5 Books that Change Design Vision

5 Well-Written Books that can Change Your Design Vision

Creatives have no difficulty crafting expressive, unique and stunning design ideas. For others of us, however, inspiration does not come so easily. We rely on the creatives to give us our inspiration, whether we are designing a logo, a garden, a room, an office, or an entire home. We pour through design books, take notes, and snap pictures with our phones. Then we head out to try to find ways to re-create the design we have just fallen in love with.

So do the design ideas of creatives just come from thin air? Well, somewhat yes, they do. But they also come from the manipulation of what exists in new ways – combining Victorian floral with geometric figures or combining color combinations that would seem bizarre until they are blended into wonderful design. And so we depend upon designers to inspire us, and we look for wonderful work that we can imitate in some way. Much of this we can find in books, and here are 5 that may inspire you to manipulate in new ways.

Interaction of Color: 50th Anniversary Edition Paperback – Deluxe Edition by Josef Albers

This is really a book of art education – Albers’s explanation of very complex color theory. Originally published in 1971, and featuring ten color studies that challenged everyone to see color combinations differently, there is an upgrade that offers even more. This new edition expands that original ten to sixty color studies, still focusing on relativity, temperature and intensity, along with vanishing and vibrating boundaries, providing a detailed review of color theory too. If anyone is interested in studying color manipulation and combinations, this book will certainly take them outside the box of traditional concepts of color.

Amazon: Interaction of Color: 50th Anniversary Edition Paperback – Deluxe Edition by Josef Albers

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The Art of Living by Barbel Miebach

Have you wondered how famous artists and designers decorate their own homes? Most see their homes as canvases or experimental testing grounds for their creativity and their impulses to manipulate color, textures, and designs. Well, you do not need to wonder any more. Photographer Miebach has gone into the homes of 25 worldwide artists and designers and has consolidated the images of their homes in this great book. Some of the artists/designers whose homes are featured Catherine Malandrino, Andres Serrano, Vivienne Tam, Ellsworth Kelly, and Andrea Zittel.

In this book, you will see floor to ceiling tile in odd color combinations that really work, to Victorian cathedrals, to metal, to strange furniture and a Japanese farmhouse loft. Other homes feature black concrete, painted woods, and zinc. In all, 200 pages reveal the personalities of these homeowners, and their unending imaginations. While you may find some of their designs and combinations a bit “much” for you, they will spark some great creative ideas that you can transfer for your own use.

Amazon: The Art of Living by Barbel Miebach

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Creative Walls Hardcover by Geraldine James

The walls of your home are your canvas, and they are important. Because they are at eye level, your walls make huge statements about your personality and create an atmosphere in your home that speaks to who you are.

Each of your walls, no matter what the size, is ripe for you chance to be creative. Getting design ideas, however, may escape you. And walls are not just for photographs and paintings as they were in your parents’ and grandparents’ homes. Well décor has experienced a revolution in the past decade – 3-D pieces, metals – everything goes now – whether it’s a tiny corner in a nook or a teenager’s room. Even wallpaper has transformed, with large designs for kids, teens and adults to color in themselves.

James encourages her readers to look for unusual spaces, followed by a search for unusual items to fill those spaces. Her great examples of how to arrange completely disparate items into a work of art are amazing. Different, even clashing colors, textures, and interesting themes are her strength, and you will get some really inspired wall design ideas.

Amazon:Creative Walls Hardcover by Geraldine James

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Living Modern by Richard Powers and Phyllis Richardson

If you fancy modern, contemporary design, then this is you new design “bible.” Featuring color texture, clean lines, enhanced by objects and open space, this book has been crafted to showcase modern design at its pinnacle.

Powers, with photographer Richardson, traveled all over the world to find homes that reflect modern living expression. There are hundreds of photographs that showcase elegant, minimalist design, with striking color and texture combinations. You will easily be able to take these design ideas and, even without the budget that these homeowners obviously have, create a pretty reasonable facsimile.

Amazon: Living Modern by Richard Powers and Phyllis Richardson

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Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers and Debi Treloar

If you are a garage sale/flea market addict, this book is definitely for you. This author, with her photographer, has have provided a huge number of fresh ideas for using treasures you find at second-hand stores, flea markets, and garage sales.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part, titled “Flea Market Finds,” focuses primarily on household items – furniture, lighting, china – and explains how to assess them for quality and potential. Readers are encouraged to experiment with combinations of odd items, colors and textures that would not normally “go” together.

The second part of the book focuses on putting it all together, with great ideas of how to incorporate found treasures to create stunning rooms and work places. The photographs are just great, and you will be inspired to look far more closely when you go to your next garage sale.

Amazon: Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers and Debi Treloar

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