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Recent Reads April, 2017


You should spare some time for these reads. They're great for designers and non-designers. Creative Confidence is particularly good for those who don't believe they're designers. It also reaffirmed my beliefs about creativity while providing some new techniques.

The second read on my least is nerdier. If you design information systems or data graphics or just ingest a lot of the like I believe you'll find it to be a worth while read. 

The reads

Book cover for "Creative Confidence"

Book cover for "Creative Confidence"

Creative Confidence
By: Tom & David Kelly

Tom & David Kelly, of Ideo, put together a compelling case for your creativity. They start humbly with the transformation of individuals who hadn't traditionally considered themselves creative thinkers. Then it's onto the practical steps of becoming one yourself.

Each chapter reads like a case study sprinkled with tools you can use on your current project. And as the book progresses so should you and the toolkit expands. What's important are the actions you take. Of all the ideas you have what could you accomplish in a month, a week—today? 

Design thinking and human-centered-design are all hot buzz words. There's a lot of swirl in the industry around these terms as well. What does a human centered design approach really mean? Creative Confidence should clarify that swirl for you. As those terms represent a methodology for your work.

When you here design you shouldn't immediately jump to graphic, user-experience, interior, or painting as your base for what a designer is. Design is a process. An intentional act for creating value in a product, experience, packaging, site design, furniture, and the list rolls on.

Tom and David provide solid confidence-boosting tools for seeking out insights IRL. The last few pages of the text outline some creativity challenges for individuals and teams to get moving along with the other resources throughout the book.

More here:

Book cover for The "Visual Display of Quantitative Information"

Book cover for The "Visual Display of Quantitative Information"

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Second Edition
By Edward R. Tufte

Edward Tufte has been the go-to name in the graphical design of data sets. In a world where you could just throw up a bar chart or any varying design of a pie chart, Edward gives us pause with the history and principles of graphical data sets. Beauty for beauty's sake does not do.

Chapter 1, Edward lays out these principles for graphical excellence.

Short list of my favorite principles

  • encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data
  • induce the view to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production, or something else
  • avoid distorting what the data have to say
  • present many numbers in a small space
  • make large data sets coherent

The Visual Display of Quantitive Information is a lesson in statistical design excellence as well as an inspirational resource for creating your own. Learn more about data graphics theory, and we all know you're probably faking it if you haven't read someone like Tufte.

Tufte also knows adhering closely to any one set of principles he leaves us to what is right … 

"…the task of the designer is to give visual access to the subtle and the difficult—that is, the revelation of the complex." 

Be true and noble to your data designers.

This recommendation came from a course on information design by Nicholas Felton. If you haven't seen his work go do it now

Pick up this read from your local library — as I did.

What's next?

I'd like to know what you've been reading a good book on design, business, systems, or anything of that ilk leave a recommendation in the comments below. I'll give it a read and share my thoughts.