Looking for ways to achieve your 2013 resolutions? Need a creative push?
Find inspiration in one of the most traditional ways -- unplug for a bit, escape the glow of the screen, and massage your brain with a good, old-fashioned book, chock-full of knowledge, anecdotes, ideas and suggestions. Here are the most popular books on creativity that have been published in recent months that could have you moving in the right direction today.
The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero
Designers and design fans will immediately recognize Frank Chimero's name from his presentations and videos on the design conference circuit. Over the years, he's honed his skills addressing this topic, and in 2012 he turned all of those disparate ideas into one complete published work. The concise 125-page book was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and has followed up with online and social buzz that's helped its popularity. Readers have marveled at how Chimero addresses not just the "Hows," but also the "Whys" of design. "After reading the book, I want you to look at what you do in a whole new light. Design is more than working for clients," Chimero says on the book's website.
Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova
Maria Konnikova offers one of the year's most-hyped books that capitalizes on the modern affinity for the famed, fictional British detective. Rather than focus on Holmes' detective and deduction skills, Konnikova presents reasoning methods that the average person can replicate to become a more effective thinker. "Most of us have a tendency to make instant, crass judgments like that fool Watson," said a Guardian book reviewer. But with a little investigation of our own into the psychology and methods that made Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's protagonist so masterful, we can all uncover something new. Elementary, dear readers.
Logo Life: Life Histories of 100 Famous Logos by Ron van der Vlugt
You might recognize these logos, but did you ever consider where they came from? Ron van der Vlugt looks into the development and evolution of famous symbols for brands like Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola. Unlock the mysteries behind these legendary logos and learn about the history of how designers matched the identities of some of the world's most famous companies with emotions they hoped to project through their symbols. That's not all, though: Van der Vlugt includes a glimpse into how early versions of these logos looked so you can get an impression of how history could have gone differently.
The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (Voices That Matter) by Alberto Cairo
For those who are confounded by the flood of information and raw data about our world that seem to bombard us these days, Alberto Cairo comes to the rescue with a new approach to make sense of it all. By turning this information into more digestible stories, you'll discover how to tackle the problem of a big data set. Charts and diagrams are clearly here to stay -- it's time to get comfortable with how to view them and get the most out of them. On top of that, designers and journalists who specialize in chart creation outline how to most creatively and effectively communicate information. The book also comes with a DVD containing video lessons that expand on core concepts so you can put the lessons to work right away.
Building Stories by Chris Ware
Sometimes you just have to build something differently, and that's what Chris Ware did here. His book is more aptly describable as an "oversized box containing 14 related but free-standing comics, in a variety of shapes and styles," as a Los Angeles Times reviewer put it. It's a choose-your-own-adventure style book that allows the reader to "build" the story as he or she goes. It took Ware over a decade to create this ambitious graphic novel, which is bound to be a discussion piece on anyone's coffee table. The stories buried inside the book are full of despair and disappointment, but it's the external innovation that speaks loudest. Like most great works of art, it's something you have to see for yourself.
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