The Serif Fairy

book review, typography, fairy tale 

Author: Rene Siegfried

This is a fairy tale for typographer and graphic designer.

As we search for the right font for each project, we see the traits from each font. Rene simply use what she saw in fonts to tell us a story.

Each font used in the book are portrayed with it’s special personality and the feeling it invokes in us. If you work with fonts day in and day out, you will not think this story is too far from the reality.

I also enjoy looking at each object she put together. The layout is simple and clean for us to experience this fairy world without the noise. Just like the fairies, when you see the book, don’t blink! Pick it up!

The Ten Commandments of Typography/Type Heresy

book review, typography, graphic design 

Author: Paul Feltonin association with Amazon

Want to see Typography in the spiritual realm? You will witness the heaven and hell of Typography in this book.

As all design students learned the rules from their instructors, they often think “What do you know, you are old and out of creative juice.” But, have you considered, if there weren’t any rules, what would be the point for breaking it?

I do believe though to break to rules, you have to get the rules. In these pages, you will see how it is done by the rules then see the effects of designing against the rules.

The book is design with elegance and written with humor. Both sides of the book look like design heaven to me, but you can make your own judgment.

Chill & Spill: Not your usual deal

creativities, charity, inspirational gift 

Age is irrelevant. Help the people around you find their inspirations. Give them “Chill & Spill” and never be “Over the Hill!”

On Amazon

A year ago, I went to help Art with Heart packed up items for their online store. I suddenly realized “Chill & Spill” would be the perfect year-end present for my retired friends at Telos‘s creative writing class.

I know “Chill & Spill” is a journal designed for teens to help them deal with emotional issues. I also see the same issue in older people. They also have grief, depression, and especially loss of love ones.

Most importantly, I want to remind them “creativities” is not reserved for young people only. They have experienced so much. Their creativities are always fused with wisdom and fullness.

I gave them out on the last day of class. The responses I got were amazing. A few had decided to share the journals with their grandchildren. Some loved the blank pages they can write and sketch anyway they want. Many found the colors and activities sparks many stories. However, I am the one who gain the most, from their joy and from what little I did for Art with Heart.

Publish and Prosper: Blogging for your Business

small business advice, business blogging, book review 

Author: DL Byron, Steve Brobackin association with Amazon

I first saw DL Byron at an AIGA Seattle’s event about information technology. Then I saw him again at a Business Blogging Conference. From what he and other speakers said about blogging, I decided to convert my site into a blog.

Although it took a while to design and setup, I really think it’s worth the effort. My main reason for converting was for easy update. It used to take lots of time and energy to include my latest projects. Now I just upload photos, write something, click on a few buttons, it’s done!

For a while I was happy just using this blog as a portfolio. Lately, I feel I should do more on my blog. I want to provide information that matters to other designers, business owners, and people who share my interests.

I started thinking:

  • How do I let people know about my blog?
  • What I should have known before I start?
  • How to build a good blog?
  • How be a good blogger?
  • How should I manage the comments?
  • How do I check for the blog performance?
  • What are the “must do” items in a prosperous blog?

I found the answers in Publish and Prosper. Although there are many smart tips about running a business blog, this book is good for both personal and business bloggers.

If you are a business wanting to blog, for a limited time, you might even get this book for FREE.

Read. Post. Comment. Blog and prosper!

What Clients Love:
A Field Guide to Growing Your Business

book review, marketing, small business tool 

Author: Harry Beckwith in association with Amazon

It is easy to read. Each concept is presented concisely. I even dare to recommend it to people who don’t like reading English. “I don’t have time” will not be a good excuse.

Never a person to read business books, I was happy to discover how easy it was to understand his ideas. It’s really written for everyday people. He helps you focus on your business idea. Then teach you how to market effectively and keep your clients.

Mr. Beckwith gives helpful hints like these:

  • Build what people love.
  • Observer your clients, don’t just listen.
  • Avoid “nice”, it feels average.
  • Don’t be annoying when you sell, be considerate.
  • No superlatives in marketing materials.
  • Good marketing eliminates cold calling.

As I read on, a marketing strategy for my clients came together. This book actually energized my creativities, a business book, not a design book. Amazing!

***** ***** *****

My clients are the most passionate people – they are micro business owners. They might have never run a business before, yet they set out to live their dreams. With their love and faith for the business, I have never once escaped being converted into a believer.

Unlike the owners, even though I am a believer, I have the advantage of seeing the dream without the daily details chipping the spirit away. Being so close to my clients is the most beautiful thing about my job. I share their happiness and I feel their pain.

The most painful thing to see is how they struggle to find their “business self.” Even after they figure that out, they often couldn’t turn it into forms. They recite how their services or products are great, but their spirits were never transmitted with it.

With a stroke of luck, I found this book. Keep a list of what to do and what to fix as you read through the book. For business owners who are not ready to get outside marketing help, this will help with your DIY marketing project.

Don’t Make Me Think (2nd Edition)

book review, web design, usability 

Author: Steve Krug in association with AmazonFor me, in any design, function and form should always play together. And this book will tell you why.After so many years as a site visitor and a designer, I am very glad Steve did all the hard work for us and figured out how people use web sites.He helps you understand visitor behaviors, tells you what to do and what not to do, prompts you to think about vision impaired visitors, and provides useful read list.The examples always come with logical explanations, yet it is surprisingly fun to read, must be all of those colorful images.This book put a lot of my design methods into words. I know everything I do has a reason but convincing the client is a different story. This book is a great visual tool when I need to help my client understand my design choice.Although I am already practicing many of his points, I still learned a lot from this book. I recommend this book to everyone who has a web site.

Web Standards Solutions

book review, web site design, CSS 

Author: Dan Cederholmin association with Amazon

This is the best CSS book I have read. Before I read this book, I only used CSS as the style sheet feature in design software, being able to make beautiful site with clean code was only a dream.

The examples in the book are fun to try and the explanations are easy to understand. It took me a few short days to make it through the whole book and started building new sites using the methods in the book.

With that said, if you don’t already know some CSS, I would not start here.

If you know CSS but still live in the table layout world, please try this book out. You will thank yourself for it.