Over time I got quite a lot of e-mails asking me about design books. To be honest a lot of them come from young designers asking me about books where they can learn design. I don't think I've seen a good book that would be a step-by-step manual on how to become a good designer. I think design books are there like pieces of puzzle. You go through many of them to find clues, solutions and inspiration and then you have to put a whole picture in your head.
I am that type of person who loves buying design books. I have them all over my apartment and I constantly get back to them swiping pages and leaving bookmarks. I don't like books with just pretty trendy pictures, the ones you can find yourself on Pinterest. I like books that are more editorial, have bigger substance and beautifully designed.
This is a list of books that I really enjoyed over time. Something I would recommend to both skilled and beginner designers.
Working on so many news websites over the course of last couple of years I really enjoyed this book. Great case studies on newspapers design for both print and digital. Very interesting examples of designing and organizing editorial layouts in general. Would recommend it to anyone who is working with large amount of content.
An Alphabetical Book About Nokia Pure
Amazing book! Technically this book is a manifesto to Nokia Pure - a typeface designed for Nokia. You wouldn't expect anything amazing judging by the title, but in some ways this is a how-to manual on creating a custom typeface. I learned so much about typefaces from this book, much more than from more common ones, such as "Type Matters". Also the layout of this book's pages is a pure joy to flip through.
Grid Systems in Graphic Design
I discovered this book around this summer and up until then I thought I knew grids. Though this book is purely about creating grids for print (books) there are many parallels you can draw with web/digital. I really enjoyed the reading part of this book and the way author explains grid systems and where to break it. Great source for people who present a lot of work to clients or people who are not familiar with grid systems.
A collection of work from one of my favorite industrial designers Naoto Fukasawa. This book unveils a lot of thinking and process behind Fukasawa's work. You'll see sketches, very interesting ways of describing and explaining ideas as well as almost full body of work by designer.
Graphic Design: Now In Production
I still have hard time wrapping my head around what was the criteria of selecting work for this book, but it has an insane amount of awesomeness. I see this book more like a FFFFound in print form. It has print, digital, editorial even motion design in. In any way, this one is a must.
Turning Pages: Editorial Design for Print Media
I mean, let's agree, that any book coming from Gestalten is a pure piece of art. Turning pages is a fantastic collection of editorial designs for print and media. You can come across some really rare work that you haven't seen before. Book's layout is something to experience as well.
Lingua Grafica: Major Reference Work for Image Language - buy at Amazon
Lingua Universalis: Global Wordless Understanding - buy at Amazon
Mutabor: I'm Going to Change - buy at Amazon
When I think of icons and symbols, I think of Mutabor. I own couple of their books for many years now and it is totally worth it. Each icon shape, curves, composition and balance is so perfect and through out. Would highly recommend to anyone who is into drawing symbols, signs and icons.
I bought this book on a flea market in Tokyo, Japan. Basically it illustrates every single Leica camera and lens in an amazing technical drawing/illustration. It is all in Japanese so I don't really know what it says, but there's no much text in it anyway. I think if you are into cameras you would definitely appreciate this one.
I remember I bought this book right after I saw it's author Khoi Vinh (former design director at New York Times) giving a talk at one of the conferences. If you are an experienced designer you won't learn a whole new way of building a grid for web. But back then I really enjoyed the way it is written and grid explained in a very digestible way. So it helped me to explain and presents grids to the clients in a better way when it was needed.
This one is a Japanese magazine. I own couple of issues that I purchased over time in Zakka (by the way the best design book store in New York). I would't subscribe for it as it's pretty pricy here in New York, but occasionally I buy some issues when I see them. Great body of works, exposure to Japanese graphic designs that would be hard to stumble across just by browsing web.
Just last year alone I put together 38 entires in this journal. That makes it 3 entires per month. As you probably know I don't post other's people work, just my own personal projects, photographs from traveling around the world as well as New York, behind the scenes on some projects, photography retouching tips and different stories.
I've been doing a pretty bad job on promoting my blog. Sometimes after putting together an entry in the middle of the night, I even forget to mention it on Twitter or Facebook. As a result a do have very few people who actually come across this journal. So this year I am planning on doing a much better job.
What Would You Like to See More?
Below you can see the list of posts from 2014. To help me focus and create better content would be good to know what kind of topics interest you more. Or maybe topics that I never explored here. Shout in the comments below.
Personal Projects / Process / Making Of
- Spiral Cup - Making Of
- Illusions WIP — S/S 14
- Solar System Wall Clock
- "Gone Surfing" Board.
- New York Yellow Cab
- Formal T-Shirt
- Pattern Library
- One Month Off - Indonesia
- Jericoacoara, Brazil
- Botanica Pattern
Photography Process / Tutorials:
- Hong Kong
- Lantau Island
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Budapest, Hungary
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Prague, Czech Republic
- St. Petersburg, Russia
- Moscow, Russia
- Maui, Hawaii — Part 1
- Maui, Hawaii — Part 2
- Maui, Hawaii — Part 3
- Oahu, Hawaii
- Jericoacoara, Brazil
- Lake Placid & Whiteface Mountain
- Minnewaska Lake
- OFFF 2014 - Cincinnati
New York Photography:
This post is about the latest concept work "Maui Collection" that you can see in my portfolio.
I have been to Maui Island on Hawaii quite a few times by now. Igor, who's is my really good friend form high school, lives there; and sometimes I go visit him. The first time I went there I was impressed, and "impressed" is a mild word to describe how fascinating it was. I grew up in cities, lived my whole life in cities; yes, I have been to forests and "pretty nature places", but when I saw nature on Maui, it was jaw-dropping, I was speechless.
The first time I was there, I was all over the place. Beach here, mountains there, everything was in a rush. It was the second time, when I got to experience Maui in piece. At some point my friend Igor took me for a hike. We drove over the Hana road on a North shore of Maui and stopped somewhere between Haiku and Wailua.
After climbing an old rusty gate by the side of the road, we had to walk for about 45 minutes towards the sea, coming down the steep hill which technically is part of volcano.
This is about half-way through the hike. So as you can see the road is quite high up and we had to go all the way down to the water. At some point you arrive to the edge of the cliff with a rope hanging down. So you grab the rope and come down "swat style" to a little tip of rocks down on the water. Having massive bags with cameras, lenses and a tripod hanging around me was quite an inconvenience.
So here we arrived. All the way at the water there's this little place of what used to be hot boiling lava. It formed this surreal landscape of layered abstract looking rocks. This place was very special.
I ended up taking nearly 500 photos there as everything looked like I am on another planet and I wanted to capture as much as I could. And the idea of creating patterns started with this picture below. I was amazed by texture, those curvy shapes and that pink color that nature created. For quite some time I wanted to print this photo on my t-shirt or create something with it.
Only a year later I started the "Maui Collection" project. I think what was holding me back is that I didn't had a holistic idea of what it is going to be. I only had that one image in mind and creating something with it, as a stand alone piece, felt somehow out of the context.
What inspired me, though it might sound cheesy, is how Hawaii got it's flora and fauna. But when you think of it, it is actually really cool. Hawaiian Islands are one of the most remote islands on Earth. They are right in the middle of Pacific Ocean and there's literally nothing around. And in the very beginning there was absolutely nothing. Each volcanic cone in the chain of the Hawaiian Islands is built of dark, iron-rich/quartz-poor rocks, which poured out of thousands of vents as highly fluid lava, over a period of millions and millions of years. So the way I imagine, it looked exactly like the images above, just this surreal rock in the ocean with no plants or any hint of life.
Hawaii acquired plants and animals only as they arrived on wind and sea currents traveling thousand of miles around the ocean. Relatively few creatures and seeds survived such a long and arduous journey. Once established in the islands however, many developed into multiple unique species that flourished. So if the weather was stronger one day, or a wind would blow a different direction, that one little seed would not make it to Hawaii and everything would be so different today.
When thinking about how it all came to be I started looking at things differently. And now I had an idea. I wanted to transform some of the unique places on Maui, that feel special to me and remind me of that "birth" story, into patterns that can be applied on clothing.
When I finally had that overarching idea I started going through all my photographs and selecting places. Then I would bring a photograph and start tracing it in Illustrator following the shapes that nature created and using color scheme from the environment.
Another location that I selected for the set is Kaihalulu, or as it is better known the Red Sand Beach in Hana, on the Eastern part of Maui Island. The bay name comes from “kai halulu” which means "roaring sea" in the Hawaiian language. The reason why the sand is all red, is because an entire bay is reach in iron. But what is beautiful here is the color of the water,it would not get this hue of blue if the bottom of the beach would not be red.
After that I started applying patterns on Nike's sportswear to see how it might look like. To be honest I don't feel very comfortable to use Nike's assets, as what they do is already beautifully designed. Designers who work there spent so much time figuring out and designing every piece of clothing and that's why I respect Nike a lot. If someone would take my work, that I spent a lot of time designing, and applied their doodles on it; then post it in their portfolio as their own work, I would be annoyed. But unfortunately I don't have my clothing line yet and Nike has those great assets in extremely high resolution available for download that it was very tempting. Sorry for that.
At that time I was also reading a lot of books on book design and layouts. Couple I would recommend: "Grid Systems in Graphic Design" by Josef Muller-Brockmann, "Making and Breaking the Grid" by Timothy Samara and "Turning Pages" by Robert Klanten. One more book that inspired me a lot is "An Alphabetical Book About Nokia Pure" by Aapo Bovellan, a book on how Nokia's type was created.
Reading all those books made me want to make one myself and try things out with grids. Having all this content designed for Maui Collection I decided to put together a little book that turned into a case study about the project.
Here's a preview of all the pages. And you can check out the completed work here on my portfolio.
I would like to leave you with this thought at the end. Look around more to get inspired. Slow down and don't rush. Also, read as much as you can. Sometimes just seeing things might not be enough. If you read about something, it opens up a whole other level, it widens the spectrum and you will see much richer things in your mind.
And also this post on Medium about importance of personal projects is quite nice "Side Projects Are The New Main Course".
In the beginning of November I had a chance to travel to one of the most memorable places I have ever been — Jericoacoara, also know as Jeri. I would highly recommend anyone who's looking to travel to Brazil visiting this magical place.
I took nearly 3000 photos during 4 days that I stayed there. After I got back I selected 30 good ones that made sense together and published a photo story with more details and captions that you can check out on ReadyMag "Jericoacoara — Dunes of Ceará" The mag was running for the "Best Published Story of 2014" on the platform.
Anyway, here are some of the remaining photos that I haven't showed yet form this place. Just click on the thumbnail to enlarge and its possible to go through an entire gallery in zoom mode.
And some Photoshop/Lightroom editing before and after:
In the beginning of November I had a chance to travel to one of the most memorable places I have ever been — Jericoacoara, also know as Jeri. Lonely Planet wrote it is one of the most amazing places in Brazil and The Washington Post put it in Top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world.
I took a lot of photos there and instead of just posting them here, I decided to put a little story together on ReadyMag.
Check out "Jericoacoara — Dunes of Ceará"
Over the years I've been posting some of my work all over the place. I have my personal portfolio at repponen.com with selected projects, I have this blog running on SquareSpace, some stuff on Dribbble, I've been posting a lot of graphics on LiveJournal blog for many years and probably more platforms that I've been testing out.
I decided to create an archive and dump all the graphics that I showed publicly online in one place. No particular order or structure. Just images to scroll through.
And smaller thumbnail view - antonrepponen.tumblr.com/archive