Posts tagged book review
Book Review: All Messed Up by Anna Gerber

All Messed Up by Anna Gerber is a pretty old book now - but I wanted to share it on the blog as it's one that really influenced me a lot when I was doing my foundation course and my degree. I have always been drawn to design that has started its life with something created by hand - hence my love of handlettering - at art college I would spend so much time making things before actually going near the computer. Don't get me wrong I love clean and beautiful typography too - but getting my hands dirty and experimenting with different techniques will always be my first love - and that is why this book was so important and inspiring for me. 

One thing in particular that I love about this book is that it shows work where techniques are used that mean 'mistakes' are inevitable. But often these mistakes are what make the work so interesting and beautiful. Old typewriters, letraset, dymo machines, letterpress, screenprinting - these methods of creating type and illustrations are such exciting mediums to work in - partly because you don't know exactly what will come out - the quirks of the machines and the tools have an impact on the final piece.  

I truly believe that making mistakes is integral and so important for the creative process. It can be something that we are so afraid of, but this book explores and celebrates the beauty of mistakes. We need to learn how to use these mistakes to our advantage as designers and makers. 

I think it was such an important lesson to learn when I was a student, but I am very aware that it is a lesson I need to relearn now after 10 years as a designer. There really is so much beauty in being brave enough to experiment and embrace making mistakes - because sometimes those mistakes result in your best work - or the project taking an unexpected turn. Sadly the way I work and the way the industry often works these days doesn't allow as much time for experimenting as I would like, and I definitely think that as designers (myself included) we are often to quick to go straight to the computer.  Don't get me wrong - computers are wonderful things, and have made the life of a designer so much easier and faster, but along the way I think we have lost something.

I would definitely recommend this book if you are a bit tired of looking at your screen and need a bit of inspiration for different techniques and tools to use that might inspire your work to go in a different direction. I think it would be inspiring for designers and artists alike. Its a nice chunky book with lots of pages to drool over and as soon as you start turning them you will want to get busy and get ink all over your hands as quickly as possible! 

Do you allow time to experiment and make mistakes? Do you use any tools that make mistakes inevitable? 

Book Review: Hand Job

Ha so don't let the title of this book deceive you! If you are a lover of hand lettering and illustrated type then this is the book for you! I have always been a big fan of Mike Perry's work so when I found out he had put together a book about hand lettering I had to check it out and I was not disappointed. 

Hand Job is set up alphabetically and is a catalogue of loads of amazing creatives with examples of their work. I love discovering new people's work and it has information about them and their websites so you can go and explore even more beyond the book. Saying that the book is jammed packed and it has plenty to get you inspired and get your creative juices flowing. 

One thing I love about it is although it is all hand drawn type there is just such a variety of styles and techniques. The lettering is often shown in real life situations on products, printed items, t-shirts etc. The work is also interspersed with photographs of the artists' work spaces in some places. I LOVE that...it is always nice to get a peek into the creative spaces that people work in. 

This book is full of colour and creativity on every page and just really makes me want to get all of my pens out and start doodling and writing things. I think I say this in every post on here...but I really need to work harder at creating work just to experiment and for the joy of it rather than for anything in particular...and who knows where it might lead. 

This book is thick and chunky and jammed packed. If you like doodles, lettering, typography, colour and illustration then this book is the book for you! 

Hope you are all having weeks full of creativity! 

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Book Review: the 1000 Journals Project
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The book review for this month is a pretty cool one. The 1000 Journals Project. The idea behind the project was inspired by graffiti and the conversations that people have with each other through it in public. For this project 1000, blank journals were sent out into the world...either mailed to people or left in places for people to find. Each journal had instructions inviting people to contribute to the journal and then pass it along to someone else. There were no rules. This book is basically a collection of the 'best bits' of the thousand journals. 

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Every page is so different and so interesting. I just love thinking about how many people found and worked on these journals. Imagine the joy of finding one, the journey's that each journal have been on and the stories they tell. One of the beautiful things about journals such as these 1000 that were sent out, is the tactile nature of them. I guess part of that is lost when the pages are reproduced in a book such as this but there are some lovely tactile elements to this book, like the stitching on the cover and also in the leaves (above left) and on other pages. 

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" Based on flux and faith, the 1000 Journals Project is an experiment where journals themselves are a museum and every participant is an artist."
- Someguy, Project Creator.

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This is a small but thick, quality feeling book that is full of beautiful drawings, doodles, patterns, words and collages. It is the sort of book that you can dip in and out of and there are always new details to notice and enjoy! It makes me want to keep a 'visual' journal of my own too. I used to do that a lot in art college but I guess haven't made the time to do so recently. 

Anyway I totally recommend this book, it is a beauty and it pretty much proves that everyone is creative. 

Happy Friday, hope you all have a great weekend! Anyone got any fun plans? 

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Book Review - Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design - Michael Bierut

When I was at university everyone was excited about Pentagram - it was THE design studio to get a placement at or work at. I wanted to get to know more about their work and the partners and I found this book by Michael Bierut and basically one summer holiday I devoured it. I read every essay. This book is very different to the last two that I reviewed but it is the similar in the sense that it is made up of a collection of small essays which don't take too long to read and which makes it really easy to dip in an out of. So over the last few years that is what I have done. 

Some people have criticised it saying it just seems like a collection of his blog posts - and basically it is - if you want to try before you buy you can check out some of the essays on www.designobserver.com. Now don't get my wrong I love blogs and reading blogs but the experience of reading on a screen and reading an actual book are still pretty different...especially when it is a beautifully laid out book. 

I really like the way that Bierut writes and I also like the topics that he tackles. They are well thought through and really highlight that as designers we need to be interested in the world around us and learn about all sorts of things to make us good at our jobs. Although most of the essays focus on design and from the perspective of a designer, Bierut's interest in the world around him beyond design really comes through. His first essay for example is called 'Warning: May Contain Non-Design Content'. I like that and I think I find it challenging as a designer. I think sometimes I can get a little bit stuck in a 'design bubble' and forget to be interested in and explore the rest of the world, because it is all linked and pretty much everything has a design element.

Each essay is laid out in a different typeface which I think adds a fun twist to the book. You can see my copy above is a bit battered and has little tags on the essays that I particularly like. There are essays on famous designers such as Paul Rand, David Carson and Massimo Vignelli but he also tackles so many other topics such as politics and whether graphic designers lean left and how to be a famous graphic designer. Obviously it is very centred around the American world of graphic design but I don't really mind that as that is the context that Bierut is working in and it gives a glimpse into his life and career and he is a designer to be admired with a long and impressive career. 

I would really recommend this book to professional graphic designers but I think if you are someone who is interested in design Beirut has a way of interpreting the world that shows the breadth and importance of design in a way that would interest anybody. 

Happy Wednesday!

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