Improving myself is one of my favorite hobbies. When I was in middle school I would make lists for how to "improve" myself, like drink more water and read the entire dictionary, and then I would set a time frame in which I should achieve these improvements. Nothing has changed except that I have zero plans to read the dictionary now.
So when it comes to my design work I am also always trying to learn more about the industry and learn new techniques. I've made it a part of my workweek schedule to read design books and blogs that inspire me. Working from home, by myself, is great except that I am not in constant contact with other designers and creatives. Reading design books makes me feel like I'm spending some time with another designer, picking their brain and gaining wisdom.
Here are a few of the design books that I'm loving right now:
By Austin Kleon
This book came into my life at just the right time. I was feeling kind of down because work was slow and new projects weren't coming in for a few weeks. I didn't want to share my work on social media because I felt like either nobody cared about my design work or I wasn't as good as other designers or illustrators. Austin Kleon does a great job at giving quick, smart, and easy advice for getting inspired, sharing your work, and gaining followers who buy and support your work. I flew through this book and every chapter made me want to put the book down and go post my illustrations and portfolio work on Instagram or Dribbble.
I highly recommend this book to any designer. It will get you excited about creating lots of new work and sharing it.
By Lisa Congdon, Julia Kuo, and Eloise Renouf
I have loved drawing since I was little, but decided to get more serious about it this past year. I bought an iPad and downloaded Procreate so I could start developing my illustration skills and eventually make money doing it. Sometimes I run out of ideas of what to draw and I feel like I'm still developing my style. I've tried a lot of illustration books, but none have been as helpful as 20 Ways to Draw Everything. This book contains simple guidelines on how to draw, and then the majority of the book is simple illustrations you can practice re-creating.
The authors talk about seeing illustration as combining lots of simple shapes. When I broke it down this way, I had a lot easier time drawing anything and everything. My illustration skills have benefited a lot from going through this book.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in being a better illustrator or anyone who just wants to doodle a bunch.
By Michael Janda
This book is best suited for younger, newer designers, but there's still a lot of good advice for the more experienced. The chapters are short and cover one specific topic, such as how to not miss deadlines, what should be in your contracts, how to professionally interact with clients, how to ask for a raise, and tons more information about how to just be a good business person. I liked this book because there were a lot of small detail things I do in my business that I assumed I was doing right, but appreciated the reinforcement on how to do them. I also plan to keep this book on hand because Janda gives very specific advice on how to deal with unhappy clients, including example e-mail text.
I recommend this book to design students or any designer who runs their own business.
What design books are you loving right now? Let me know!