Hello again! I’m back with the second edition of my Beautiful Books column – a monthly round-up of some treasured titles from my ever-growing collection of illustrated books.
The first two months of the year always feel like a bit of a slog to me – it’s cold and wet and not in the fun festive way I love at Christmas. This section of the year just seems to go on and on… but then March comes. Bringing with it promises of Spring and an air of positivity and excitement, the start of Spring is the perfect time to launch a design project and I hope my March book list inspires you to go on your own creative adventure this Spring!
How to Style Your Brand
A few weeks ago I launched my very own creative venture – a new design blog by the name of Headless Greg – and whilst designing the new site, I found Fiona Humberstone’s How to Style Your Brand to be an invaluable resource. When planning any new design project with lots of elements to think about it can be easy to get mentally overwhelmed but worry not as Fiona’s best-selling book guides you in a clear and concise manner, from the basics of brand styling to pulling all your finished elements together. Whether you are starting a new blog like me, are about to turn your hobby in to a small business or want to give your fully-grown business a style refresh, How To Style Your Brand will provide you with a fresh and creative perspective to achieve your vision and make it stand out with the best.
The Shopkeeper’s Home
Design blogger Caroline Rowland’s debut interior book, The Shopkeeper’s Home, takes the reader on a tour of both the homes and stores of the world’s best independent retailers. From the busy but carefully considered masculine aesthetic of Los Angeles based vintage shop Inheritance to the minimal and increasingly on-trend Scandinavian style of Room to Dream in Munich, the huge variety of stores displayed within the book are each uniquely styled with an abundance of design ideas and details to inspire your next home (or shop) decor refresh.
Looking at the shops and homes of independent retailers and seeing how and if they relate to one another is an inspired idea! And after seeing the stunning interiors displayed inside The Shopkeeper’s Home you will never look at your local craft shop or vintage store in the same way again. Once you have caught Caroline’s infectious passion for interiors, each store transforms into an art gallery, and shopping is no longer just retail therapy, it’s research!
Mean Girls Club
The latest in Nobrow Press’ 17×23 series, Mean Girls Club by Ryan Heshka tells the story of a group of ferocious female rebels who feed on pure fear and are hell bent on destroying anyone who gets in their way and even those who don’t. The 17×23 series was established to champion new and exciting comic art talent and it is clear why they chose Ryan Heshka as their latest collaborator. Ryan’s style is brilliantly bold both visually and in terms of storytelling. Injecting a monochrome hand-drawn style with bursts of hot pink, his aesthetic brings together vintage glamour with a punchy sense of humour and modern, unorthodox characterisation.
Whereas the first two titles on my March list are books to live your life by, this short comic book is less of one to model your life on as the outrageous characters aren’t exactly role model material. That said, there is something to be admired about the members of the Means Girls Club, as whilst they may have highly questionable morals and an outrageous violent streak, we could all learn something from their take-no-prisoners attitude. After all, there is no denying that they get the job done.
My final pick for this month is Seasons – a collection of images depicting different scenes throughout the year curated into an extremely beautiful book. Aimed at helping children learn about the seasons of the year, the books striking simplicity is its biggest strength in terms of both information digestion and visual appeal. Blexbolex – the French comic artist and designer behind Seasons and many other gorgeous titles – uses a limited colour palette, layering rough textures atop sleek shapes to create a contemporary aesthetic with a tactile charm.
As visually inspiring for adults as it is helpful for kids, the collection of images mixes together all of the seasons and includes everything from luscious leaves and delectable fruit to vibrant carnivals and calming woodland scenes. I can think of no better book too inspire and excite you about what is still to come in 2016.
Good luck with whatever creative adventure Spring takes you on!