As much as I love a Pinterest browse, it's so important you get your inspiration from multiple sources and aren't just regurgitating what's already out there in your field. Books are a constant source of inspiration for me when I'm designing stationery and lifestyle goods, I love any excuse to just get my head down creatively without being tied to a screen. I'm constantly building my collection (and I've got a wish list big enough to fill a house) but here are the five design books I find myself reaching for most often to keep myself inspired.
This chunky book is filled to the brim with all sorts of music industry collateral. You'll find a collection of posters, album covers, merch and more from 1977-1990 encompassing a wide range of graphic styles. You might even spot some of your favourite bands!
F*ck, that is one hell of a title! This recent addition to my collection is brilliant, a great behind the scenes look into how graphic props are designed for movies and shows - most of which you'd never even think about when you're watching on a screen. Not only has it given me such a massive appreciation for those details but I love seeing where Annie gets her inspiration from and the processes and stories behind each piece.
My goal in life is to have a shelf full of the entire collection of Kew pocketbooks, but alas, for now the one will have to do. This hardcover beauties are filled with breathtaking paintings of various fruit, from your run-of-the-mill apple to the amazingly named lemon meringue pie fruit. Also filled with some interesting fruit facts - did you know rhubarb is technically a vegetable?
Although this one isn't technically a design book it is visually STUNNING and something I'm constantly reaching for to find colour inspo. It's filled with beautiful graphs, quotes and decorative elements that, much like the book, make you full of joy! When I got stuck designing my most recent range of washi tapes I would always reach for this as there's something about the way it's been designed that is a sure-fire way to kickstart my brain.
I bought this book years ago when I was doing my A-levels. I studied fine art and did many many (many!) oil paintings and focused a lot on mythology and plants within portraiture. So I bought this book to find gorgeous flowers to paint and figure out what their history is, and I still use it for the same things today! Except replace oil paint with my laptop and iPad. I think a book like this is an absolute essential if you're someone who likes including florals in your work, no matter the medium.
A lot of my design inspiration seems to have come from vintage tiles recently (most of my washi tape is just me designing my dream tiles and making a pattern out of it lol) so the natural choice was to pick up this glorious V & A book of tiles through the decades. It's become my go-to when I'm feeling a bit stumped and having the tiles grouped by decade makes it so much easier to find the references you need.
I've had my eye on this baby for ages so was very pleased to receive it as a birthday gift last month. The cover alone is glorious, and again it's sorted by decade! Lots of funky graphics to be found from all areas of design - there's some postcards in the 1940s section that are a personal favourite.
So there you have it, my 7 favourite design books that keep me inspired offline. While writing this I've spotted at least 5 more books I'd like to add to the collection so there's most likely a part 2 (and 3 and 4 and 5...) in the future. Oh, and PLEASE drop me an email or a DM if you have any recs too - I'm always up for some design chat!