Bird by Bird coverBird by Bird
by Anne Lamott

One of my all-time favorite books. Lamott manages to dissect writing and process in such an inspiring way that it becomes something you simply must do as a thinking person. If you are tasked with putting words to paper at any point in life, I can’t recommend any book more highly. Especially love the notion of “Shitty First Drafts”, something I’ve always done with my design work but never really practiced while writing before.

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The Art of Looking Sideways coverThe Art of Looking Sideways
by Alan Fletcher

A seriously massive work from the late Alan Fletcher compiling tons of quotes, work, and nuggets of wisdom from designers, artists, writers, and more, all categorized by topic. One of the most diverse and densely packed sources of inspiration you can have on your shelf.

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Art Direction Explained, At Last! coverArt Direction Explained, At Last!
by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne

Defining “art direction” is a hard enough nut to crack on its own, but teaching it to someone can be a daunting task. It combines so many unknowns, so many gut feelings, and so much intuition, that it’s best learned from seasoned practitioners. Steve Heller and Veronique Vienne, two battle-hardened art directors in their own right, define and discuss just what art direction is and how to capture the best thoughts in your designs. This book compiles their take on the topic, and polls many of the world’s best art directors through case studies and interviews.

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Eats, Shoots & Leaves coverEats, Shoots & Leaves
by Lynne Truss

Truss has got funny and insightful in spades as she takes us on a whirlwind journey through proper punctuation, which for us type nerds also means proper typography. You won’t find a more approachable manual for style and usage.

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Comics and Sequential Art coverComics and Sequential Art
by Will Eisner

While the focus of Eisner’s book is on visual storytelling in comic books, the lessons are equally useful for all students of visual media. Topics covered include the anatomy of a story, how visuals can impact and drive a story forward, and using visual media as a means of artistic expression.

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Spunk & Bite coverSpunk & Bite
by Arthur Plotnik

Plotnik picks up where Strunk & White left off, and digs into the details of modern trends and usage in writing. For someone like me who comes from a background of wearing smocks, this book cuts into some of the more elusive elements of writing: tone, style, lists, descriptions, openings and closings, and more—all demonstrated with real examples and commentary.

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On the Subject of Me

Jason Santa Maria is a graphic designer living and working in sunny Brooklyn, NY. More »

Recent Projects

  • They Might Be Giants
  • Typekit
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A Book Apart

Responsive Web Design, by Ethan Marcotte. From A Book Apart.
“Insightful, witty and practical, Responsive Web Design points us in the direction of a new web.”
—Mark Boulton
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Type & Typography coverType & Typography
by Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam
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Oddities & Diversions

Design Is History

Design Is History, created as a teaching tool for young designers just beginning to explore graphic design and as a reference tool for all designers. Chock full of great info.

Education at FontShop

Education at FontShop, a great resource for tips, tricks, and type knowledge.

A List Apart: Issue 311

A List Apart: Issue 311, Start web design projects the right way. Learn when and how to say no. Articles by Whitney Hess and Kevin M. Hoffman.

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