Chock full of design inspiration (part 3)

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about the books on my studio bookcase, why I bought them and how they inspire me. (Catch up on parts one and two.) Here’s part three.

My studio bookcase
My studio bookcase is chock-full of design inspiration.
The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Typefaces

Stephen Coles

The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Typefaces

A foreword by Erik Spiekermann begins what turns out to be a wonderful visual guide for learning typographic terminologies by studying 100 typefaces. It will help you learn the differences, for example, between Humanist, Rational, and Transitional serifs; Grotesque, and Neo-grotesque sans. My copy’s signed by Stephen Coles and was a gift from the nice people at Adobe Typekit. If you’re at all interested in type design, this book should be top of your to-buy list.

Buy on Amazon

New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age

Steven Heller and Gail Anderson

New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age

A few years ago, I went through a phase of buying books on type and typography. Some were practical, others were for inspiration. New Vintage Type is definitely one for inspiration and there’s plenty of it from across the history of typography. Although I don’t refer to this book often, I do enjoy browsing it once in a while and it definitely deserves its place on my bookcase.

Buy on Amazon

Create Impact with Type, Image, and Color

Carolyn Knight and Jessica Glaser

Create Impact with Type, Image, and Color

Bookshops are full of design books like this and honestly, there’s very little to distinguish this one from hundreds of others. If you’re new to design, you may get something from it, but I imagine it’ll lose its place to something more worthy before too long.

Buy on Amazon

CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems

Lea Verou

CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems

OK, now we get to it. A few years ago, my bookcase was packed with books on web development in general, CSS in particular. Now, there’s only one book on CSS on there and it’s the only one which deserves its place. I’ll go further, this is the best book to buy on CSS at the moment. It’s not for beginners but if you already know how to use CSS you’ll find an incredible amount to learn because it’s packed with practical advice and examples. I’ll go further, this isn’t just the best book on CSS today, it’s the best book ever written about CSS.

Buy on Amazon

The Non-Designer’s Type Book

Robin Williams

The Non-Designer’s Type Book

Another typography primer, this one covering how to use type rather than design with it. The sections on legibility are especially good. All-in-all, a useful little type book.

Buy on Amazon

Pens are My Friends

Jon Burgerman

Pens are My Friends

Pens Are My Friends is Jon Burgerman’s retrospective of his work until 2017, including his illustrations, murals, sketchbooks, and toys. It even includes doodles on a sick bag. It’s a superb book about an artist who really knows how to have fun with his craft, but that’s not the only reason I held onto it for so long. Incredibly, in 2017, Jon agreed to create his own mod-on-a-scooter illustration for my website and then included it in this book.

Buy on Amazon

The scooter illustration Jon Burgerman made for me back in 2007.
Sagmeister: Made You Look

Stefan Sagmeister

Sagmeister: Made You Look

Sagmeister is a designer’s designer and if you like his work (which I do more-often-than-not) you’ll love the insights into it and the man himself in this beautiful monogram which covers twenty years. If you don’t, you’ll still find his process and thinking inspiring and if you’re shopping for design books, this one should be at the top of your list.

Buy on Amazon

Web Typography

Richard Rutter

Web Typography

If Lea Verou’s CSS Secrets is the only CSS book you should buy, Richard Rutter’s Web Typography is the definitive book on typography for the web. Years in planning, preparation, and writing, and edited by my go-to editor Owen Gregory, Web Typography covers Setting Type to be Read, typographic details—including hierarchy and scale, ligatures, and rhythm,—and Choosing and Using Fonts. It’s the book on web typography. It’s stunning, an instant classic. Just buy it, today.

Buy from Richard

Susan Kare Icons

Susan Kare

Susan Kare Icons

Susan Kare is an artist and designer who worked with Steve Jobs on designing the original Macintosh operating system icons. This little book was a birthday present from my friend David and I love it all the more for that.

Buy

Twenty-Two Tips on Typography

Enric Jardí

Twenty-Two Tips on Typography

Another, this time tiny, primer of typography which covers how to choose and combine typefaces, and how to set them. The 22 tips include; avoid using bold serifs, don’t make lines too long or too short, and avoid script fonts.

Buy on Amazon

8 Faces Collected

Elliot Jay Stocks

8 Faces Collected

Elliot Jay Stocks has been publishing magazines alongside his creative work for years and 8 Faces is perhaps his most interesting work. Originally a series of eight magazines, with interviews with eight designers per issue, the premise of 8 Faces answers the question, “if you could only use eight typefaces for the rest of your career, which would they be?” Elliot collected all eight original issues into one beautifully bound book last year, but if you want a copy, you’ll probably be out of luck as his Kickstarter print run has already sold out.

8 Faces website

8 Faces 1–8

8 Faces 1–8

Of course, I also bought the collected edition, even though I religiously collected all the original eight 8 Faces as they were published.


That’s the end of the third section of my bookcase, again chock-full of design inspiration. This bookcase is still bulging, so next week, I’ll write about what’s in the final section and why these books and magazines inspire me.

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