Fall ’17 Book Recommendations

 

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson  The followup to Life After Life tells the dramatic story of the 20th Century through Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have.

Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz  From the creative mind and heart of designer Adam J. Kurtz comes this upbeat rallying cry for creators of all stripes. Expanding on a series of popular essays, this handwritten and heartfelt book shares wisdom and empathy from one working artist to others. Perforated tear-and-share pages make it easy to display the most crucial reminders or to pass a bit of advice on to someone who needs it.

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova  Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving she helps an elderly couple into a taxi – and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name, an urn filled with human ashes. As she sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton  The year is 1876, warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving, and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars. Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition.

Listening to Type: Making Language Visible by Alex W. White  Designers will develop the skills and vision to produce truly innovative, eye-catching type design. All the basics of type design are covered, and in-depth information is provided on more advanced topics such as the differences between type applications, how typography creates identity, and what best inspires readers. Designer Alex W. White packs the pages with fifteen hundred images—modern and ancient, specially created and found—that illustrate typographic concepts and continue to yield more complexity and connectivity.

The Rules Do Not Apple: A Memoir by Ariel Levy  When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware  A journalist who writes for a travel magazine has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the North Sea. At first Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant, but as the week wears on Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for, and so the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone wrong.

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan  The Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew. The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby  Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette, detailing a disastrous pilgrimage/romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms, Samantha is as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.

 

 

Teaching Graphic Design, Second Edition by Stephen Heller  Teaching is a special skill requiring talent, instinct, passion, and organization. This book ontains syllabi that are for all practicing designers and design educators who want to enhance their teaching skills and learn how experienced instructors and professors teach varied tools and impart the knowledge needed to be a designer in the current environment. It includes 30+ new syllabi by professional teachers and teaching professionals who address the most current concerns of the graphic design industry, including product, strategic, entrepreneurial, and data design as well as the classic image, type, and layout disciplines.

Perennials by Mandy Berman  Rachel Rivkin and Fiona Larkin used to treasure their summers together as campers at Camp Marigold. Now, reunited as counselors after their first year of college, their relationship is more complicated. Through them, as well as from the perspectives of their fellow counselors, their campers, and their mothers, we witness the tensions of the turbulent summer build to a tragic event, which forces Rachel and Fiona to confront their pasts – and the adults they’re becoming.

Gràfica de les Rambles: The Signs of Barcelona by Louse Fili  From the labyrinthine paths and serene squares of the Gothic Quarter to the stunning art nouveau architecture of the Eixample, Barcelona is a place of irresistible charm. Throughout this beloved Catalan city by the sea, dazzling signage is everywhere: glowing mosaics and stained glass, intricately carved stonework and brilliantly gilded placards that herald the city’s eclectic mix of commerce, all documented with affection and a dash of obsession by celebrated graphic designer Louise Fili.

Commonwealth by Anne Patchett  Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how a chance encounter reverberates through the lives of four parents and six children. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them. Their childhood becomes the basis for a wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food by Simon Thibault  The author explores his Acadian roots by scouring old family recipes, ladies’ auxiliary cookbooks, and folk wisdom for 50 of the best-loved recipes of Acadians past and present. Recipes run the gamut, from the art of pickling beets to old-fashioned foodways such as rendering lard and cooking with head cheese, to Acadian staples like Classic French Canadian Tourtière and Seafood Chowder, and a delicious roster of desserts from Rhubarb Custard Pie to Acadian Panna Cotta.

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?  This ambitious book examines the varied and vital relationship between graphic design and health, focusing on work that demonstrates how communication strategies and visual languages are employed to persuade, inform, prevent, and ultimately protect.

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A Book That Takes It’s Time

 

A Book That Takes Its Time is one I’ve been waiting to get my hands on since the start of the year when I first learned of its upcoming existence. Finally today, thanks to the team at Workman Publishing, I’m able to share it with you on its release date!

Flow is a magazine celebrating creativity, imperfection, and life’s little pleasures and this is its first companion book. It also embraces the physical qualities of paper – its weight, texture, the way it takes color – and the formats and ways in which it can be delivered. Articles in the magazine mingle with bound-in or fold-out posters, stickers, pre-printed thank you cards from noted illustrators, and other “goodies.” In short, Flow has created a magazine best enjoyed in print form and A Book That Takes Its Time follows closely in its successful footsteps.

 

 

A Book That Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness (the full title) was penned by the co-founders and creative directors of Flow, Irene Smit and Astrid Van der Hulst. At it’s heart this tome is about doing, about experience, and about intention. It’s a book both about mindfulness and a book that literally inspires mindfulness while reminding readers to slow down, breathe deeply, and be present.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m forever struggling to be more in tune with the now – maybe this year more than ever before. This book turned out to be a much needed balm, right from Chapter 1, that I can turn to when the days are especially trying or I just need a moment to regroup and regain focus. Make your way through its pages in order or skip around depending on what you need and when you need it.

 

 

Learn to appreciate and savor moments both large and small by punching out pages of decorative memory cards to fill out and save in a mason jar so you can revisit them when you need an emotional lift. Read about the benefits of clearing your mind and letting your hands lead the way, then use the provided images and words to create a personal collage. Snip, arrange, and paste them onto the fold-out blank canvas and see where your subconscious takes you.

 

 

Read about the advantages of slowing down, then put those lessons into practice with the removable Joy of One Thing at a Time Notebook. Tear out a postcard and snail mail it to a friend. Make a list to clear your mind and refocus.

 

 

There are lessons on how to shift your focus away from what you don’t have and focus on what you do have. On stepping back from your phone to take just one photo with a camera – and then let the gaps in an album tell the story. Even tips for breaking old habits that will get your wheels turning.

 

 

Not every page is an activity or lesson, some are simply filled with inspiring words that you may not have known you needed to read. Do you get it? It’s the kind of book that makes you take your time, one that you can’t just hurry through so like so many other things in life. It’s a book that makes you stop to savor, play with, and appreciate all the lovely and interesting detours that hands-on activities provide.

 

 

 

Readers will have the chance to learn hand-lettering, the basics of collaging, even how to meditate while running. There’s something for everyone, which is what I love most about this book that mixes reading, learning, and doing. It’s part creative therapy, part teacher, part self-help, part workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

This post sponsored by Workman Publishing. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Quick Picks

 

I’m always looking for opportunities to share more of my favorite affordable finds with you, so today we’re debuting a new series called Quick Picks where I’ll do just that. Ten things that I’m crushing on from the last week or so that I don’t own but wouldn’t mind having in my home. No art, no designer anything, only things that are within reach. (If you see something you want to check out further just click on the image!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grid Poems Vol. I

 

Let’s start with… what exactly is a grid poem?

A grid poem is a 3 x 3-inch arrangement of lines written to allow two different readings: left-to-right and top-to-bottom. This allows subtly, or drastically, different perspectives to emerge from the same text. Part haiku, part Sudoku, the full poem is only revealed through re-reading and exploration.

 

 

Art and design collective Point in Passing just released a book of grid poetry with collaborator Brian Isett, called Grid Poems Vol. I. The book is a collection of 45 illustrated poems on hope, loss, and expectation. Not only brilliantly creative and imaginative, but also rather pertinent to the current times we’re living in.

 

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June Favorites

 

1/ Super Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes
I’ve been doing container gardens for the past few years, and this summer I ventured into the world of cherry tomatoes, Sweet 100s specifically. They’re a vining variety that are deliciously meaty and sweet. Last week I was able to start picking a few day as they ripen and my salad game has gone up a notch!

2/ Mom’s Stuff All-Purpose Piñon Salve
I started using Mom’s Stuff a few years ago after meeting Mom’s daughter and trying out a sample. Each jar is handmade from all natural ingredients that deeply moisturize, soothe, and protect your skin and there are no filler ingredients like water, cheap oils, or stabilizers. Lately I’ve been dabbing some on bug bites for comfort.

3/ Illume Candles Vanity Tins
Illume Candles first entered my life back in college, when I bought two delicious smelling candles for more than I could afford. I’m loving the design of their Vanity Tins and the scents are just as good as ever!

4/ Pineapple Sage
It was the pineapple-scented leaves that caused me to pick up one of these to plant this year. In late summer they bloom bright red, tube-shaped blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

5/ La Colombe Draft Latte
This is the treat I’ve been reaching for on hot summer mornings! Lactose-free milk and cold pressed espresso make for a slightly sweet drink without any added sugar.

6/ Kristin Ess Instant Lift Thickening Spray
Forever on the search for the perfect hair product that will give my fine hair more oomph, and this spray has become the top contender. You don’t need to use a ton, it’s not super sticky, and the smell is amazing.

7/ Lou & Grey Linen Racerback Tank (50% off!)
I picked up black and grey ones a few weeks ago and have been more or less living in them. They hit my short(ish) torso in just the right spot and the cut is super flattering.

8/ Carmex Comfort Care Colloidal Oatmeal Lip Balm
As a lip balm-aholic you can take my word that this stuff is the real deal. Its blend of natural colloidal oatmeal and cold-pressed antioxidant rich fruit seed oil provides long-lasting moisture for visibly smoother lips.

9/ Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
A collection of poetry and prose about survival, about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. And how to find the sweetness in all areas of life.

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10 Days of Design Crush Anniversary Giveaways: Day 4 Chronicle Books

 

Ten years ago this month I started Design Crush as a place to gather inspiration for my day job as a graphic designer, and five years ago it became my full-time job. To thank you all, as well as highlight some of my favorite sponsors from over the years, we’ll be hosting ten days of giveaways in celebration of ten years of this little site that could.

 

 

While we’re busy celebrating 10 years of Design Crush this month, independent book publisher Chronicle Books is over in San Francisco celebrating 50 years! Every cover they touch is perfectly designed and every book completely on target, leaving no question that Chronicle had a hand in its creation. They’ve been one of my favorite partners throughout the years simply because they do what we here at Design Crush strive to accomplish as well – foster the growth and passion that creativity sparks.

 

 

They’ve published some of my favorite books on my bookshelves, and to help us celebrate Chronicle Books is gifting one reader with a selection of eight amazing titles. Pop down below for 18 chances to win! But act fast – you’ve only got 48 hours.

Explorers’ Sketchbooks – This remarkable book showcases 70 sketchbooks, kept by intrepid men and women as they journeyed perilous and unknown environments – frozen wastelands, high mountains, barren deserts, and dense rainforests – with their senses wide open. Here are profiles, expedition details, and the artwork of pioneering explorers and mapmakers, botanists and artists, ecologists and anthropologists, eccentrics and visionaries.

Letter of Note: Volume 2 – Each turn of the page brings delight and discovery in a collection of 125 correspondences that spans centuries and place, written by the famous, the not-so-famous, and the downright infamous. Entries are accompanied by a transcript of the letter, a short contextual introduction, and a spirited illustration – in most cases, a facsimile of the letter itself.

Ducksoup: The Wisdom of Simple Cooking – The debut cookbook from Clare Lattin and Tom Hill, chefs of London’s popular restaurant Ducksoup, featuring more than 130 seasonal, simple, clean recipes. Organized into seven chapters, Ducksoup takes the reader through the restaurants “clean” cooking philosophy and shares the inspiration for the restaurant.

Card Catalog: 30 Notecards from the Library of Congress – Enclosed in a keepsake replica card catalog box with tabbed dividers, each card features a different beloved work of literature straight from the storied collection of the Library of Congress.

Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) – Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 brilliant female artists in text that’s smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read. Replete with beautiful reproductions of the artists’ works and contemporary portraits of each artist by renowned illustrator Lisa Congdon, this is art history from 1600 to the present day for the modern art lover, reader, and feminist.

Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs – The process of truly great home cooking is demystified via more than a hundred lessons called out as “small victories” through a lifetime of cooking thousands of meals. This beautifully curated, deeply personal collection emphasizes bold-flavored, honest food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms – Equal parts instruction and inspiration – a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements.

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World – The 100 revolutionary women highlighted in this gorgeously illustrated book were bad in the best sense of the word: they challenged the status quo and changed the rules for all who followed. From pirates to artists, warriors, daredevils, scientists, activists, and spies, the accomplishments of these incredible women vary as much as the eras and places in which they effected change.

 

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Spring ’17 Book Recommendations

A favorite part of my job, that you may only know about if you follow @designcrush on Instagram, is reviewing books. I had zero chance of not being a bibliophile, my Mom and Grandma read to me daily and my aunt was an elementary school librarian. Put that together with my two passions of art and design and, well, it’s basically the definition of a match made in heaven. I’ll now be sharing the art and design books that I usually keep to Instagram here as well, as a sort of quarterly book recommendation list.

 

 

The Golden Secrets of Lettering: Letter Design from First Sketch to Final Artwork by Martina Flor  A a comprehensive, beautifully illustrated guide to hand lettering with easy-to-understand instructions and guidelines, plenty of inspirational examples, and hundreds of hand-sketches and illustrations. Martina Flor shows readers how to transform their initial lettering concepts and handdrawn sketches into a well-shaped piece of digital lettering that can be sold and published. Learn how to train your typographic eye by studying lettering samples and the anatomy of letters, explore concepts of hierarchy, composition, and flourishes, and discover the different ways of creating letter shapes. Flor also explains the process of creating a lettering project step by step and gives valuable tips about how to make a career as a lettering artist.

Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art by Paul Rand  A comprehensive collection of Paul Rand’s most important and best-known designs, this book gives unique insight into Rand’s design process and theory. This new edition of Rand’s classic monograph, long unavailable, meticulously re-creates the graphic quality of the original. It includes more than 200 illustrations and 27 essays, and a new afterword by Steven Heller. Required reading for anybody interested in modern design.

Encyclopedia of Rainbows: Our World Organized by Color by Julie Seabrook Ream  This playful collection of rainbows is a bright and beautiful appreciation of all the color that surrounds us. Artist Julie Seabrook Ream invites us to see the extraordinary beauty of ordinary objects as she gathers colorful iterations of a single type of thing, from feathers to fishing gear, matchbooks to macarons, and neatly arranges them in rainbow order. This index details all the objects in each rainbow, bringing the magnetic appeal of meticulous organization to this burst of color in book form. A striking package with a rainbow-colored spine makes this book a treasure for those who love art, design, and a fresh perspective.

Creative Pep Talk: Inspiration from 50 Artists by Andy J. Miller  Every artist needs a little pep talk now and then. An inspiring tool and beautiful art book in one, Creative Pep Talk offers illustrated words of wisdom from 50 of today’s leading creative professionals. With full-color, typographic prints and explanatory statements from a host of creative luminaries — including Aaron Draplin, Oliver Jeffers, Lisa Congdon, Mike Perry, and many others — this book encourages artists to stay excited, experiment boldly, and conquer fear. Create curiosity, Learn to say no, and If you can’t be good, be different are just a few of the motivational mentions in this visual collection that’s perfect for students, designers, artists, and creatives at any stage in their careers.

Go Forth! by Chronicle Books  A perfect dose of positivity and kick-in-the-pants motivation to get out and get living, making, and doing. Chock-full of uplifting text-based art with an emphasis on being brave, courageous, and authentic, it’s the perfect gift for grads, travelers, or anyone else in need of inspiration as they embark on a new adventure.

Print & Pattern: Nature by Bowie Style  The latest book based on the popular site, Print & Pattern, celebrates surface designs, patterns, motifs of leaves, insects, grasses, butterflies, and trees. Product areas covered include stationery, cards, giftwrap, fabrics, wallpaper, rugs, ceramics, homewares, gadget skins, and more. Documenting the work of the best designers in the field, it’s an invaluable reference and inspiration source for surface designers, designer-makers, craftspeople, graphic designers, illustrators, and textile designers.

How Art Can Make You Happy by Bridget Watson Payne  This little book offers the keys to unlocking a rich and rewarding source of joy. A handbook full of insight that will help regular people begin a more inspiring and less stressful relationship with art with tips on how to visit museums, how to talk about art at cocktail parties, and how to let art wake you up to the world around you. This guide makes it possible for anyone to fall in love with art, whether for the first time or all over again.

How to Make It: 25 Makers Share the Secrets to Building a Creative Business by Erin Austen Abbott  The ultimate tell-all, show-all guide to making a living by making things. Featuring 25 profiles of illustrators, jewelry designers, ceramicists, painters, clothing designers, and printmakers, this book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the daily rituals and best practices that keep these creative entrepreneurs on track. With Q & As, insider tips, and DIYs from each maker, each page offers guidance and encouragement to artists just starting their careers and to professionals looking to take their creative business to the next level. Brimming with practical advice and inspiration, a recommended read for anyone interested in making it as a maker.

Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) by Bridget Quinn  Historically, major women artists have been excluded from the mainstream art. Aligned with the resurgence of feminism in pop culture, this book offers an entertaining corrective to that omission. Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 female artists in text that’s smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read. Full of beautiful reproductions of the artists’ works and contemporary portraits of each artist by renowned illustrator Lisa Congdon, this is art history from 1600 to the present day for the modern art lover, reader, and feminist.

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#365quotes2016 + Mixbook

 

2016 was the second time I completed my 365 quotes project on Instagram, and it would be a shame not to document it after all the time put in. So I teamed up with the creative folks over at Mixbook to help make it a reality in the form of a hardcover photobook that I can have as a longtime reminder.

 

 

After deciding on a square 8.5 x 8.5″ photobook I chose to start with one of Mixbook’s templates – Minimal White – rather than work from an entirely blank slate. The platform is really simple to use and allowed me to change page layouts and fonts once I began, as well as add pages (up to 399). There’s also the option to add things like stickers and backgrounds to further customize your project, so all-in-all you have complete control over your design.

 

 

Each page of my photobook has the same vertical off-center layout because I wanted all 365 quotes to have the same weight and presence with the exception of the cover. This seemed like the obvious choice since they were all the same shape when initially shared on Instagram and I wanted to retain that integrity.

 

 

I was also happy to learn that Mixbook uses only the highest quality heavy-weight papers that are ethically sourced from sustainable forests and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance. Huge bonus!

The end result is just as I hoped it would be, clean and minimal with each quote stealing the show from the page before. (Now what else can I make a book of?)

 

 

This post sponsored by Mixbook. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content!

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