Books that Aided my Transition from Squeaky Clean Newbie to ‘Know-it-all’ Designer
Uni is tough, endless nights annotating sketchbooks, dodging scalpel wounds and running out of masking tape. I’ve collected a list of the books that saw me through every step of uni, I hope they give you a creative launch point to your brainstorming whirlpool.
For the hands-on designer:
Screen Printing Print Club London £25.00
Whether using a gloss medium on a matte book cover, actual sea water on an environmental poster or even creating a dramatic limited edition spread, if your Uni has a screenprinting workshop, you should so get in there! ‘Screen Printing’ by Print Club London will tell you everything you need to know to get you confident in the workshop. The book provides step-by-step guides to creating your own work, handy tips to master techniques and even insider knowledge from leading artists in the game.
Bookbinding Franziska Morlok, Miriam Waszelewsk £45.00
Genuinely, this book will be your bible. Not only does it look beautiful, complete with an embossed and spot UV printed cover, but it is hands-down the most useful book I have come across. This book gives you every inch of detail about every bookbinding, folding and sewing technique. Morlok and Wazelewski answer questions about the industry, process and design. They provide easy to follow instructions on binding techniques, such as flat fold and wire, whilst giving you honest advice on which technique to use. This book is an essential edition to any student’s library.
How to Michael Bierut £30.00
More than anything, I love this book for its reassuring stories of seemingly impossible briefs made possible. For instance, the design of two dozen logos
at once – Bierut was challenged to create a set of logos, which while working together, also needed to establish every branch of the organisation in question. It’s a real page turner and not only provides a stunning monologue from Bierut about his life and career but also provides a definitive guide to pretty much every design and concept challenge a designer will face – from how to survive on an island to how to win a close game.
A Smile in the Mind Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart, Greg Quinton, Mick Asbury £25.00
First published almost 20 years ago, the recent 2018 fluorescent orange, refreshed reprint has been updated with even more contemporary, witty graphic design projects – from wit in the world of politics, to education, law and retail. Think ‘Juice Skin’, an innovative packaging concept of look-a-like banana skin which holds a banana drink, meets ‘may the froth be with you’, t-shirts designed in a Starbucks style. Ideas you’ll wish you came up with which will surprise, engage and amaze you. It’s really fun and a genuine must-read.
For the real-world designer
The Art of Statistics David Spielgelhalter £17.00
Ever actually wanted to know what data visualisation is? Me too. So many books nowadays give you dry information that’s hard to understand and even harder to find a use for – not ‘The Art of Statistics’. Reading data is one thing, but as a designer, reproducing it in a digestible format is another. David Spiegelhalter teaches you the techniques you need, to use data and make it beautiful.
Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell £8.00
The classic. So perhaps this isn’t a design related choice, but it shaped my visual culture journey none-the-less. The book has inspired so many, from Apple’s 1984 Superbowl advert that promoted behavioural change and disruptive thinking, to the hit show ‘Big Brother’. New designers, now more than ever, should be conscious of their impact on the world, I think that’s what I’m trying to say with this recommendation.
For the typographer
Paula Scher, Works Tony Brook, Adrian Shaughnessy £55.00
Produced by the design studio Spin, this book is a stunning homage to the Pentagram partner, and all-around design god, Paula Scher. Scher was the first female to be made partner at Pentagram, almost 30 years ago, and her book covers a collection of her work from album covers to theatre identities. Scher’s use of experimental and purposeful typography is continuously inspiring to me.
Typography: Formation + Transformation Willi Kunz £40.00
Gosh this book was helpful to me! If I hadn’t been shown this book during my final year, my major project wouldn’t have been as well developed, I wish I’d seen it sooner. I used this book when developing my own typeface for a visual language based around complex twin relationships. The book provides a fantastic opportunity for designers to hone their typography skills by really understanding how to construct letters with added meaning. Through the pages you’ll be shown how to understand the design solutions that typography can offer. ‘Good typography supports reading, but it should also be a source of visual pleasure and inspiration.’ A classic and a must read in the world of typography.