Every book I purchase I try to make sure it offers something different to any other book I have bought previously. This has produced a quite large and diversely themed collection I am proud of. I wanted Tippets #1 to showcase some of these books, so I have collated 5 of these books around the loose theme - books that change your mindset on design. Each one of these books got my brain thinking about things differently. They don't alter which font you should choose or where to place an image, nothing like that. Mostly, they are not about design, but about human characteristics that can be applied in a designer's life. They effect your mindset on how to conduct yourself as a person, to colleagues, to clients and how your work should engage and react their audience/user.
5 Books That Will Change Your Mindset On Design
'Emotional Design explains why we like certain objects and not others, based on our emotional connection with the object. Norman explains why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses to why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple introduced the colorful iMac. In an essence Norman explains that attractive objects really do work much better. Every example is enthralling as the previous one - it really makes you think. He discusses objects that are personal to him, such as why he owns 2 lemon squeezers. He shows off the lemon squeezer (on the front cover) to his friends, but cannot use it because the acid from the lemon will damage the lemon squeezer's metallic finish - so he had to buy another lemon squeezer he could use.
Norman focuses these examples on the three levels of brain functioning - visceral, behavioral, and reflective. The visceral response is our initial reaction to things, such as most people's reaction to an attractive looking new car. The behavioral aspect of response is the brain’s response to the pleasure and effectiveness of use of a product e.g. if a car is easy to drive, it scores high in the behavioral design department. Finally the reflective aspect of our emotions is associated with long-term response — memories provoked by a certain object (such as photographs).
'Emotional Design' will appeal not only to designers, but to anyone who loves to think about their stuff. The book isn't quite as strong at the end as the chapters tend to focus on robots and how they will only work once they have real human emotions, but it is still an interesting and thought provoking read. This book has changed my mindset to the many objects discussed and more. Take a look at one of Norman's other books 'The Design of Everyday Things' - it was the predecessor to 'Emotional Design' and tackles some similar ideas.
I saw this book in Magma during my final few weeks of my degree, I couldn't have come across it at a better time. This book gave me a real insight into a profession I wanted to get into but had yet to experience on a full time professional basis. In some of the chapters it discusses how to get a job, the studio set up, job interviews and what should and should not be in a portfolio - perfect for someone about to finish their degree. That is just the start though.
This book covers everything about design except the designing part - so, how to find new clients, how to manage your finances and how to conduct yourself in the office are all mentioned. This book stands out from the crowd because it is well put together and easily digestible to read.
Since reading this book I have come to realise Adrian Shaughnessy is a big name in this industry. He is often at important talks and conferences and I see his opinion splattered across many design blogs and set ups. His thoughts and opinions in this book are worth looking at, especially for a new designer starting out in the industry.
If you ever have a few hours to kill, reading this book from start to finish wouldn't be such a bad idea. Taking the synopsis straight from Amazon - this is 'a handbook of how to succeed in the world - a pocket "bible" for the talented and timid to help make the unthinkable and the impossible possible.' Writer Paul Arden has several of these part illustrated mini books out, this one is probably the best so far. They are cheap too so no excuse for getting hold of this one for yourself or for a present for someone.
Author Paul Arden was a former executive creative director for Saatchi & Saatchi in the late 80s so you know his opinion on advertising has weight. This is a great little collection of ideas, suggestions and practical advice from a man responsible for many successful British advertising campaigns over the last 25 years. Arden draws on personal experiences to highlight matter that can improve yourself and in turn improve the world around you. It is a fun and inspiring short read with a core idea you want to apply to your life straight away.
For my degree dissertation, I discussed how advertising uses humour to sell, and so; I read many books on how humour affected the mind. There were many theory books and not enough time to read them all, so I needed a quick understanding of all matters - this is why I read this beginners guide to Sigmund Freud.
'Introducing Freud' explains how his psychoanalytic terms such as Id, Ego, libido, neurosis and Oedipus Complex have become a part of our everyday vocabulary. This book tells the story of Freud's life and ideas from his upbringing in 19th-century Vienna, his early medical career and his encounter with cocaine, to the gradual evolution of his theories on the unconscious, dreams and sexuality.
I found 'Introducing Freud' to be an easy read, whilst still providing a good basic understanding of the man's basic theories. Each chapter uses illustrations to bring the subject to life and the copy by Richard Appignanesi was spot on. This style was broken up by overviews and bulleted points detailing and clarifying the ideas, which always fitted naturally together. This book gives you a quick understanding to our subliminal thinking towards everyday life, techniques and reasoning we can use in our design today.
I was introduced to this book by a colleague at a former agency some years ago and had become so fascinated by it I decided to buy it myself. I was really interested in how a book that was still in publication for the last 80 years could still relate to matters today. I'll be honest, this was one of those books that had sat gathering dust on my shelf for several years until I read it recently. I wish it hadn't taken so long as it was a great read.
This is part psychology, part historical, part self help and part business practice all in one. Many of the examples have been updated since the first publication, but apart from that the content is the same. The Times describes it as 'the most successful self-help book of all time' and it's hard to argue. Carnegie references countless examples of human behaviour from the great inventors and politicians he was friends with at the time of writing to show how their human behaviour made them successful.
It's hard to decide whether this book is best suited for someone with an open mind about improving their character or for someone who needs to radically look at themselves, I think both. All of the ideas and concepts really can work in a modern office environment. My one continuing thought throughout reading this book was that if everyone I knew had read this book and took on just 10% of it's advice how much better we would all be as people. Instead I just feel grateful to be one of the few people I know to have read this book.