Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities — Book Review

January 21, 2011, 8:56 PM

“Anyone involved in creating visual identities, or wanting to learn how to go about it, will find this book invaluable.” — Tom Geismar, Chermayeff & Geismar.

Now, getting one of the greatest designers to write such a commending line about your book is no small thing. Even if just for this recommendation, David Airey‘s book is worth buying. However, praises can be biased, and great designers are usually kind and helpful (read Jessica Helfand’s beautiful article on “The Kindness of Strangers” and you’ll see what I mean — no, it’s not about Paul Rand, he’s the “angry” type).

But let’s get on with the review. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years or just found out about graphic design yesterday, David Airey is one of the most successful design bloggers around, writing two graphic design blogs, and (having more than 700,000 monthly page views). His newest, Identity Designed, is a site featuring work and inside stories from great design studios around the world (I can see a book version coming soon for this one as well). Logo Design Love started as a blog in January 2008, devoted to the design of logos and visual identities. Having become so successful, it eventually led to a book offer, as David wrote in Jan 2009.

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Paul Rand: Conversations with Students — Book review

January 2, 2011, 9:52 PM

«Everything is design. Everything!» … «It is important to use your hands, this is what distinguishes you from a cow or a computer operator.»

Starting with bold, very Rand-like quotes, Paul Rand: Conversations with Students, written by Michael Kroeger, is a small book divided in two parts: first, the conversations themselves, from February 1995 (first between Kroeger and Paul, together with his wife Marion, then between Rand and students from the School of Design, Arizona State University) and second, five homages from designers that had the privilege of studying with him closely. The author himself had the privilege of an individual one-week session in Brissago, Switzerland — as did Phillip Burton, Armin Hoffman, Herbert Matter and Wolfgang Weingart (also the book’s Foreword writer).

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Proud as I can be: Brandient 101 — The book

March 28, 2010, 1:47 AM

Later note: even if it is filed in the ‘Book reviews’ category, this is not one in itself — it is more of an announcement of the book’s launching, as I was involved in it too.

Rarely have I been so proud to be a designer as I am now. Two days ago, Brandient launched “Brandient 101”, the first book dedicated to Romanian brand design (limited edition of 101, signed).

I’ve been part of more than a handful of projects presented in the book, all of them being great experiences, from which I’ve learned a lot — the more difficult, the bigger the challenge and, of course, the reward. Working at Brandient for the last 3 years has been the real school that formed me as a designer (a brand designer, to be more precise, or a communication designer, as Mr. Erik likes to say), learning from and with my colleagues on all occasions, stressful or not (I found out over the years that the bigger the pressure, the faster you learn & work — of course, too much pressure is never a good thing, but one can never underestimate a designer’s ‘magical’ ability of pulling the ship around on the right track while the client is already ringing at the door :P) .

The book is designed by Cristian -Kit- Paul, Brandient’s Creative Partner, one of the best Romanian designers and also a great photographer — definitely follow him on Kit·blog. He’s also a very skilled speaker, another example that being a great designer is not only about drawing well-thought logos & identities, but also about explaining them, about promoting design as a business tool and last but not least, about teaching and inspiring the others.

But enough with the raves, here it is:

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Wonderful typography from Mucca Design

October 16, 2009, 11:31 AM

Wonderful work and especially eye-drooling typography from Mucca Design (offices in NY and SF). I like how they manage to generate series of books, not just individual covers—talking about covers, you should definitely check the new covers on Design Challenge.

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The Bear That Wasn’t

March 8, 2008, 2:48 PM

I remember seeing The Bear That Wasn’t on Cartoon Network when I was a kid and being enchanted by its beautiful yet thought-provoking story. Chuck Jones made the animated short adapting Frank Tashlin’s book (hope amazon will be selling it again soon, i can’t buy from resellers in Romania).

(photo from Kip W’s The bear that wasn’t photo setthank you Kim for scanning the whole book. Mind the beautiful typography in the title.)

The story beautifully touches the problems of urbanization, mass production, human alienation, workaholism and of course, the environment’s. It sounds over-ambitious for a cartoon, I know, but it’s amazing to see how easily these ideas are presented while keeping the cartoon entertaining even for small children (that will grow up and write rants like these :D). Graphic lines that entangle and move the characters, camera cuts made in an almost-comics-like manner (Samurai Jack‘s got nothing on this :P), suited and colored to match every masterfully-drawn character’s personality, music that gives you that 50’s industrial feeling but still manages to describe different social statuses and sometimes even have a hint of techno sound, and last but not least, the wonderful storytelling make this cartoon a true gem.


Too bad sometimes we let others convince us we’re just “a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat”. Luckily some of us don’t buy that for too long.



Design Books – Flickr Sets

February 26, 2008, 2:24 AM

Flickr may be annoying many times (especially since you can’t post images larger than 1024px anymore – unless you go pro), but it sure holds a lot of great stuff. Insect54 (gotta love web2.0 nicknames :P) hosts a few gems, photo sets of some great design books, most of them about the insanely talented dutch designers.

Take a look:
Dutch Graphic Design set

This page shows work by Tel Design from 1972:

Wim Crouwell

Modern Publicity

Graphis collection

Take your time, watch how things should be done. Learn if you can.
And as always, normal designers copy, great designers steal ;)

(via Ministry of Type)



Dutch Type

December 15, 2007, 4:07 AM

A great book about dutch typography and design, presenting Dutch Type from the dark ages to the present day. I got to browse it at the Atelier Tipografic event (in Bucharest, last month – organised by dutch and romanian design teachers). Mr. David Quay told me among other very interesting things that the book is half-sponsored by the Dutch gov (for them investing in education and thus in the future is something just as normal as getting taxes from the people).

It’s a great buy, for sure, but till then you can read it all for free here (Google Books). Take a look at its beautiful cover:


(photo from YouWorkForThem – a great store with some of the best books on design – they also have Dutch Type at almost half Amazon’s price)



Do great books a great designer make?

November 17, 2007, 4:48 PM

Of course not, but they surely help. Even if sometimes you won’t understand what they are about until you’ve gained more experience. As it has been said in the past, you are always searching for what you already know, uncounciously or not. And one of the best education you can get is reading a 2m stash of great books from your area of expertise (usually this beats most schools, especially romanian ones). Too bad I can’t remember who said this either.

I’ve added an Amazon Wish List widget in the sidebar, you can check some great books that I think are worth buying (and will buy most of them, gradually, unless I win the lottery :)) ).