Friday, November 21, 2008

A love letter to design books that inspire

We have a whole bookcase full of art and design books (which are technically the property of my graphic designer/illustrator husband Daniel - see his daily drawings blog here) so it was difficult for me to choose just five to highlight today, but these are the ones we are always pulling off the shelves and showing to guests and the ones we go back to time and time again.

The Creation: Pictures from the Book of Genesis by Christian Montenegro

Up-and-coming Argentinean illustrator Montenegro has painted some wonderfully strange compositions to accompany the text of Genesis including the creation story, the fall of man, the flood, the tower of Babel, Lot, and the patriarchs. The style brings a distinctly modern twist to the ancient stories, and it’s something I can get lost in for hours.

A Smile in the Mind by Beryl McAlhone & David Stuart

This book is all about witty thinking in graphic design and I often open its pages to get inspiration or just for fun. There are too many favorites for me to list here, but I’ll point out just one: have you ever taken a really close look at the FedEx logo to see the designer’s hidden bonus? Genius!

Lovemarks by Kevin Roberts

This sensational book about brands that connect so powerfully with consumers that they become lovemarks is written by the CEO of advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi. He talks about brands that inspire loyalty beyond reason – everything from IKEA, to Apple, to Where the Wild Things Are - and the reasons that they do. Very enlightening and enjoyable reading.

The Art of the Incredibles by Mark Cotta Vaz

I love the “Art of” Pixar movies series from Chronicle Books where you get to see conceptual art and the illustration development process of making a film. In the Incredibles installment you learn tidbits like Edna Mode (the superhero costume designer) was originally supposed to be this imposing, sexy woman, and how it was she came to be only 3 ft tall.

Jim Henson’s Designs & Doodles: A Muppet Sketchbook by Alison Inches
This is exactly what the title says it is and it is fascinating to see early incarnations of childhood classics like Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Kermit the Frog. It’s also a biography of the artist himself – his influences, his successes and his creative genius.
What are some art and design books you enjoy reading and/or just looking at?


Alea said...

Oooh, I feel like this post is just for me. Love it! A Smile in Mind and Lovemarks sound really good! I also like all the Pixar books!

Some of my favorites would include: Area, Design It Yourself, the Logo Lounge Series and Dos Logos. These are the types of books I always get on amazon, so so much cheaper that way!

Jeane said...

We don't have many art books but of the few my favorite is a MC Escher collection. His designs are so cool.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Alea - Pretty much :) We have the Logo Lounge Series and Dos Logos as well. One you also might like is Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered by Quentin Blake. Daniel had so much fun filling his in. We get them on amazon too.

Jeane - Love MC Escher! A great Art primer is Phaidon's The Art Book. Better than a degree in Art History - ha!

Beth Kephart said...

No, no, Alea. This one is actually for me. Or, more truly, for my graphic designer husband. Now I know what to get this man who will only look at books, not read them, for Christmas.

(He's cute, so he gets away with it.)

Amber said...

Cool reviews - Lovemarks sounds especially appealing and intriguing :)

Alea said...

Oh Beth, your husband is a graphic designer! I love it! Yes I definitely look at a lot of books too... :)

Lenore Appelhans said...

Beth - Glad I could help out :)

Amber - If you are at all interested in advertising, you'd really like it.

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm not really crazy about design books but I love learning about Disney animation. Not necessarily the art (although I of course love looking at it) but the behind-the-scenes stuff. I want to get the last two you mentioned now though!

Serena said...

i like the covers of these books...the smile in mind is a good one.