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Posts Tagged ‘books’

I’m fundamentally a very positive person but…

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2010 at 4:23 PM

I was just reading this by one of my faves Hunter S Thompson. If you haven’t read his stuff, google some old articles and read those and then read Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. You will be blown away by how an author can pen one of the great modern classics using drug references in every single line yet the genius being about anything but that. He is an unequivocal legend.

Reading this made me realise something else too. It made me realise (part of) why I’m working so hard. The level of (hopefully dry) cynicism I sometimes display is intentionally always directed at certain levels or segments of our society (um, the George Bush Jnr type?) and HOPEFULLY actively never at any one person (I really do love people too much). But still, it definitely requires a sh*tload of talent to back it up. Hunter S Thompson superbly displays this here in an early career cover letter. They should show this to kids at school if they want them to challenge the system with profound intelligence.

You need to read this (click the pic). You’ll see what I mean.

(ps. If you like HST, you should also look up P J O’Rourke who is another absolute legend and was apparently HST’s best friend. If you read his work you will completely understand why. Pick up Eat The Rich. It’s freaking hilarious (and made me want to visit Albania one day).

(pps. Thank you Sara for the link)


this book is mind-blowing

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2010 at 5:09 PM

(and I haven’t even read it yet!)

To me, growing up is a great thing. It’s about positive action, self-responsibility, offering your best, and encouraging everyone else around you to do the same (and helping them if they can’t). It’s definitely nothing to do with giving up the wonderment, imagination and openness we all had as children. Far from it! Indeed, the best ‘grown-ups’ are the ones who are still like that but use all their grown-up knowledge, skills and abilities to make their childhood dreams and aspirations come alive, whether it’s a dream job for themselves or implementing a set of positive values on a global scale. Growing up is about seeing reality yes, but seeing the best in it and making that a stepping stone to fixing the worst (or less than best). I see no other point to being alive than this (regardless of whether you want kids or a job or a house or not) and, growing up gives you the power to do this.

I am thinking all this because of this link to a book (see below) which I randomly got from a facebook ad link (surprisingly considering the general level of quality of those!). I try to post things that catch my attention, are inspiring and on a general basis are positive but this link stunned me. The book is called Leaving Neverland: why little boys shouldn’t run big corporations and it’s by Daniel Prokop. It is about the psychology and behaviour of key players behind current global crises of the moment which affect us all, now and far into the future – environmental, financial, social etc….and how it is basically ‘grown’ men acting like little boys. It’s a look at how we allow this to happen in our society and how it’s not in our best interests. I haven’t read the book so I can’t offer a review as such but….pertinent topic for sure. And sad that everyone he interviews in this video survey (see below) doesn’t seem to think ‘growing up’ is a positive thing! I sincerely hope they come in contact (like I did) with amazing, positive and proactive people like my AMAZING friends at Reach and other organisations which show them the awesome power in being themselves as they ‘grow up’. And how that can actually change the very things that stop them wanting to grow-up in the first place and create a better world in the process.

(click to play vid of author talk and ‘Do you think you’ve grown-up?’ survey)

Three design tomes worth unfreezing your credit card for.

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2010 at 11:46 AM

My credit card isn’t exactly in the old frozen ice cream container of water but it IS currently in the naughty corner. Life is a little expensive as a design student even with a full-time job, and the not-large-but-still-significant amount I owe on my card is roughly the same as a return flight plus insurance to Portland, America (Dream destination. Music. America. Design jobssssssss! OMFG!). When I realised this I made a pact with myself. Stop using it, save up, pay it off, go.

BUT. There are some things that are worth investing in during this process and which I like to think are gonna make the end product of no debt and AMERICA – and design job! – even more viable. What? Design books. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah. Like crack cocaine to a 1990s, B-list superstar, we designers can by pretty much subsist on a steady diet of design tomes alone.

So, which books will I be bringing out my credit card for despite the heady allure of American design heaven as soon as possible?

These four for a start;

  1. Rookledge’s Classic International Typefinder by Christopher Perfect, Gordon Rookledge, Phil Baines.
    I just found this the other day and will be ordering asap. It was published in 2004 so the proliferation of types on the net probably means it doesn’t cover half of what is now available but….it does cover the good, solid foundation types plus some and really, that is what you really need. Once you’ve learnt the rules, that’s when you know how you can break them (and all that). Plus, a book is a great way to flip through whole pages of types and compare and contrast (with their ever-constant guides to how so) to your hearts content, learning the differences between the typefaces and how this makes them appropriate for some situations and not for others. Great foundation knowledge which again will probably be a reference book for the duration of my design career.
  2. Book Design by Andrew Haslam.
    This is a greaaaaat book which I have to admit, I’ve already have. Like a visual guide to book design with EVERYTHING you can imagine from layout, grids, type and publication processes to succinct, easy-to-read explanations as to why that strange little ‘P’ shaped doobiewhatsit denotes the start of a paragraph (and why we indent at the start of them too). And it does all this without ever being dry or texty or to boring for us fragile, little, visual types. Shown to me by a design teacher who is now also a friend, she says she’s been referencing it from the very start of her career and I can absolutely tell that I will be too.
  3. A Designer’s Art by Paul Rand.
    The legend, the icon. Inspired by some prescribed reading in the one theory-based unit in my design course (it’s much more focused on the practical skills of design usually), I’m just learning about the legend that was and is Paul Rand. I want an A2 sized poster of his iconic Eye-Bee-M logo design which, if Macs weren’t so awesome, could almost be enough to turn you back into a PC person forever (allllmost). He is all about all art is design and design is art and that simplicity is the key to all beautiful, smart, breathtaking solutions in design, particularly, that will last the test of time and transcend momentary cultural trends. This book is wordy and visual in equal measures but worth the reading, not just for the great visuals but also because who better to learn from than masters like this. (ps. See earlier post here for a short minivid I featured all about Paul Rand and his design philosophy)
  4. A Smile In The Mind by Beryl McAlhone.
    I only got to peak at this book for a short amount of time but think of any ad campaign or product packaging which made you catch your breath and elicit an audible ‘ha!’ because it made you smile with its simple cleverness. This book probably features it. Lots of really great, clever, impressive design solutions which are notable for their humble but confident wit (as opposed to being cool for the sake of it). They say the best wit is not about being funny or intellectually condescending but makes us smile because it appeals to our sense of intellectual challenge in an unpretentious way. It makes us realise that we can be smart along with the best of them. It’s collaborative rather than preachy or ‘teaching’. This book exposes the reader to many great examples of that. When I get my copy I’m going to really hope it rubs off on me!

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