The Best Books of 2012 & Their Colors

The Best Books of 2012 & Their Colors


Allegedly we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but let's be honest, when you're browsing a bookstore (online or off) it's the good designs that catch your eye and draw you in for further investigation. And when it comes to catching people's attention, what better way than with a little bit of color.

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While there may not be one definitive "best of" list of books, there's still a lot of smart people out there that put out their own lists, so we decided to take a few of these and compile them into one colorful literary collection. Let's take a look at some of the best books from 2012 and the colors of their cover designs.

  

Alif_the_Unseen Aflame

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Beautiful Watercolor Illustrations of 'The Jungle Book'

Beautiful Watercolor Illustrations of 'The Jungle Book'


Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book' and his adventures character Mowgli have left an endearing impression on many people, including myself, but chances are this is due to the 1967 Disney animated version that we grew up with. In reality (and not unexpectedly), the Disney version and the original text are quite different. There's a great post that breaks down the differences between the two and it's definitely worth reading if you have an interest in learning more about both versions.

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From comic books to illustrations to animated films, Kipling's classic has been interpreted and reinterpreted by a variety of talented artists over the years. One version that caught our eye recently comes from a Russian publisher and is illustrated in watercolor by May Miturich-Khlebnikov. The illustrations are beautiful and have that warm, handcrafted feel that just makes you smile.

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The Flowers Personified by J.J. Grandville

The Flowers Personified by J.J. Grandville


J.J. Grandville was a French caricaturist known for his satirical illustrations. He often featured parahuman and anthropomorphic characters to emphasize his political commentary and satire.

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Published posthumously in 1847, Les Fleurs Animées (The Flowers Personified) is both a satirical and poetic collection of botanical illustrations. Considered by many to be a masterpiece, the original book featured 54 etched and hand-colored illustrations depicting the enchanting world of floral maidens. While the Victorian societal references may not mean that much to us now, the amazing color and character detail have definitely retained their magic after all these years.

These particular illustrations are from an 1867 edition of the book and are available in the public domain.

 

Belle_De_Nuit

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Redesign The Web by Smashing Magazine

Redesign The Web by Smashing Magazine


We are very excited to review the brand new Smashing Magazine book, REDESIGN THE WEB.  I'll start by saying that I would not only recommend this book to every designer, but it is a must for any person who is in the position to make decisions about their website. Why do I think this? Understanding the how and why behind design allows you to learn the types of questions you should be asking about your website and will help the entire design process immensely.

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Let's start by taking a look at the table of contents:

Chapter 1, The Business Side of Redesign, was my favorite chapter in the book. Focusing on the business of design is by far the most important part. This concept can sometimes be overlooked when you get caught up in "making it pretty". "The most powerful defense against fashion is simple: we must ask why." Great tip to try next time your clients wants a "make my website look like that" design.

Another great point brought up in this chapter is the designer-client relationship. I agree that many of these relationships are broken. Without the client understanding the how and why behind your work they tend to focus on the looks, not the purpose. Here are some pointers to create a better relationship.

Chapter 2 dives into the technical needs of a company and offers some basic advice for clients when it comes to exercising their options and choosing the right platforms for their needs. This includes everything from choosing the right content management system to your commerce platform.

The following chapters cover the basics of HTML5, the great advantages of using CSS3, and some of the new features and benefits both of these languages have to offer. It also touches upon Javascript and some tricks to replace complex JQuery. If you are familiar with both HTML + CSS, you will understand the tips and pointers these chapters have to offer. Here is just an example of what you will find:

Source: Page 107

Chapter 7 goes over a variety of Photoshop tools at your disposal. Most of these techniques are pretty basic if you are a Photoshop know-it-all, however there might be a few that you didn't know about. If you are new to photoshop, this chapter is a perfect way to learn some new techniques. Here is an example of  from the book:

The later chapters go into the theory behind design as well as the overall brand. Topics covers are designing with personality and techniques to build better user experiences. Both are very important and something you as a designer can never be reminded of too many times.

The chapter, Designing With Personality, was another stand out chapter of this book. Personality really is what sets brands apart. Below are some examples listed of the benefits of creating a personality.

The concept below is extremely valuable. Copywriting isn't always taken into account in design, but in terms of building a brand with personality, it is a very key element that must be given some thought.

A great example quoted from Chapter 10: "GE made its giant corporation feel more humanly by sharing the individual personality of its workforce. It showed us the passion and pride it has for its craft. and we felt it.

There is a landing page strategy that can absolutely benefit you, further than getting early access sign-ups, that is brought up in this book. This is known as the "hidden survey". You can gauge interest and demand of a product that hasn't even been built yet just by monitoring the number of early-access sign ups. Another great way is offering a short "Help Us Build Something You Want" survey asking them a few short questions geared toward getting valuable information that you can use. Getting to know the people that use your product is the best way to build a product.

If you are just starting in the field of design, this book is definitely for you. It will quickly get you up to speed and give you some great pointers that will most improve your current workflow.

If you are well into the field of design this book might not offer entirely new concepts. Still, there is always an opportunity to learn and overall, it is definitely worth reading to see what new ideas you can take away from it.

Get your copy of the new Smashing Magazine book, Redesign The Web.

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Colorful Answers by Leatrice Eiseman to Questions from Our COLOURlovers Scholarship Winners

Colorful Answers by Leatrice Eiseman to Questions from Our COLOURlovers Scholarship Winners


For those of you following Leatrice Eisemen's training schedule, her 4-Day Color Training Program is off to a start this very morning in Burbank, CA. LindaHolt and ModernMuse (aka Michelle Stroescu), the two COLOURlovers who won full and half scholarship for the class back in November are excitedly enjoying their first day of learning and meeting Leatrice.

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To tide you all over until we get to do a followup with both Linda and Michelle about the class experience, Leatrice kindly took the time to answer the intriguing questions each winner had asked at the time of receiving the announcement that they had won.

Q & A From LindaHolt

Linda: I would love to know what the process is and what goes into choosing the Color of The Year

Leatrice: I literally travel the world looking for clues.  If I see a color that I think is ascending in importance, I make special note of it and then look for evidence in it gaining momentum.  Fashion is always a good indicator, but it is not the only design area that must be examined.  There are so much creative design areas that must be considered including graphics, the world of art, product design, home furnishings and so on .  Another very important part of the choice is tapping into the “zeitgeist ‘ of the world around us and the emotional message that the color imparts.  For example, with the that big gray elephant  (the economy) still looming large and the concern that is being felt internationally, we would not want to choose a color that could be a “downer’.  Instead we listen to people’s aspirations and try to give them a color that, at least symbolically, satisfies and encourages their needs and hopes.

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Colette Patterns Gives Us Five Favorite Prints

Colette Patterns Gives Us Five Favorite Prints


Hi everyone, I'm Sarai, sewing writer and pattern designer for Colette Patterns. In honor of the release of my brand new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook, I thought I'd share a few of my all-time favorite textile prints for making clothes.

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In the chapter on fabric in my book, I go over a range of different types of prints and patterns, from florals to stripes. For me, there are a few types of prints that I always fall in love with at the fabric store.

Ikat

1. Schumacher Sunara Ikat | 2. Amy Butler Lark Glamour Kasbah Persimmon Red | 3. Annette Tatum Bohemian Ikat Diamond Pink

Ikat is a style of fabric weaving used throughout the world. Traditional ikat fabrics can be found in diverse cultures, from Japan to Guatemala. The graphic patterns are often produced in rich colors, and the resulting designs work so beautifully for everything from clothing to decor.

Peppermint_lollipopkitchensikatBeyond_the_SeaAspettando...mechanistic_realityRoyal_Flambe

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Four Days of Color with Leatrice Eiseman ~ Win a Full Color Training Scholarship + More!

Four Days of Color with Leatrice Eiseman ~ Win a Full Color Training Scholarship + More!


Understanding color can be a daunting task with many dead ends. Have you ever taken a color theory class only to be left feeling like it didn’t teach you anything to do with applying color in the real world?

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Maybe you have an awesome natural instinct for putting together cohesive palettes or colorizing fabulous patterns perfectly, but why are you so good at it? Validating the why, where and when of color will change your entire outlook on color and what it can do to your personal or professional life.

Color opportunities exist in many industries. Companies need color design expertise to guide them through the many choices they have to make as a successful business. Choices they must make involving color range from advertising, product design, branding and many more. You need credible, verifiable information to back up your decisions as a consultant or designer and you need more than a simple love for color to get you there.

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Eric Carle - Daring You to Imagine a World with Purple Penguins and Lime Green Rhinos

Eric Carle - Daring You to Imagine a World with Purple Penguins and Lime Green Rhinos


Imagine a world where anything is possible—where dogs sport a luscious coat of pink fur, green cats preen themselves with zebra striped tongues, ruby red snakes have glowing purple polka dots, and rainbow spotted elephants spray orange slices from a mile long trunk. This is the world that Eric Carle dares his readers to imagine.

This article is presented by the leader in business card printing with fast turnaround times, Next Day Flyers.

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Eric Carle was born June 25, 1929 in Syracuse, New York. When he was six years old, he and his parents moved to Germany where he grew up and eventually graduated from Akademie der bildenden Künste, a prestigious art school in Stuttgart. He never forgot his American roots and returned to the place of his happiest childhood memories in 1952.

Eric Carle | Books

 

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Project from Sharing Stitches: Amazing Artist's Apron + Giveaway

Project from Sharing Stitches: Amazing Artist's Apron + Giveaway


In two previous posts—one for the Market Bag and the other for the iPad Sleeve—I shared with you some techniques I love to use for painting layers on canvas and then using the canvas to sew projects with. Well this time, I wanted to kick it up one notch by adding some hand stitching to my painted fabric. I chose the Amazing Artist’s Apron from the book, Sharing Stitches by Chrissie Grace. Liz Lamoreux—one of 15 contributing artists in Chrissie’s book—designed this project.

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I was already of fan of Liz’s aprons, so I was excited that she shared how to make one in this book! The yummy palette I was inspired to draw from for my apron—How To—comes from lover Phoenixfire. So, with my palette in mind, I headed to Michael’s for paint and embroidery floss and found it easy to find all of the colors in both instances. Having the ColorSchemer app on my phone made this super handy, as I could just pull up the palette and have it in my hand as I visually scanned the products.

How_To

I started by painting plain pieces of light-weight cotton (I only used a small amount of duck canvas this time) with the five basic colors, then had fun layering them with spatters, drips and, of course, lots of stencils. After my fabrics were dry, I cut all the pieces I would need, according to the directions in the book. The focal point of this apron is the pocket, which is a mini quilt of sorts, made up of strips and squares of the various painted fabrics. The pocket is lined and divided into four sections—making it like four different pockets—but before I sewed the patchwork pocket to its lining, I went to town having fun with hand-stitched doodles (or embroidery if you prefer).

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The Sketchbook Project: Transforming a Library into a Successful Business

The Sketchbook Project: Transforming a Library into a Successful Business


For the past decade, the libraries we knew as children with the Dewy Decimal System and the Card Catalogue have been approaching the brink of extinction. We live in an era where the Kindle and the iPad challenge the need for physical books, and libraries and bookstores face the daunting task of attracting the readers’ attention just to stay in business.

From the sketchbook of, Kelcey Beardsley Portland, OR, United States | "Things found on restaurant napkins"

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Granted, those who are surviving have found some sort of niche to keep the interest going. For example, the bookstore Barnes & Noble has always had a sort of coffee-house atmosphere where people actually go to enjoy an experience. Amazon.com, already online and a threat to physical bookstores, quickly became a source for digital media along with its physical media. So, how about the local library? What has changed to keep it in the running?

From the sketchbook of, Kelcey Beardsley Portland, OR, United States | "Things found on restaurant napkins"

The Brooklyn Art Library is not exactly a traditional library, but more of a co-op gallery. It does provide a library-type experience, but with so much more. The library acts as a physical extension of Art House Co-op, a library featuring artistic talent from around the globe encompassed in sketchbooks.

Folding Sketchbooks - source

Art House opened its doors in December of 2006 initially as a pay-to-play gallery, but it didn’t do so hot. Scrounging for ideas to keep the business going, the co-op started the first ever, “A Million Little Pictures,” meaning a million photographs and one cross-country exhibition.

“A Million Little Pictures is a community-supported exhibition of snapshots captured around the world. By joining together thousands of specific moments to create a single immersive environment, A Million Little Pictures imagines a communal story from the images of our lives.” - arthousecoop.com (A Million Little Pictures)

The exhibition did okay, but it didn’t help fully support Art House’s gallery. The one thing it did do was give birth to idea of “The Sketchbook Project”—a traveling library of artists’ journals that is open to anyone around the world. The Art House gallery has had three locations and finally resides in Brooklyn, NY, as the Brooklyn Art Gallery—the home of many sketchbooks from around the World.

Art House Co-op & The Library

The library acts as the physical extension of Art House and is home to the Sketchbook Project. The walls are lined with shelves of sketchbooks from The Sketchbook Project. Visitors can check out a pile of books or simply peruse sketchbooks from around the globe. How amazing it must be to sift through so many varied mediums and talent.

The Brooklyn Art Library

Sketchbooks are individually catalogued and bar-coded so that they can easily be found (by artist name, location and theme). Authors can also choose to have their books digitalized, which means they are scanned and become available online at the Art House Co-Op online in their Digital Library.

The physical library is also a storefront for, you guessed it, sketchbooks, notebooks, art supplies, stationary and vintage trinkets.

From the sketchbook of, Jackie Mangione Williston, VT, United States | Storybook

The library’s purpose is to connect artists from all over the world and encourage the Art House community to interact with one another face-to-face, while showcasing members’ artwork to the local Brooklyn audience. The library hosts readings, discussions, workshops and performances. (source)

A West Coast US location may be opening up in the San Francisco area. Participants in the 2012 exhibition would be included in the launch of the West Coast hub.

The Sketchbook Project

When you sign up for participation in The Sketchbook Project you will get to pick from 40 themes. Themes are there to give you a little boost in the creative direction of your sketchbook and are not restricted to any specific rules. Basic participation costs $25 (USD). This gets you a sketchbook and helps in the expense of the entire project overall. Other optional expenses include requesting that your book be scanned for online viewing ($20 USD) and/or a Sketchbook Project t-shirt ($20).

From the sketchbook of, Gení§ay Aytekin Istanbul, Fatih, Turkey | 

From the sketchbook of, Jackie Mangione Williston, VT, United States | Storybook

I signed up for the Category, Monochromatic and plan to either stick with a single color in many different mediums to create my sketchbook artwork as a whole or use a different hue in single color creations for each page. I am considering a way to incorporate COLOURlovers color swatches.

From the sketchbook of, Jane Kim Los Angeles, CA, United States | Coffee & Cigarettes

Unique Folded Sketchbook - source

Take note that these sketchbooks are not restricted to the format of a regular book either. Creative foldouts, popouts and any type of mixed media is acceptable with a warning to adhere things strongly since these will be handled and viewed from people all over the world. Your book will be well traveled.

source

What a great outlet to work on your creative style and promote your name as a creative individual be it Graphic Design, Illustrative Design, Mixed Media Artist and any type of singular art such as drawing, sketching, painting, inking, stamping and so on. I am looking forward to participating and experimenting in varied mediums.

source

Apparently themes fill up fast with over 10,000 people in participation. You must sign up no later than October 31, 2011 in order to participate for the 2012 exhibition. Deadline to turn in your finished sketchbook is January 31, 2012 (postmarked by) and the Tour starts in April 2012.

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