April 30, 2021No Comments

One Pencil! Easy Illustration Exercise Book

Nozomi Kudo (2020)

I was looking for a book to walk me through drawing icons and illustrations for my various projects and One Pencil fit the bill. The illustration styles are simple, friendly, and easy to follow. There are far more topics than I need, but there’s enough work-related samples to start.

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September 18, 2019No Comments

Made in Japan

Awe-inspired graphics from Japan today

Viction:ary (2019)

I’ve been picking up design books from Kinokuniya in San Francisco for over 20 years, so I’ve naturally become a huge fan of Japanese design. Made in Japan shows off a wide range of graphic design ranging from minimal natural tones and imagery on white, colorful pastel washes, Scandinavian minimalism, geometrics, and layered mash-ups.

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June 4, 2019No Comments

Branded Interactions: Creating the Digital Experience

Marco Spies, 2015 (2018 reprint)

Branded Interactions is a heavy, comprehensive book that dives into five phases of band-based design: discover, define, design, delivery and distribute. My personal experience is almost entirely in design & delivery as an individual contributor for small agencies. I’ve had little exposure to how a brand-focused agency goes about developing a brand and communicating it to the client.

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September 10, 2018No Comments

Pencil Me In: The Business Drawing Book for People Who Can’t Draw

Christina Wodtke, 2017

I used to be able to sketch really well in high school and college, but what I really dreamed of was cartooning. Years later I discovered Illustrator. My cartooning dreams came true and I never picked up a pencil to draw again.

Until now.

I'm planning to work as part of a design team whereby communicating ideas requires quick sketches, mock-ups, and white boarding. Fortunately I came across this gem of a book. It walks you though steps, from simple lines and geometric shapes to text & lettering, drawing basics, and building a library of design ideas. Very nice.

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January 21, 2018No Comments

Illustration 2018

平泉 康児, 2018

Illustration 2018 features 150 illustrators from all over Japan, showing off what they’re doing right now. Just tune out and let the images overwhelm you with all of the talent, color, lines, contrast, and imagination.


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December 4, 2017No Comments

Asian Typography

Sandu Publishing, 2017

A fascinating look at how designers in Asia stylize their pictographic languages for various markets. It’s a outside look at type design without interference of actual (Latin-based) words, experiencing something between letters and iconography. For me, it’s fun to flip through the images, decipher the shapes and meanings, and imagine how they might influence our world of font and icon design.


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