Summer is here and the holidays are approaching with some pace, which for Aotearoa design means time away from the mac! Wherever you recharge over the festive season we hope there is time to relax and unwind. Many of our DA friends and partners are prolific readers so we asked a few to share their favourite books of 2020 some related to design, others design adjacent and a good selection from other genres to help you escape, expand your mind this holiday season.
Oh, Sh*t… What Now?: Honest Advice for New Graphic Designers by Craig Oldham
This book by Manchester designer Craig Oldham is a comprehensive and insightful guide to anything and everything that is of use to those looking to break into the creative industries, sharing experiences, ideas, advice, criticism, and encouragement. With sections covering education, portfolios, jobs/freelancing, working process, and personal development, this straight-talking, funny, and frequently irreverent guide is a must-read for all creative arts students. Buy the book
Maria Philip Graphic Designer at Run recommends ‘Sea People’ by Christina Thompson
For more than a millennium, Polynesians have occupied the remotest islands in the Pacific Ocean, a vast triangle stretching from Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter Island. Until the arrival of European explorers they were the only people to have ever lived there. Both the most closely related and the most widely dispersed people in the world before the era of mass migration, Polynesians can trace their roots to a group of epic voyagers who ventured out into the unknown in one of the greatest adventures in human history.
How did the earliest Polynesians find and colonise these far-flung islands? How did a people without writing or metal tools conquer the largest ocean in the world? This conundrum, which came to be known as the Problem of Polynesian Origins, emerged in the eighteenth century as one of the great geographical mysteries of mankind.
For Christina Thompson, this mystery is personal: her Maori husband and their sons descend directly from these ancient navigators. In Sea People, Thompson explores the fascinating story of these ancestors, as well as those of the many sailors, linguists, archaeologists, folklorists, biologists and geographers who have puzzled over this history for three hundred years. A masterful mix of history, geography, anthropology, and the science of navigation, Sea People is a vivid tour of one of the most captivating regions in the world. Buy the book
Copy this Book, an Artist’s Guide to Copyright
Copyright is one of the areas of law that designers struggle with most. This book offers a guide to the subject that’s written in plain English, making often complex concepts easy to understand and follow. Both practical and critical, it will guide you through the concepts underlying copyright and how they apply in your practice.
How do you get copyright? For what work? And for how long? How does copyright move across mediums, and how can you go about integrating the work of others? This book answers all these questions and more and will help you keep on the right side of the law. Buy the book
Matt Grantham Creative Director at Onfire recommends Branding: In Five and a Half Steps
Leading graphic designer Michael Johnson demystifies the branding process. Dividing the process into five key steps – investigation, strategy and narrative, design, implementation and engagement – Johnson also acknowledges the non-linear nature of branding with a crucial half step, which marks the fluid relationship between strategy and design.
A no-nonsense, six-question model structures the first half of the book; the second part analyses the design process, using over 1,000 contemporary brand identities from around the world.
This is the ultimate step-by-step visual guide to creating a successful brand identity. It’s an essential read for anyone in the branding industry and a particularly valuable resource for students and new designers. Buy the Book
Matt Grantham believes Yuval Noah Harari trilogy of books are must-reads with 21 Lessons for the 21st Century being a top pick for him this year;
Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues. In twenty-one bite-sized lessons, Yuval Noah Harari explores what it means to be human in an age of bewilderment. How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children? Buy the book and check out Harari’s other titles Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Overthrow II explores the 10 different challenger strategies, or narratives, used most powerfully today, each of them embodied in interviews with incisive leaders who have used them to break through in their market. We look at the strategic principles that each follows, the media behaviours they practise, and the part that today’s big themes like technology, data, culture and creativity play. Buy the book
Matt Grantham also recommended;
- Sagmeister & Walsh – Beauty
- Malcolm X
- Beastie Boys Book – Biography that accompanied the Apple TV special
- Mythos & Heroes – by Stephen Fry – the famous Greek stories told in a very layman’s way
- Stealing the Show – about art forgery
Annie McCulloch Portfolio Recruitment loved Little by Edward Carey
The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.
In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and… at the wax museum, heads are what they do.
In the tradition of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Edward Carey’s Little is a darkly endearing cavalcade of a novel—a story of art, class, determination, and how we hold on to what we love. Buy the book
Annie McCulloch also recommended;
Powered by Design, An Introduction to Problem Solving with Graphic Design
This informative and engaging history of graphic design has been updated for the latest edition. Graphic Design: A History (third edition) includes over 500 new images, a new chapter on current trends in digital design and an expanded introduction. Buy the Book
Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job: How to make it as a creative graduate – Gem Barton
Too often, a design or architecture degree is seen as a means to an end (a job in an established practice). But imagine for one moment that there are no employers, no firms to send your CV to, no interviews to be had – what would you do? How would you forge your own path after graduation? This book celebrates the various strategies that students and graduates are taking to succeed in their design careers. Buy the book