5 Books to Help You Break Out of Your Creative Envelope

Universal Principles of Design
125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design

by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler

Universal Principals of Design

If one book exists that can help you step out of a design rut, this is it. Now, when I refer to design, I mean real design from start to finish, not just producing a piece of work based on a spec. The book is essentially a textbook, but it does a great job of getting you back to the fundamentals. So, instead of obsessing over why your color swatch is not working, you think bigger picture about why your overall approach is not working. Anyone who has gone to school for anything from graphic design to interface design has probably already learned most of the concepts in this book, but it is a great way to get yourself back to basics if you haven’t been in class for a while.

A Library & Public Art Space Built with 50,000 Free Books

Most libraries are filled with books, this one is made from them. Lacuna is a public art space for book lovers, built from 50,000 free books donated by the Internet Archive. Currently raising funds through Kickstarter, the crew behind the structure are planning to install it at the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival in Berkley, California on June 6 and 7. Books will be given away for free.

A Teeny Tiny Book of ‘Life’s Lil Pleasures’

Sometimes the smallest things in life are actually the most meaningful. For illustrator and animator Evan Lorenzen, that includes creating very very tiny books. The Denver, Colorado resident has created a exceptionally small read called ‘Life’s lil Pleasures’. It’s filled with just a few pages, but takes us on a meaningful journey from those small but inspiring events, to some which would make you laugh, to some which are utterly bizarre. I love it.

It’s a “Weapon of Mass Instruction”: This Guy Built a Tank Covered in Books

Raul Lemesoff has built a ‘Weapon of Mass Instruction.’ His mobile sculpture (‘Arma De Instruccion Masiva’ in Spanish) looks a lot like a military tank as it’s driving down the streets of Buenos Aires, but when it comes to a stop its army green sides are filled with books. Lemesoff is on a mission to distribute books throughout the city and the rest of Argentina, and the only thing he asks when you get a book is that you promise to read it.

Magnificent Bookstore with a 19th Century Interior Opens in Romania

If you are a book lover, than this beautiful bookstore is the place to fall in love. Cărtureşti Carusel (“The Carousel of Light”) is a new store opening in the center of Bucharest. Built inside the cavernous interior of a 19th century building, the entire space features ornately detailed columns, stairways and balconies. With everything painted a brilliant white, its name is perfectly fitting.

Bookniture: Furniture that Collapses to the Size of a Book

In our increasingly mobile world, having furniture that can go with you and adapt to many situations is key. Bookniture, a project launching on Kickstarter fits those needs exceptionally well. Not only can it function as a stool, foot rest, nightstand, standing work desk and more, it also collapses into the size of a large book on your shelf. Handy.

Famous Novels Transformed into Book Art

Tokyo-based artist and designer Tomoko Takeda doesn’t just read books, she turns the famous literature into fantastic works of art. Her series ものがたりの断片 (Story Fragments) cuts down into the pages themselves to reveal the story in physical form. She says she makes books not just to read, but something to enjoy looking at.

Understanding The Creative Battle: Steven Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’

Anybody who works in the arts knows that to create art is to struggle. We must struggle against our medium and ourselves in order to do our best work. There is something about the creative mind that makes it hard to create. This is a conundrum that is inextricably linked to the process.

Some artists, as I described in my post on Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals, understand this struggle and create systems of strict discipline to combat it. Others (I would include myself in this category) are more chaotic and disorganized in their creative habits, and while sometimes thriving off of this chaos, also know it can be a major hindrance to their ability to do consistent work.

Motion Silhouette Creates Stories with Shadow Play

You don’t need an iPad to create an interactive book. Just ask designers Megumi Kajiwara and Tatsuhiko Niijima. They’ve created a beautiful pop-up book, Motion Silhouette, that changes as the reader uses light to manipulate shadows on each page.

Harry Potter and the Unfortunate Reality of Growing Up and Being Middle-Aged

Growing up isn’t always easy. We’ve seen Harry Potter go from a young boy (played by an equally young Daniel Radcliffe) to a grown man over more than a decade of books and movies. But what happens to Harry in the future? This funny but sobering look at that potential future takes the form of book covers styled just like the real thing – but here Harry (along with his famous scar) is looking decidedly older. Check out that receding hairline!