6 Brilliant Design Books on Our Shelf

As you might expect, my bookshelf at the office is comprised of 5% classic literature and 95% design books. I’ve recently received some particularly awesome new releases that I’m enjoying immensely. They’re all great sources of inspiration and actionable design career advice.

These have all been released in the past year or two, and we at HOW absolutely love them:

6 Recently-Released Design Books for Inspiration and Advice

Color: The Professional’s Guide

Understanding, Appreciating and Mastering Color in Art and Design

by Karen Triedman

T3929-newIn an age of retina and high definition displays, accurate and effective use of color is paramount. Grow in your understanding of how color works, and how you can make it work for your design work with The Ultimate Guide to Color by Karen Triedman. With comprehensive information on color design and over 300 color images, discover a wide range of examples, techniques, inspiration, and solutions to fit your needs, whatever your discipline. Get it here.

Here are some interior shots of the book:

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If you’re into color, you might want to check out this sweet selection of Pantone guides and sets too. 


Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Done

by Danny Gregoryopen-monkey-book

image from Danny Gregory’s blog

This hypercritical little critter loves to make you second-guess yourself. It stirs up doubt. It kills your creativity. But it can be stopped. And acclaimed author Danny Gregory is here to show you how. After battling it out with his own monkey, he knows how to shut yours down. Gregory provides insight into the inner workings of your inner critic and teaches you how to put it in its place. Soon you’ll be able to silence that voice and do what you want to do—create.Now follow his lead and Shut Your Monkey. Get it here.

Meet the monkeys:


Danny also shared some cool images from the cover design process:


We’re also big fans of Danny Gregory’s past books on illustration, An Illustrated Life and An Illustrated Journey.

Show Posters: The Art and Practice of Making Gig Posters

By Pat Jones and Ben Nunery


Powerhouse Factories takes you beyond album covers to teach you all about the art that drives today’s biggest shows and festivals. Show Posters offers a visual timeline of the big players in the music industry, from The Black Keys and Passion Pit to Phantogram and Real Estate, as well as the posters that launched their shows—and the designers’ careers.

Show Posters features step-by-step instructions to guide you through screen printing, hand lettering, and yes, even Xeroxing your way to recreating iconic, kick-ass posters. The high-energy rock-and-roll artists of Powerhouse Factories will coach you on how to hook up with bands, managers, and promoters, and create an original, limited poster for one of their shows. Get it here.

Here are some of the pages and posters you’ll find inside:


Client: My Morning Jacket | Designer: Clinton Reno

show-posters12 show-posters1

By Katie Greenwood


image from grainedit.com

This beautiful book showcases 100 carefully chosen images from the graphic arts, each representing a color palette from every year of the 20th century. The selection includes images from magazines, book covers, advertisements, posters, illustrations and postcards. Every image has a distinctive, inspirational color scheme, and the book displays these on the facing pages as a practical reference.

A perfect source of inspiration for any professional in the creative arts, the palettes brilliantly demonstrate the different effects achieved when altering the dominant color. The selection of ten palettes per decade gives an authentic overview of the colors and trends of an era, making this an ideal historical reference for anyone working in interior or set design, graphic design, illustration or fashion. Get it here.

Here are some interior pages from the book:


Cultivating Creativity: Daily Rituals for Visual Inspiration

By Maria Fabrizio

IMG_1539 (1)

Discover the road to productivity and success by keeping your creative juices flowing daily.Cultivating Creativity by Maria Fabrizio adheres to the idea that creativity requires ample momentum — if you stop, you’ll stall. In order to get the creative inspiration you need to do your design work well, it’s important to establish daily creative routines. Create every day, and you’ll be able to keep creating every day – it’s as simple as that. Lean on this helpful companion and guide to creative inspiration and you’ll be able to take your creativity, and design work, to new heights. Get it here.

Check out some interior shots from the book:

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Read an excerpt from this book here.


The Art of Illustrated Maps

A Complete Guide to Creative Mapmaking’s History, Process and Inspiration

By John Roman


This is the first book ever to fully explore the fascinating world of “illustrated” conceptual maps. Author and map artist John Roman traces the roots of imaginative mapping from their beginnings over two thousand years ago, and shows us how the human mind is programmed to instinctively relate to the geographic exaggerations illustrated maps are famous for.This book maps the origins and history of creative cartography, analyzes why our brains so easily relate to conceptual maps, presents how professional artists create illustrated maps, and showcases the works of contemporary map illustrators from around the world. Get it here.



Read more about The Art of Illustrated Maps at PrintMag.com.