Best! Books! Ever! (Part 4!)

Best! Books! Ever! (Part 4!)

C'mon Creative Geniuses: Ostensibly we didn't rise to greatness on the sheer force of our good looks! Admit you've sourced all kinds of books for visual advice to help you dazzle, inspire, and bend-to-your-will your lunk-head editors. Did I say that out loud? Yes I did! Here are 5 more from all corners of the imagination.

Kick.png16. I love A Kick in the Seat of the Pants by Roger von Oech. Got it back in 1987 when I was interning in the art department at Ted Bates. An older art director suggested I read it. I never read it cover to cover but there is this one allegory that I continue to return to in life and in design. Designer Christopher Williams tells a story about an architect who built a cluster of large office buildings in a central green. When construction was completed, the landscape crew asked him where he wanted the sidewalks between the buildings. "Not yet," was the architect's reply, "just plant the grass solidly between the buildings." This was done, and by late summer the new lawns were laced with pathways of trodden grass, connecting building to building, and building to outside. As Williams put it, "The paths followed the most efficient line between the points of connection, turned in easy curves rather than right angles and were sized according to traffic flow; in the fall the architect simply paved in the pathways. Not only did the pathways have a design beauty, they responded directly to the users need."

                                                                                  --Ken DeLago, Design Director; Golf Digest

41QDS1T9NVL._SS500_.jpg17. Swiss Graphic Design: The Origins and Growth of an International Style, 1920-1965 by Richard Hollis is a pretty modest edition with small pictures and lots of words. This book can't compete with ffffound as far as the "Visual Inspiration" goes. But when you want to experience the long lost excitement of understanding WHY certain things are done the way they're done, this book could be your first step.

                                          --Anton Ioukhnovets, Art Director; GQ

41R-HAHaGZL._SS500_.jpg18. The Family of Man, the book based on the pioneering MoMA photo exhibit curated by Edward Steichen, made me realize, for the first time in my life, how powerful images can be. Documenting all aspects of life around the world, each photo says something different about the commonality of human experience. Even now when I look at the photos, they still have the power to move me. And it's the only international bestseller that has a photo of my mother -- take a look at page 123.

              --Sarah Rozen, Photography Director; Women's Health

19. Jack "King" Kirby is the greatest comic book illustrator of all-time, at least in my world. He created characters like the Fantastic Four, Thor, Captain America, the Black Panther, Silver Surfer, and many more, and his New Gods series of the early 70s is considered by many the pinnacle of comic book storytelling. His style was bold and cinematic, and just about any (male) illustrator who grew up in the 60s and early 70s was heavily influenced by his work. When I think of what I want an illustration to look like, and how I want it to fill the page, I always think of it as a Jack Kirby piece. His work explodes off the page and jumps right into your face. There are plenty of Kirby books and collections available these days, but Kirby: King of Comics  by Mark Evanier is a great survey of all his work, starting in the 40s and continuing into the 80s.
                                                                      --Robert Newman, Design and Editorial Consultant

Thumbnail image for ChuckClose.jpg20. Martin Friedman's beautifully written and designed book Close Reading: Chuck Close and the Artist Portrait is inspiring me like crazy. I started reading it, because it not only described the art world when I was first coming up in the 60's and 70's, but some of his portraits and stories are of my favorite teachers when I was a student at SVA. This book inspires me because not only is Chuck Close one of my very favorite artists, but after he became severely disabled, he made himself get back to work and his painting and exquisite vision became even far more amazing than before his illness. I mention this book because it reminds me that even when faced with great challenges, like many art directors and designers are confronting right now in our industry, each of us must stay true to the vision that we have for ourselves and manage to make good of our talents, even if it may require a little reinvention. That said, anyone looking at Close's portraits cannot help but be inspired to design something wonderful with great craft and color. I happened to meet Chuck Close last week. What a thrill! I blabbered on that I was reading this book and he pointed to the guy next to him. It was the author! Chuck Close is gracious and friendly and we talked baseball. He's even a Yankee fan. Inspiring!!!
                                                         --Mitch Shostak,Creative Director; Shostak Studios, Inc.

Missed some? Check out the first fifteen titles from the Best! Books! Ever! Series here, and visit our store here for all the SPD Essentials.

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