don’t make any mistakes, and give you an idea of the way other creatives across the world are working. This book is apparently considered the “industry bible” for designers and illustrators and you can download the digital versions or order the print version here!
Eric Gill - An essay on Typography
Last but not least is Eric Gill’s Essay on Typography. Eric Gill is a well known type designer with several typefaces to his name. This book is his essay from 1931 all about typography, lettering, carving and much more. I don’t want to give too much of the essay away because I actually want to give a copy of this book away to one of you! This is not sponsored or anything, I have just somehow ended up with two copies of this book, both in perfect condition, but I don’t need two and I think someone else deserves to have a copy of their own! All you have to do is leave a comment right here on this blog post telling me your favourite book about design, creativity or business, and on Monday 11th July, in two weeks time at 6pm, I will pick a random winner! Wherever you live in the world, I’ll send you a copy of the book!
So, these are all of my design books so far! I’d love to know if you’ve read any great design books and what you loved about them! And if you live nearby, maybe we could do a book-lending swap! Don’t forget to leave a comment with your favourite book to be in to win! Happy reading!
Much Love, Hollie! :D