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4 Design books that inspire Parkway

As creators, we’re always looking for inspiration and these four books are full of it!

Pretty Much Everything by Aaron Draplin

Aaron Draplin makes no apologies, loves his work fiercely and continues to entertain us with his colorful language and bold designs. We read Pretty Much Everything because not only do we love his style, Draplin graced Buffalo with his “Make a Logo the DDC Way” workshop in 2017. We’re so thankful to the Western New York Book Arts Center for hosting!

Pretty Much Everything includes all the history and influences that molded Draplin’s larger-than-life personality. This is a graphic design book packed to the brim with stories, case studies, inspiration, his process and some life lessons too. He holds nothing back; there are sketches on paper plates, the creation of the well-known Field Notes and logos, logos, logos. It is obvious that Draplin is a collector of things. Things he found while “junkin’” and things he made combine for one hell of a mood board.

Aaron in Action

Watch Draplin in action as he takes on a logo design challenge.

Elegantissima by Louise Fili

Living in Buffalo, we love springtime and the way it makes us all appreciate the beautiful things in life. The city just seems to come alive: flowers bloom, the sun shines, people are smiling. The design book Elegantissima reminds us of springtime in Buffalo. It also blooms, shines and makes us smile!

Louise Fili is a typographer and graphic designer living in New York City. She travels frequently to Italy and the surrounding areas to deliver unique hand-lettered solutions inspired by this fusion of city life and European travels.

She has designed for Pantheon Books, Good Housekeeping, Tiffany & Co., School of Visual Arts in New York City and Hillary Clinton, and branded countless restaurants and food packages. You may have even used a postage stamp that she designed.

Running her own graphic design studio since 1989, Fili paved the way for women designers and art directors in our industry. Her attention to detail and dedication to drawing by hand create an exquisiteness that is unmatched. Her designs feel familiar, both new and old, and iconic.

How to Be A Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy

Each year, graphic design students around the world assemble their portfolios as they prepare for summer design internships, the beginning of their creative careers or maybe even freelance work. We all remember that feeling all too well and we think this book is a great resource for young professionals going through this important transition period.

Shaughnessy offers both practical advice and philosophical guidance to help young professionals just starting out in their careers. Have you ever wondered how the freelance gig works? Not sure what to charge for your design work? Or how to market yourself? What should you know if you want to start your own business?

Other chapters are packed full of advice and stories about professional skills and the creative process. We love Shaughnessy’s thoughts on global trends that include social responsibility, ethics, and why qualities like self-awareness are becoming increasingly important traits for designers to have.

If you’re a student who’s looking ahead or a young professional attempting to navigate the early stages of your career, this book is a must. The entire book reads like an open and honest conversation about the good, the bad and the ugly we encounter daily with our clients and our work. You’ll get answers to questions you might not have had a chance to ask your professors.

Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico

Typography is often considered the cornerstone of the graphic design discipline. While typography is an integral part of visual communication, it is diverse enough a field to be studied entirely on its own. Steven Heller goes as far as to claim, “A graphic designer who is not fluent [in typography] is not a graphic designer.” With only its form, typography can deliver messages, evoke feelings and tell stories without the help of supporting imagery. It is one of the purest forms of design.

While the computer added another dimension in which designers had to consider typography (for example, typefaces created specifically to be viewed on a computer screen), many designers are resorting back to hand-lettered typography or designing their own letterforms.

Typography Sketchbooks features typographers and designers and their work, finished and unfinished. The latter is much more intriguing in our opinion! Seeing initial thoughts, progress, alterations through to the final product humanizes these designers.

The book contains 350+ pages jam-packed of photos of notebooks, tracing paper, computer renderings and beyond. Nothing seems to be off-limits for these designers focusing their efforts on exploring typography through various mediums (trash included) and within several different environments.

The only written content this graphic design book contains is a brief introduction and a small explanation from each of the designers introducing and defending their sketchbooks. Their pages do most of the talking for them.

If you see a style you like within Typography Sketchbooks, we suggest following the designer on social media to see where their work has taken them.

To say this book is a visual delight is an understatement. It is carefully curated to share examples of all parts of the design process and is an excellent inspiration to those looking to try hand-lettering or type exploration of any kind.