Think like a Designer, Don’t Act like one
Jeroen Van Erp
Erp, V., 2018. Think Like a Designer, Don’t Act Like One. BIS Publishers.
A guidance styled book providing a list of insights on how designers can better themselves as a designer. The insights provided in the book give a full body picture of what a “typical” designer needs to be successful in industry.
This book, although aimed more at all designers, is more at home for graduate and post grad student designers due to its advice of industry practice advice. It presents the insights in a clear succinct manner thats easy to follow, plus the insights given are brilliant at making you try and think differently. Downside is the insights are brief in many of the cases, and the book doesn’t reason why the insight is important in an academic manner.
This book has given me plenty of insights that i want to use to reflect on my own practices for instance “Create your own applause”, its suggests showing off your work as being too modest means you’ll be missed or in the front of mind. Personally i’ll be referring back to the book in a review style to better my career.
100 Ideas that changed Graphic design
Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne
Heller, H., 2012. 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design. Laurence King Publishing.
An extensive guide through some of the many concepts and ideas that have pushed graphic design forward and examples of the works that have used these ideas.
I find this book a brilliant book to go back to all the time. it gives an extensive collection of design pieces and evaluations of the styles and the context that these ideas sit and were generated in. Written for Graphic designers, it feels like it actually can stand for all experiences as a form of a visual encyclopedia, but typically design students about the BA mark would benefit from this book greatly. I find having the context behind the ideas given in the book to be a huge benefit for the strength of this book, not only giving date and times and names of the work and the rules but also explaining why the concept came into being and why its such a powerful tool. This delivery of information helps add academic strength to the text. I think the book does what its meant to do perfectly however I find that some of the ideas that are demonstrated in the book are more important than others for instance id personally place Design thinking over grids, yet both are given just two pages. Id likes to see more analysis of the big concepts and smaller amounts of the smaller ideas.
I’ve been using this book as a visually inspiring encyclopedia when researching or stuck for ideas on a job ill refer to the book in order to gain an inspired new approach to the brief at hand. The book has given me a new line of thinking for elements that I’ve taken for granted, for instance, the very first idea in the book in books themselves, previously id never given much thought into how big of a revolution this was for humanity but this book shed a new light on that thinking for me. The research from this book is although passive very important as it provides a concrete backbone to the visual language that I use every day, and referring to it while generating research is, from now on, going to be the cornerstone of my working practice.
Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming
Lupton, E., 2011. Graphic Design Thinking. Princeton Architectural Press.
An informed explanative guide on Graphic design thinking and how to improve your own graphic design thinking. This book has been written to fully explain the process of design thinking, it explores the topic via main topic areas and then using case studies to back it up.
I think the text in the book is actually very well informed and it portrays this really well, helping me understand the process better. when we consider the fact that it’s trying to explain an intangible method, it can’t often be difficult to do this. The audience is probably more towards students rather than mid to late-stage graphic designers however this is a book that has appeared in several studio bookshelves in previous workplaces for me. The logical breakdown of the process is a major strength of the book, as it allows the designer to use the book to inform their own creative journey making it more invaluable. It also focuses on methodology rather than just pure theory so it does help explain how you can make that same leap they talk about. The problem with this book is the sparse description behind the case studies, although it explains the theory before the case study it may help to refer back to the theory when explaining the case study to help further concrete the theory.
I have benefitted massively from reading this book as its helped me create a much better methodology when it comes to idea generation helping projects get better outcomes, in future I think this book is more likely to help be referred back to when I struggle with ideas, making me able to change my working practice to developing my thinking
Know your onions
Drew de Soto
de, D., Know Your Onions – Graphic Design Format: Paperback. (s.n.).
“Know your onions” gives advice and wisdom on the design industry, how to be creative within it and how you can marry business and creativity together. It is also possibly one of the best guides on industry standard studio practice I have come across, explaining bleed amounts and gutter amounts, why choose a 7mm gutter instead of a 3.4mm gutter for instance.
I think the humorous approach to the writing does give the book an easily engageable feel and is almost like being taught from a studio manager themselves. The huge strength this book does have is the fact that each piece of knowledge is backed with clear diagram and explanation, its downside is that it doesn’t show examples of work that exemplify the advice, although doing this would make the book huge, there are topics like margins and layout that could be shown better with an actual design rather than just an infographic.
Once again a reference book for me, I’ll explore it when I feel out of my depth or if I need advice. More recently I have started to use the advice when dealing with clients helping me secure more work. It has helped me understand how to deal with clients and third party suppliers like printers as a freelancer really well boosting my confidence in this aspect on a new level. It really does cover the knowledge you need in the industry that the degrees don’t give you.
Basics Design 02: Layout
Ambrose and Harris
Ambrose, G., 2005. Layout. AVA Publishing.
An essential manual for student designers, explaining Layout as a theory and concept within graphic design. It explores the different theories such as juxtaposition and even working without a grid, which did seem ironic to a point. Admittedly I do feel cheated that I never came across this book until my masters but certainly, I feel it is a full-bodied guide to layout as a practice.
I think the text is brilliantly presented and is clear to follow, utilising not only diagrams but also commercial and more creative examples behind each theory gives a full picture of how that theory can be utilized, not just by the situation but also showing how the theory can be used in a subtle manner helping commercialism. A weakness for me would be that although I feel the information in the book is still vital in today’s world, i feel that the 12 years of age has started to present the examples given in the book as being dated and I think that if a more up-to-date version of the book could be beneficial so that it starts to consider more up to date trends, this may well add or remove some of the rules mentioned in the book.
Still, the manual like advice inside is still superb and is now another reference book I refer back to when stuck for layout design, it has presented a whole new world of layout design to me, one which does need to be explored more.
Basics Design 06: Print and Finish
Ambrose and Harris
Ambrose, G., 2006. Basics Design : Print and Finish. AVA Publishing.
Another design basics book which helps design students understand the world of Print and Finishing. Showing examples of various printing and finishing techniques this book quickly becomes a carry along the guide for every designer.
The brilliant thing about this book is the fact that it such a clear and complete guide on the standard techniques and it does a superb job how showing guides on various different folds as well such as roll fold and gatefold and explains the complications of printing them. Brilliantly it also shows images and how they’re affected by printing methods like duotone and monotone. Problem is considering it a book trying to display different finishes and paper types, it shows photos of it rather than physical examples, meaning that its not really a true example, losing its gravitas.
I’ve started to use this book in a couple of ways, referring back to it when considering a projects’ final pieces for one, then going so far and taking it along to client meetings to show them exactly what I mean, and using it as a visual guide for them. Its helped me understand the science behind the topic, in particular, the paper types and the production methods behind it.
Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change
Papanek, V., 1974. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. HarperCollins.
AN older published book that talks abut opening a designer to consumer relationship and dialogue in order to build more genuine designs that consumers genuinely need. Published in 1980, Pananek makes the case for what is now referred to as a “User centred design” and defines this through a philosophical debate.
The text is incredibly academic, between that and the older english being used, it can be difficult to read but invariably when read it provides quite a provocative argument. What does make this interesting as a text is actually its age, coupled with the fact that we are still having this debate, or more accurately to say, we haven’t listened to the debates properly. Despite the downside of the reading problem this book provides an amazingly in-depth and analytical approach to the problem at hand and despite its age still has massive relevance in todays design communities.
I intend to actually use what i’ve found through this book for enhance my working ethic and practice during the MA and focus on empathetic designing in the form of User Centred design. This research has given me a much greater understanding on the debate about real design and designing for the real world and will be massively useful considering the shift in focus to user centred design and with it still being a relatively new focus, this book can continue to help me through the process.
Meggs’ History of Graphic Design
Phillip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis
B., P., 2005. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.
A comprehensive text about the history of graphic design up to the current times. It goes in depths in explaining the major key points behind some of the most historic elements of graphic designs history.
I felt that this text had strong academic value to to the huge amount of references and valuable contributors, the knowledge it portrayed gave huge insights into an era of graphic design that i hadn’t previously studied while concreting the knowledge i did have of the areas i have previously studied. This is a book mainly for relatively successful academic students wanting to understand the history of their craft. The amazingly in depth knowledge given by the book is a huge strength for this text, the way its written also portrays not just a knowledgable style but also an inspiring one, after reading the text it was great tp read further into some of the offshoot topics. This book is a huge tome of information and as a visual learner im slow to take all the information in, meaning this book is certainly not a quick reference book or a book id use for inspiration during a job.
I have to admit i possibly wont pick this book up again, so in long term prospects its been a great help but wont use it again. This being said the amount of historical knowledge that i’ve gained from this book has been brilliant and has inspired me to look more into historical design practices.
Draplin Design Co. : Pretty Much Everything
Draplin, D., 2016. Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything. Abrams.
A biographical book about Aaron Draplin’s career, life and influences written by himself. In this book Draplin shares his influences and practices and give unique insights into his work and his raise to stardom.
The text is delightfully informal and give his personal account for his work giving you a much true analysis of his work and influences. Much like his designs, its bold, bashful and fill every corner of every page. As with all biographies this book is written for fans of him as a person but also fans of his work, mainly designs for sure. The strengths of the book lays with its huge amount of work being portrayed, in chronological order aswell, with each piece is a description of the project and Draplins journey through the brief as well. The issue i have with this book is the difficulty to distinguish between commercial work and his work as a graphic artist, this lack of separation may well indicate his actual work ethic however as a more commercial designer, it can feel alien to me that my commercial work and my more creative work could actually just be the same.
Draplin has inspired me greatly through reading this book and certainly ill be using this book for inspiration, although the style is the same, there is an attitude behind it that is genuine, making it useful to me to refer too for idea generation.
Hegarty on creativity: There are no rules
John, H., 2014. Hegarty On Creativity. Thames & Hudson,.
This book is John Hegarty’s philosophy on creativity, how creativity is in everyone and how we can inspire our creativity further. Putting several topic areas together Hegartys forms a full book on how simple things or a change in thinking can inspire your creativity to new levels.
I feel the text itself to be really inspiring and actually very informative, hearing this advice from such a big name in design does add a certain authority behind the words. In particular the bit where Hegarty refers to the McCarty syndrome, long story short don’t surround yourself with yes people instead bring people who challenge your ideas. My challenge with this text is how its presented, with graphics going behind the text and constant indentations, it makes the text difficult to follow potentially leading to large amounts of text being mis understood.
Personally id use this book as a “self help” guide, inspiring creativity and creativity methodologies when i need it, in particular when designs for someone or something outside my comfort zone, this book will be particularly handy. recently i referred to this books at work when answering a brief for which i was speaking directly to the client so it was a great help in what became a successful project.
Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?
Sarah Schrauwen, Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright
Schrauwen, S., Roberts, L. and Wright, R. (2017). Can graphic design save your life?. London: GraphicDesign&.
The aim of the book is to actually answer the question, “can Graphic Design save your life?” It argues that design can be used to change behaviours and mentalities ultimately help people deal with health or damage to their health better from going to hospital, to how to take pill properly even exploring how poster design has helped catch illnesses early in the past.
Written for both medical professionals and design professionals, this book argues the pushing together of both professions using previous examples and projects giving the book good rooted inspirations and almost evidence based content. I love the fact that this book does try and inspire the two professions to work together as it gives design a duty to help rather than a duty to help sell. As mentioned before the pure amount of evidence base is a huge strength in this book and does give an authority to the text, also breaking down the areas of which design could help it makes the book easier to take inspiration from and also means that the one book can inspire niche fields as well as just general broad fields. My weakness in this book is its lack of context with some projects, it doesn’t always explain why a designer went down the road they did in order to hit that outcome.
Im really interested in the field of medical design and do actually work in this field so for me, this work is brilliant and a huge inspiration for me in pursuing more jobs in this area and building more medical based designs rather than just selling products. The research has helped me think differently about how i can operate as a designer in the medical field.