My favourite design books

One of my goals for this year is to add to my collection of design books. Books play a huge part in my day to day work in the studio. They can be a great source of help and inspiration, and I still enjoy picking up a book far more than reading the same material on a screen.

Every now and again I have a bit of a clear out and take some down to the local charity shop. Technology books have a pretty short shelf life, but these three titles have never dated and they’ve become pretty much a permanent fixture on my bookshelf.

Logo Design Love - David Airey

Before going self-employed five years ago I’d gone a while without doing any logo or identity work so when I started to offer branding as a service I realised that I needed some help and a bit of inspiration.

David is a graphic designer I really admire, he produces polished and carefully thought out work and he’s always willing to offer aspiring designers advice. His book “Logo Design Love” has been invaluable to me and it’s a book I go back to time and time again.

From mind mapping to sketching initial ideas and presenting final design to clients the book has helped me create a working process that I’m comfortable with and one that seems to work for my clients.

A Smile In The Mind - Beryl McAlhone & David Stuart

“The most precious gift a designer can give a client is the gift of someone else’s time” - This is a really, really interesting book about ideas, inspiration and creativity. It looks at how the use of wit, warmth and humour can be used to create design that stands out and makes people smile.

At the back is a chapter called “How I got the idea” where the authors interview leading designers about their creative processes. A really good book to pull off the shelves when you’re in need of a spark of inspiration.

Factory Records The Complete Graphic Album - Matthew Robertson

Like most Mancunian men of my age Factory records holds a special place in my heart. A maverick record label that placed the relationship with their artists and the quality of their music and aesthetic ahead of profit.

Factory are probably not the greatest role model for a designer with a business that needs to turn a profit but it’s hard not to admire their punk ethos and attitude. Factory coloured my teenage years. I remember clearly walking through Piccadilly gardens in Manchester and seeing the huge posters heralding the release of New Order’s Technique album in 1989.

It looked out of place but at the same time fitted the mood of the times perfectly. This book comprehensively documents Factory’s artistic output, from record sleeves to posters to the company’s branding, totally inspirational.

Technique cover artwork by Peter Saville

The bacchanalian cherub which graces the artwork of New Order’s 1989 album, Technique.