5 Books Every Designer Should Read

You don't achieve greatness overnight; for greatness requires a lot of hard work and a never-ending journey of learning from your own, and experience of your peers. For those of you who always seek to be better, know more, experiment and accelerate, here are some literal recommendations for you.


Logo Modernism


"Logo Modernism - An unprecedented catalog of modern trademarks" is a book written by Jens Muller. This inspirational and highly educational piece is a result of intense research and strong insight and analysis of the author. Analyzing over six thousand trademarks, Jens Muller questions and examines modernism in graphic design and the influence of modern design on creating corporate identities.


Just My Type


"Just My Type - An entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type*, written by Simon Garfield, takes you on a journey of different typefaces, observing the fonts and their magic. If you thought you know everything there is to know about the significance and science of fonts - look again.


How to do great work without being an asshole


"How to do great work without being as asshole - Funny, useful advice on how to thrive in creative industries", this Paul Woods' work is your guide on how to make it in the creative industries. This book is great support for all the swimmers in this industry, covering main grounds such as pitching, giving feedback and knowing your way around the world you are conquering.


books every designer should read


How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul


"How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul - A staple for any new graphic designer" by Adrian Shaughnessy, tells you everything you need to know about making it as a freelancer, dealing with clients, setting up your design company and working your way up to the top. This book is full of good advice, real experience and strong insight into the industry.


Work for Money, Design for Love


"Work for Money, Design for Love - Answers the most frequently asked questions about running a successful design business", and it does by the hand of David Airey, the same author that gave us "Logo Design Love". This book is his collection of great answers and tips from his FAQ list, and it deals with psychological, creative, and productive aspects of what it takes to run a successful business as a design entrepreneur.


What do you think of our picks? What is your favorite design-related book? Share with us in the comment section below.


Written by: Nina Petrov

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Tips for Strategic Writing for Your Brand

strategic writing

Content marketing is essential for branding. Special marketing content plays an important role to increase the engagement of customers. To get desired results, you have to create engaging web content with a tagline, a catchy message, and call to action. With inspiring stories, you can create the first impression with your customers. Consider the advice of professional writers with the story and essay help to give a different voice to your business. Make sure to engage people with your brand to drive desired behavior.

Every brand needs high-quality, original content to bring your brand to life. Here are some essential components of strategic writing:

  • Tagline (a clear message for your customers)
  • Web content
  • Brand manifestos and brand stories
  • Marketing brochures
  • Important marketing articles

Strategic writing for your brand is necessary to increase the engagement of customers on a deeper level. Feedback and involvement of people are essential to get fresh ideas to make your brand memorable. Original content is authentic and compelling for your customers.

Bring Traffic with Articles

As per Derek Halpern, you have to spend 20% of your time in writing and 80% in its promotion. If you know promotion tactics, you can bring visitors even with mediocre content. Without contagious content, your dream to get tons of traffic can’t become a reality. Communicable means engaging articles. Try to write on interesting topics that force readers to share it with other people. With contagious articles, you can naturally increase your traffic.

Work on a Proven Idea

If you want to increase awareness of your brand through your writing, you have to be shameless to steal ideas of other people. A tool like Buzzsumo may help you to find strong ideas. Type your keywords in the search field and check the most shared blogs and articles based on your anchor texts.

Check community sites to see massively contagious articles and blog posts. If you are blogging in the marketing niche, you can find great ideas from Buzzsumo. It is true that you can steal ideas, but you can’t steal words from other articles. Your readers will ultimately find that you are a copycat. This situation can ruin your credibility.

Keep it in mind that you can improve articles and an original idea so that people can’t recognize it. Here are some ideas to enhance the quality of your article.

  • Write smart articles to impress readers.
  • Articles must contain actual ideas and force people to share it.
  • The article should have practical value so people can get some credit for sharing it.
  • Make sure to create the content that people would like to read.

Before writing on an idea, read maximum articles available on the internet. Keep it in mind that stealing an idea from a person is plagiarism, but stealing from several sources is research.

Use Visual Elements in Articles

People love graphics, so include several images in an article. Make sure to create custom images to illustrate important points. Your article must have these visual assets.

  • Photos of interesting/relevant events, concepts, things, places, and people.
  • Graphs and charts to explain/illustrate the numbers behind a phenomenon or story.
  • Visuals represent concepts, elements or procedures that enable better/faster understanding.
  • Screenshots with explanations/examples/notes of different events
  • Comics, such as storyboards or illustrations that tell narratives visually

Copywriting Techniques

A story can sound completely different depending on the narrator. A few people have extraordinary talent to tell a boring story into an engaging manner. If you are not gifted to write creative stories, you can create viral headlines. A weak headline can kill your article, so create an exciting headline. Clickbait headlines aim to exploit the inquisitiveness gap to provide enough information to make readers curious.

Optimize Articles with Relevant Keywords

Without targeted keywords, you can’t optimize your articles. The Keyword Planner of Google helps you to brainstorm potential keywords. Keyword optimization is essential for link building, content creation, and content strategy.

After choosing focused keywords, you have to mention it in the title tag. Keyword optimization is essential in a link building strategy. Navigational links, breadcrumb links, inbound links, and internal links must have optimized keywords. To get a better ranking, you have to connect with searchers. Target keywords are necessary for your content.

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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.



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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.


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.


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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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