As much as I embrace technology, I still love the tactile nature of books and continue to expand my home library. A few readers have asked why they should invest in books when the internet has an endless stream of inspiration. I use the internet for the majority of my visual research for projects but it’s healthy to break up your routine. Flipping through books and magazines with a pen and paper close by for thumbnail sketches often shifts my mindset and helps me come up with fresh, unique ideas.
I find the design titles by Rockport Books to be especially helpful. I own a few of their books but my personal favorite is Letterhead and Logo Design 11. Unlike the internet where search results can be questionable, when I’m working on a design projects I reach for this book more than any other I own because the featured work is all top-notch.
Featuring more than 400 letterhead and logo designs, I feel like I discover something new each time I flip through it (trust me, it was hard to limit my scans to a handful of pages). The book was compiled by Design Army and they spent over two weeks evaluating over 5,000 entries from all over the globe. Of the results, Design Army says, “Along the way, we confirmed what we already knew: It’s the little thoughts that have the biggest impact. They inspire us to push farther. They work harder. They last longer.”
There’s not so much work jammed into Letterhead and Logo Design 11 that you get overwhelmed; it’s just filtered down the the best of the best. And as designers, isn’t that what we want?
I first locked eyes on the Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 book earlier this year because it featured my favorite Avedon photo of all time, Jean Shrimpton from the cover of the April 1965 issue of Bazaar. But beyond that, I couldn’t put this book down. Avedon is considered one of the top fashion photographers of all time but I was curious to know more about the stories behind his most iconic images and how he got his start. I learned that Avedon was a merchant marine in World War II, where he was assigned with taking identity photographs of fellow sailors. This book does a meticulous job of showcasing some of his more rare, early work from the 1940s mixed in alongside his most famous photos and ad campaigns.
Avedon was at Harper’s Bazaar (1944 – 1965), then Vogue (1966 – 1990) and finally, at The New Yorker (1992 – 2004) and this book covers all those stints as well as work he produced for other clients including some of his most memorable Versace campaigns, which he shot for two decades. At over 350 pages long, I had a hard time choosing just a handful of images to share. If you get the chance, check this book out, winking holographic eye cover and all.
Today, I’m going to share my new favorite book with you, Pantone: The Twentieth Century in Color. What makes this book so amazing is that it covers the evolution of color in our society over the last 100 years, from 1900 onwards. Each decade receives its own chapter along with corresponding images of art, fashion and decor representative of particular palettes that were popular during that period.
Excerpts from Pantone: The 20th Century in Color.
From the swatches of 1930s The Wizard of Oz (Silver, Straw and Lion) to 1980s Miami Vice (Pink Mist, Lavendula and Radiant Orchid) to 1990s Grunge (Coffee Bean, Faded Denim and Earth Red), the cultural movements of America and the colors they helped influence are all painstakingly covered. Students of graphic and fashion design as well as lovers of color theory will adore this book.