When looking for inspiration online I find that once you've exhausted your sources references start to become homogenised and everything starts looking like everything else. Don't get me wrong I love browsing on sites like behance, dribbble, designspiration etc. Also I think it can be useful, especially when researching interactions and design patterns but sometimes it’s good to look for inspiration else where. The more your broaden your horizons the more versatile you will become. Having a fresh perspective will give your work more depth and stand out when required.
A big part of being a great designer in my opinion comes down to taste, some of the best Juniors, Art Directors and Creative Directors that I’ve had the privilege to both mentor and work with have always had tremendous taste. Their influences and insight into both design and culture were impeccable. It's not always about how good you are but how good you want to become and closing that gap between you and the people that inspire you. For me personally books and magazines have always been a great resource. These are not necessarily how-to type design books - which I will cover down the track but these are ones that I personally draw inspiration from.
I’ve been following Francesco Franchi’s work for a while now, about 6 years to be exact. I was in awe of the work he was doing for IL, the infographics at the time were out of this world. You can view some of his earlier works here. In my spare time I used to try to dissect and mimic the components of his work that I loved so much. As soon as I knew he was releasing a book, I was very excited. And in the end it did not disappoint. It’s a must read for those who love editorial design and typography. It's a perfect reference for content rich sites.
Look at that cover for PORT it’s sexy as hell and I wouldn’t have discovered it without this book. It shows you how a condensed typeface with just the right letter spacing and paired with a serif can create something truly magical.
For both its rich content and its design Monocle is an awesome publication. The articles are always interesting and insightful. The Art Direction is something I pay close attention to, there is a lot you can draw from the type, layout and imagery. The careful line height considerations and how it is a joy to read. You may have even noticed that I've taken some of the visual cues and used it on this blog.
FORECAST BY MONOCLE
I actually picked this up on a plane ride to Korea. I love how Monocle is creating more and more and publications. Forecast is a view beyond the horizon, the content was so engrossing I don’t think I put the publication down until the flight ended. Much like its parent publication pay close attention to the Art Direction, beautiful use of grids and typography.
MONOCLE GUIDE TO BETTER LIVING
It seems like everything is Monocle related but yes I really love each of their publications. I believe this was their first book release and it is sprinkled with plenty of gems. Probably not as profound as the book title suggests but there are some great articles, the book is crafted beautifully and there's some great layouts to get the mind ticking.
Keeping it real, you can see the wear and tear on the books.
BROCHURE DESIGN SERIES
Because I started my career at an agency that did print and branding, I’ve always looked to traditional graphic design to draw inspiration for my digital work. For the longest time I’ve always thought typography on the web could’ve been much better than where it was. With that said I think over the last few years with great sites like Medium I think that gap is slowly closing. Even in 2015 I still turn to old books I have from this series - the best of brochure design from Rockport. I personally have editions 7 and 10, both published in 2003 and 2008 respectively. It's amazing how some of it still holds up today, but then again the works of Massimo Vignelli and Dieter Rams still hold up today, so I urge you to sometimes look back in time for inspiration.
A great magazine that gives a behind the scenes look of various creative lifestyles. Surprisingly a lot of the type choices are very reflective of what's trending on the web today. Not sure if the influence was from web to print or vice versa but it's a young magazine with some rich content. If you look closely though there are certain areas of clumsiness with regards to the design, but overall it's well laid out and it's good to see more and more indie publishers creating great mags.
I'm sure most of you would've heard of this one - but it's a fantastic magazine produced here in Melbourne and run by Kai Brach. It's great to see the level of finesse build with each edition and it has some great insight into the minds of top digital designers. Kai had some of the same frustrations that I've had with the web which has been a love-hate relationship for me. The temporariness of work on the web and how quickly things get changed and redesigned . But as I said it's a love-hate relationship because at the same time it's this continual evolution of the web that keeps me on my toes and keeps it interesting.
Happy reading guys. Also there is nothing better than visiting a book store so if you can pick up any of these at your local book store please do so. It's always good to step away from the screen, touch physical products and gain a fresh perspective.