Tag Archives: design library

365: AIGA Year in Design 28

Cover of "365: AIGA Year in Design 28" on cardboard packaging

A few days ago, I received the 365: AIGA Year in Design 28 in the mail. It said that they had shrunk it down from previous years, but I don’t have any other editions to compare it to, since I didn’t get anything like this last year, even though I was already an AIGA member then (maybe it’s because I had a student membership.) It’s hard to see the scale from the photo, but the page size is 5″ x 7″.

So this book had design work from two competitions: 365: AIGA Annual Design Competitions, and 50 Books/50 Covers, which I had talked about in a really early Flush post. The section dividers, eight of them for the 365: AIGA Annual Design Competitions, and only one for the 50 Books/50 Covers, were cleverly designed (by Thirst/3st, directed by Rick Valicenti). Each divider spans two spreads, but the left page of the first spread and the right page of the second spread actually make one composition. And the concept of the dividers basically had to do with “me,” where the identity design section divider says “It’s Me,” for example, and the information design section divider says, “Believe Me,” and so on.

"Recycle Me" spelled out with tiny holes in cardboard packaging

What’s also cool is the cardboard packaging was intentionally minimized to go with being green, and, they even spelled out “Recycle Me” (which I just realized right now relates to the section dividers) with teeny holes. I wish they had made that more obvious, though, because I almost missed it before I recycled it.

Visually, I’m not really a fan of the blue-grid sphere motif (see first photo). The sphere/globe reminded me of some cliché 80’s AT&T; commercial where it’s all mysterious with the black background and light type or lines. I don’t know what the idea behind the globe thing is.


Glance Review: Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design

Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design

A few days ago, I received this book from my wonderful friend Angela, to whom I referred to my wish list. Just looking at it up close, I am already excited to be reading it in the next few months. I enjoy that the essay titles are on the cover, much like How to be a graphic designer, without losing your soul by Adrian Shaughnessy.

I also like how they’re all in different typefaces, which makes them fun, and funny. What’s even more cool is that each essay is set in a different typeface as well. And what’s cooler than that is that the appendix, it lists what typefaces they are. That is awesome, because for those who know me, I like to recognize typefaces, and I probably can’t recognize 90% of them in this book, so it’s going to be fun learning about type while learning about design.

I just took another quick look, and saw the title “Graphic Designers, Flush Left?” I remember seeing that for the first time at Borders in Union Square in SF, and that’s when I started considering titling this blog “Flush Left,” which eventually reduced to just “Flush.” I took a quick read of that essay at the Borders, and it turned out to not be about designing flush left, but politics.

So it’s going to be fun reading and re-reading this. I’ll probably discuss a few essays here on Flush if I have something to say.


Tibor, Steven, Louise, and Debbie: New Additions to the Family

Book spines: Tibor, Stylepedia, How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

Thanks to a particular financial institution in the world which shall remain anonymous (which is also related to why I haven’t posted in a while: relatives visiting from afar resulting in a decrease of the usual access of my room and computer), I was able to add three books to my Design Library: Tibor Kalman, Preverse Optimist edited by Peter Hall and Michael Bierut; Stylepedia: A Guide to Graphic Design Mannerisms, Quirks, and Conceipts by Steven Heller and Louise Fili; and How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman.

Why I Got These Books

Tibor Kalman, Perverse Optimist

I had probably heard about this guy here and there but never really paid attention to it, until I saw this interview of Stefan Sagmeister where he mentioned that he had worked for Kalman and praised him of his work as if he was an influence. And if you haven’t figured it out, I am currently obeying to Sagmeister’s words on design and life, for he seemed like the ultimate “do-gooder” of design ever since I read the Nov 2006 CommArts article on him and his “touch people’s hearts” class. But yeah, I felt that Tibor was Sagmeister’s Sagmeister, so it’s like “doubled the good.”


I heard about this book on Sept. 5 from the Core77’s 2007 Hack-2-School Guide according to my GTD notes. It wasn’t really one of my first choices of books to get, but I couldn’t find any other first-choice books in the store (again, little respect). I figured that it would be a book to acquire once I get the philosophical/conceptual side of design down, when I have more experience in design where I could get more inspiration from this collection of styles. But I guess it’s still good to have around.

How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

My first choice in this book shopping spree was Debbie’s book, and I was fortunate enough to find it the second (more like fourth) time I looked in the Art section at Borders. (By the way, I feel that not even major bookstores respect design as much as they should.) I heard about it on design blogs about the book release party and on the BADCast when the guys in the Midwest interviewed Debbie about the book. And from how Debbie describes the interview process, it should be pretty interesting to read.

I read the introductory e-mail that was replied to Debbie about the idea for the book, and I feel a little guilty for wanting to buy a book where I am “‘fishing for a recipe for becoming a successful designer’” (Geissbuhler qtd. in Millman 1). But then again, I don’t think it hurts to learn from the masters.

I am glad to have added these three books to my collection free of charge (except for the anonymous financial institution), and I predict a great enrichment of design knowledge for my noggin over the next few months.


P.S. No, I did not steal money from the anonymous financial institution.

P.P.S. Yes, I MLA cited that quote. I am that nerdy.

Design Library

Getting Things DoneHow to be a graphic designer, without losing your soul

Over the past few years, while I was still at Davis, I’d acquired a number of design books both from design courses and for my own interest. Somewhere along my undergrad education, I figured that great designers probably have a library of design books that they’ve collected over the years, and that I should start one now. Because of my college budget, I had to be very selective as to which design book I should buy, since there are so many design books out there that are just pretty pictures and no substance. Even though I wasn’t really a fan of reading until recently, I would still like to get my money’s worth of useful information. While I do enjoy flipping through design annuals and anthologies from time to time, the meat of design derives from the philosophy; the concepts.

The following are books that I think are really important for designers like me (geeky, organize-crazy, and/or passionate about design and the world). These books are definitely worth my money and I enjoy having them in my “library.”

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done

Now, this may not be a design book, but for someone who likes to get organized in his/her work (and life), this book definitely allows him/her to spend more time being creative and less time managing messes. I started implementing this over the summer, and while I haven’t completely adopted it, I was able to collect all the random design/art ideas that pop into my head in the shower or in the car or anywhere else and save it for creative projects later on.

How to be a graphic designer, without losing your soul

How to be a graphic designer, without losing your soul

When I first saw this title, I thought it was a little cocky, then kind of funny. But when I thought about how I want to do good in the world with or without design, I looked into getting this book. I don’t quite remember, but I think this was the book, or one of the few books, that made me enjoy reading again. From then on, I would periodically have a book of which I would read ten to twenty pages before I go to bed. I jumped right into the middle of the book, with chapters on “How to find a job,” and “The creative process” before reading the introduction (partly because I was desperate for answers). This book basically helps you to be comfortable with yourself doing what you do in life. It doesn’t tell you what to do with your career; it just gives you notes on topics related to design from which you would make your own decisions about what to make of your career. And plus, it includes a foreword by Stefan Sagmeister! This may be a totally unfair bias on my part, but anything with Sagmeister must be good!

I also like how the cover was so simply and appropriately designed: set in Akzidenz-Grotesk, aligned top left, no fluff, just type on dull cyan. It even has the table of contents! That’s such a great use of the cover. Form follows function. I was/am a little confused about the slashes, though. The inside of the book was beautifully designed, too. Set in Helvetica, no large type, and the only colors used were black and the cyan on modest off-white paper. The seemingly awkward, but clearly intentionally gridded, copy layout made it more beautiful and interesting to read.

Stylin’ with CSS: A Designer’s Guide

Stylin’ with CSS

I got this book for my HTML/CSS class in Fall 2006. I was only somewhat familiar with CSS at the time, and this book really helped me understand the box model and column layouts. I always refer to this book at least once in site project, including Flush. I highly recommend it to those who are new to CSS. Read this through, test the codes for yourself, and you’ll have a great grasp of CSS.

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century


I have to be honest. I haven’t really seriously read anything from this book. I got it because I heard a lot about it and then found out it was really cheap, compared to the amount of information it contains. I do intend to read it in the future, and even though I’m not reading it now, I still think that it’s a good book to have around, so that when you’re ready to make a change in the world, it’ll be within reach.

I like how this book is categorized into levels by a gradient of colors. It’s very cohesive along with the website. I swear, once I get a job and take care of my financial situation, I will read this more and act. I recommend getting this book, and if you do, READ IT.

“Design Library” Sidebar

For your convenience, I have added a “Design Library” sidebar that features these four books, along with other design books in my collection. I’ve even included books that I rarely look at anymore, like the Adobe CS and Flash 8 books, since I’m on CS3 now. Still, they might be of use someday. And hopefully, that library will expand greatly over time.