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Friday, February 24, 2012

winter reading '12

Even though I haven't had much time for enjoyable reading these past few months, I didn't want to skip out on my seasonal reading post. I've been doing them every three months since last summer and it's something I kind of like! But since my typical reads for the winter have been Praxis test prep books and more children's books than I ever thought I'd be reading as an adult, I decided to go into the archives and pull out some of my favorite design books to share with you this month.

I got all of these books during college and they served some great inspiration. I'd definitely recommend picking them up if you get inspired by design work that incorporates a lot of handmade elements, like ink, paper, and found objects. These books are the kind of thing that made me realize I maybe wasn't meant to have a typical graphic design job. :)

New Vintage Type
Classic Fonts for the Digital Age
Steven Heller and Gail Anderson

This book is packed with gorgeous ads, labels, posters, packaging, and other design work that are all created with vintage style typefaces. It gives the work a unique, decades old feel, full of texture and character. This book was a huge inspiration while I was creating my senior design project. (Note the crumpled post-its hanging out of the side.) I think the biggest compliment I got from the reviewers was for my unique use of type. It was really freeing to see some more "decorative" typefaces being used in an elegant way. Not only the type itself was old-style, but also the layouts. Think Victorian era ads.. lovely. It just goes to show you that good design doesn't have to be in one of the more popular fonts we all know and love. Decorative can be beautiful and well done as long as the design is fitting.

Dirty Fingernails
A One-of-a-Kind Collection of Graphics Uniquely Designed by Hand
John Foster

Another book you could get lost in by just flipping through it. It has a lot of screen printed and letterpressed beauties, but it also contains handmade objects such as plushies and bags as well. The book also features stunning package design, books, album art, and band posters.. all created by hand with ink, paper, wood, thread, fabric, and found objects. If you want change of pace from digital art, this book is definitely something you need to ad to your shelves. Each time you look at it you'll find something new to admire. :)

The Art of Using Handmade Elements in Graphic Design
Chen Design Associates

This is another favorite because it shows actual design projects that have some sort of handmade element mixed in. Like the second book, it doesn't just show print but also handmade objects. There's more beautiful examples of packaging and book design in this one too. This book is almost like a combination of the first two because along with the handmade elements, there is a lot of the vintage style type incorporated too. I think of the second book as a little more punky and artsy, and this book as a little more clean and elegant. It's good to have all your styles covered. ;)

Well that's it for now. I think anyone involved in creating packaging, invites, posters, ads, books, what have you, would benefit greatly from adding any of these books to their own personal collection. Even if you're only designing for your own brand, the ideas you could gain will definitely set you apart from the rest.

Have a great weekend! :)
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  1. These all look great, I love books like this especially anything including beautiful typography, I'm addicted to fonts at the minute!

    This is a great idea for a series of posts, might have to borrow the idea myself :)

    1. Please do! I love seeing what other people are reading so I can get some good recommendations! :)

  2. Ooo those are some pretty book spines :)

    Sarah //

  3. Ohhh these all look so awesome! I'm definitely in need of a good read!
    xo Heather

  4. These all look fun! Thanks for the recommendations!

  5. Oh I love book updates ~ there aren't enough of these in the blog world!! i just finished reading the help, it was brilliant :-) x

  6. Thanks for sharing these! They sound really great! Love that shot at the top too--great idea!

  7. these all look amazing - especially that first vintage type book. and what great books to have laying around the house.

    i have many design books floating around, but i misplaced my large phaidon set of the 1000 design classics somehow. how i misplace (read : lost) a large set of yellow books, i don't know, but i miss them greatly!

  8. That new vintage type book looks really interesting

  9. These all look like excellent reads, I should look into reading more on type I never think of doing that.


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