Suffering from creative block? These great books will help reignite your passion and imagination in ways that infinite scrolling on your phone will never match.
It's one of the most frustrating things about being a creative professional. A lot of the time, your head is brimming with fantastic, original ideas: so many that you can't possibly find time to put them into practice. But then come the creative slumps: periods when you're so lacking in motivation that your brain comes up empty, time after time.
In desperation, we start looking online for inspiration, but in our hearts, we know that way lies madness. In contrast, sitting down with a beautifully printed, lovingly curated book can be far more effective at firing up our mojo and igniting our imaginations.
But let's face it, there are a lot of low-quality books to wade through before you find the right one for you. So at Creative Boom, we see it as our duty to keep track of all the latest releases from major publishers, design studios and insightful individuals and share the very best with you. We also like to chat with the authors directly to get more insight into their titles and the thinking behind them.
As ever, we've been doing this throughout this year, and below, we share the absolute best reads of 2022 for inspiring your creativity, ranging from monographs to behind-the-scenes material to the just plain weird. Click on the links to access sample pages, exclusive interviews from their creators, and details of where to buy the books.
1. Malika Favre by Malika Favre
French illustrator and graphic designer Malika Favre has impressed us for years with her elegantly minimalist work. In 2022, over a decade's worth of her creations were released in a stunning new monograph from Counter-Print, designed with a suitably stripped-back aesthetic.
2. The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting by Craig Oldham
We're always keen to see what award-winning British designer Craig Oldham is up to, and this 2022 book project ticked all our boxes. Taking a deep dive into Stanley Kubrick's psychological horror, The Shining, this book not only pays homage to its cultural legacy but is disguised as the "writing project" Jack Nicholson's lead character is seen typing throughout the film. A great idea and brilliantly executed.
3. Flexible Visual Systems by Martin Lorenz
Martin Lorenz, the founder of acclaimed studio TwoPoints.Net, finally launched his much-anticipated title – over two decades in the making – in 2022. A comprehensive design manual for modern visual identities, this authoritative tome offers guidance on flexible systems to discerning graphic designers everywhere. We chatted to him about the long journey that led him here.
4. Mascot by Céline Leterme and Jon Dowling
From burger chains and newspaper clubs to tech firms and banks, the mascot continues to be as popular as ever in contemporary graphic design. This colourful and expressive book by Counterprint takes a closer look at their charm, exploring dozens of brand identities that feature these fun characters.
5. Open Manifesto by Kevin Finn
Founded in 2003 by Kevin Finn, Open Manifesto was a graphic design journal that threw out the conventions of its contemporaries across its 15-year run. Curated by Kevin himself, Open Manifesto: An Anthology contains more than 40 writings from the journal's hallowed pages, with contributions from Michael Bierut, Hina Qureshi, and Rami Elhanan.
6. Magnum Magnum by Brigitte Lardinois
Iconic photographers' cooperative Magnum celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2022 by releasing a new edition of its bestselling book. For those who missed out on the opportunity to pick up a copy in 2007, Magnum published a fully updated and expanded edition. It brings together some of its most stunning images and also features 25 photographers who've joined its ranks in the last 15 years.
7. Type to Image by Marta Cerdà Alimbau
Designer Marta Cerdà Alimbau is well known for her bold and eclectic style. This elegant monograph brings together some of her work highlights, including her time at Cooper Union. Encompassing typeface design, digital illustration, book covers, posters, advertorial graphics, wine labels and more, it's a helpful narrative for any creative.
8. Reverses by George Eksts
Finished work is one thing, but at Creative Boom, we often find the behind-the-scenes, work-in-progress material to be much more interesting. So we love this unusual book by mixed-media artist and V&A photographer George Eksts. A "celebration of unintentional creativity", its pages feature marks, damage, fragments of sketches and notes left on the reverse of his finished pieces.
9. Big Type by Counterprint
In 2022, big and bold type could be seen everywhere, from billboards to websites, motion design to motion pictures. So it was great to see a new book from Counterprint devoted to this very subject. It's packed full of brilliant examples of this fascinating direction in graphic design, one forged by a collision of technology, typography and trends.
10. Chance Encounters in the Valley of Lights by Rik Moran
The disappearance of PC Alan Godfrey is one of England's most notorious unsolved mysteries. With the help of photographs and never-before-seen archival material, this new book intends to shed new light on what happened. It's all threaded together via evocative photography captured by Rik Moran, who brings out the unearthly side of rural England as he captures country roads, rock formations and suburbia.