Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category

OMG, Check Out This Book Trailer

October 6, 2014


Here’s a video sneak peak of my latest book, OMG! I Forgot the Card (co-authored with designer extraordinaire Claudean Wheeler). As you can see, you’ll find pull out, easy to mail greeting cards for any occasion.

Greetings, fellow procrastinator

February 25, 2014

A friend and I are working on a new book. It’s called OMG! I Forgot the Card. It’s a book of last minute greeting cards for pretty much any occasion. The cards will be easy to pull out and are scored so that you can simply fold them up, seal them (they are self-mailers) and pop them in the mail. Coming August 2014 from HOW Books.

Oh yeah… and they’re supposed to be funny. Never lose your sense of humor standing in the card isle again.

Follow our progress on Facebook 



Inspiring Stories from Top Designers and Creatives

January 31, 2014

Calling all fans of design and modern art: there’s a new book that should go on your read list. I just wrapped up editing this new book compiled by San Francisco based designer Brian Singer. It’s packed with thoughtful and often crazy and over the top stories from some of the best creatives working today.

graphiccontentcvrCheck it out. It’s called Graphic Content: True Stories from Top Creatives. Basically it’s a collection of real world stories from some of today’s most successful designers and creatives.

It includes essays from the likes of Stefan Sagmeister, James Victore, Debbie Millman, Aaron Draplin, Art Chantry and many others. The stories in this book range from inspiring and insightful to just plain funny – all are quite entertaining. It’s a great read, especially for anyone who is a fan of great design or of these celebrated artists.



Cool New Book of Creative Exercises

September 5, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of working with designer/author Jim Krause (author of such bestsellers as Color Index). I served as editor for his new book D30: Exercises for Designers. It’s a super cool project that features 30 days of creative exercises for anybody really. While the book targets the graphic design category, I have to say I think anyone creative would love doing some of these exercises. There are writing exercises, art projects, video editing exercises. All kinds of cool stuff.

Jim Krause with his new book, D30.

Jim Krause with his new book, D30.

Great for designers, but also great for anyone who is simply itching to “make stuff.”

Also, here’s a great Q&A  with Krause from the Creative Group.

How to Build Your Personal Brand

July 23, 2013

Creatives come in all manner of skill sets. Whether you’re a designer, artist, writer, or whatever, you need to know how to get the word out about what you do in order to make a living doing it.

v9130The latest book I worked on helps you do just that. Robin Landa’s Build Your Own Brand is filled with strategies, exercises and prompts for marketing yourself as a creative professional.  The advice in the book is down to earth and you’ll also find lots of interviews, examples and case studies from successful designers and creatives. There’s plenty of creative exercises to get you brainstorming as well.

Whether you’re looking for a new job, trying to start a business, or just get the word out as a freelancer, I’d recommend this book as a good tool to use to help create your personal brand message.


Career Advice for Digital Creatives

May 10, 2013

w5970_500px_72dpiThe latest book I had the pleasure of editing will soon be available: The Digital Creative’s Survival Guide by Paul Wyatt. The book offers insight into working on a wide range of digital design work including web, app, multimedia and broadcast design.

Filled with interviews and case studies, this is a book that you should check out if you’re working in this ever changing field.

A Book for Fans of Fonts and Type

August 13, 2012

Cool book alert: The new book Mastering Type by Denise Bosler is should be of interest to anyone who is interested in communication. It covers the history of typography, type theory, the anatomy of fonts, and much more. The book is getting some great reviews.

The industrial design blog Embody 3D says:

“One of the great assets of Mastering Type is that it is not a learn how to type book, it is a learn how to communicate book by revealing the fundamentals of type and then showing how you can use type utilising relevant industry examples.”

Read the complete review here

And had this to say,

“[Bosler] provides a multitude of type examples and interviews from the design industry throughout the book; there is no question that the typographic design samples in the book are truly the best of the best.”

Read the full review

HOW Conference Wrap

June 28, 2012

Sam Harrison preps for his session.

Well, my intention of posting a few blog entries from this year’s HOW Conference wasn’t fully realized. There was so much going on that I didn’t really have the time. But I had a great time at the conference and wanted to touch on a few of the highlights from the show.

I really enjoyed the opening keynote with Sam Harrison, author of IdeaSelling. Harrison stepped onstage and immediately struck me as a down to earth yet super smart guy who was sincere in his message. And his message was to take charge of your creative choices. By this he meant that the things you decide to do shape your future and it’s important to take risks, choose to strive to forward your own creativity, and never find yourself settling for good enough. Harrison advised be the best “you” that you can be. “We need you,” he said, “You’re the only one of you we have.” And that’s something that you can take to heart whether your a designer, an illustrator, an artist, a writer, or any sort of creative. (You can download a webcast with Harrison on selling ideas here).

I also really enjoyed a presentation called “Under the Covers” by rock star book cover designer Chip Kidd. Kidd’s session was laugh out loud funny as he went through the process and struggles that he went through as he created some of his most recent book covers for such heavy hitting authors as Haruki Murakami, Augusten Burroughs, and Oliver Sacks. As a book industry professional I really related to his funny accounts of the sort of back and forth that happens with every book cover between designers, authors, editors, and marketing execs. The whole thing can be quite frustrating, even for super star designers like Kidd.

Kidd’s session later lapsed into a fun discussion of his latest pet project: a Bat Man graphic novel he penned titled Death by Design. The whole thing is kind of an art deco, 1930s Fountainhead-esque Bat Man romp all centered around architecture and big buildings going “BOOM.” Really cool stuff. I’m a comic book fanboy and as Kidd showcased some of the panels from the book, going so far as to read bits of dialogue in the Joker’s voice, I was at the height of a conference nerd out.  Great stuff.

Another session I enjoyed was Stefan Mumaw’s “Chasing the Monster Idea” (Mumaw is a very inspiring speaker whose creativity exercise books include Caffeine for the Creative Mind and Caffeine for the Creative Team). Mumaw said a lot of great things during his talk, but perhaps one of the things that really resonated with me was this: monster ideas tell a story. Mumaw believes that storytelling is something that speaks to everyone and that if you really want to capture someone’s imagination, then you should tell a story. It doesn’t matter if it’s an animated spot or simply a photograph. The best work tells some sort of story (or hints at one). As a writer, reader, and storyteller at heart, I couldn’t agree more. (A great collection from Stefan Mumaw is available here).

HOW Conference Bound

June 19, 2012

I’m getting ready to go to HOW Design Live, “the biggest gathering of designers, freelancers, creative team managers, and other creative professionals in the country.” I’m excited about this trip on many levels. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m keen on learning some more about the design industry, not just because I’m now editing design books, but also because I think the integration of writing and design is so important. As a writer, I find it interesting to talk with designers and see the ways they express their ideas and ways that images, or even font choice can affect the tone of a written piece.

I’ve got a fair amount of work to do at the show, but I’m also looking forward to getting to sit in on a few sessions as well. Here are a few of the sessions I’m planning to attend:

  • a session on brainstorming with David Sherwin, author of the forthcoming Success by Design (due November 2012)
  • “Chasing the Monster Idea” with Stefan Mumaw, author of Caffeine for the Creative Mind and Caffeine for the Creative Team
  • “Creative Story Telling for Designers and Unicorns” with Walt Disney innovation director Christopher Chapman
  • “How to Survive Your Soul Crushing Day Job” with Operation Nice blogger Melissa Morris Ivone

Full report when I return.

Getting up to speed

May 31, 2012

Well it’s been a few weeks on the new job here at HOW now, so I’m starting to get my bearings a little bit. I thought it might be a good time to talk about projects I’m working on, as well as cool stuff I’ve seen so far:

The Logo Brainstorm Book by Jim Krause

Jim Krause is a name designers likely know. He’s the author of such books as Color Index, Layout Index and Type Idea Index. His newest book is all about creating logos and runs through a lot of exercises and variations that designers can employ. I didn’t edit the book (my good friends Lauren Mosko Bailey and Amy Owen had that pleasure), but I did get up close and personal with the book as it was being converted to an epub file. I think it looks great and has lots of great ideas for logo designers.

Archetypes in Branding by Joshua Chen & Margaret Hartwell (August, 2011)

This is a cool book that takes Jungian style archetypes and applies them to branding products, companies, individuals, etc. It’s an interesting study of human characteristics that brands can evoke. Strangely, one of the last projects I worked on for Writer’s Digest Books was The Writer’s Guide to Character Development by Victoria Schmidt (a book also centered on archetypes). It’s interesting to consider how much heroic archetypes (such as the Adventurer, the Explorer, the Rebel, and so forth) work their way into our perception of things. The people we see on television, the brands we tend to gravitate toward – all of these things speak to us because of traits that we perceive, and often it ties back into a set of ideals and archetypes do a good job of categorizing those ideals in such a way that we can analyze them. That’s what makes them such a useful tool for designers, writers, creatives – anyone who is looking to communicate in some way.

Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton

And speaking of communicating, here’s another new HOW book that caught my eye. This one is all about creating a blog and covers everything from initial set up to layout, typography, creating content, and promotion. It’s a good place to start if you’re thinking of starting a blog (or if you need help getting your  blog off the ground).