6 Holiday Reads for Designers

I'd love to say that every time I take a heap of thick novels with me and finish them all within the first week but I'd be lying. In fact, I am still only half way through the relatively short book I started in Barcelona in March. Not everyone is "a reader" and that's okay! If like me, you prefer your books with a good image to word ratio then this is the round-up for you!

My top 6 holiday reads for designers includes everything from illustrated autobiographies to historic graphic novels, pattern-filled magazines to unorthodox novels. Basically, it's is a list of my favourite books that won't take up too much space in your suitcase...

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How to survive in the north

One of my favourite ever graphic novels from Nobrow Press, How To Survive In The North by Luke Healy has now been released in a much more travel-friendly paperback edition. Juxtaposing old and new to create an entirely new kind of comic book. Cleverly intertwining the story of Ada Blackjack’s historic expedition in the early 1900’s with a fictional story about a college professor’s midlife crisis, the book examines what it takes to survive in harsh conditions. Oh and did I mention it is beautifully illustrated in an array of pastel tones? Well it is!

Read my full review of How To Suvive In The North here.

Read Bottom Up

The majority of the books from my collection tend to be much more image based than word heavy, however there is the odd exception such as my next pick – Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Sky Chatham. Told entirely through the medium of text and email and described as “a novel about falling in love (or at least like) in the digital age”, Read Bottom Up is a very modern romance filled with online flirtation and social media anxiety. And as if the books wit and intelligence wasn’t enticing enough, there is also a spattering of beautiful illustration work by Nina Cosford dotted throughout to keep your inner visual-inspiration addict at bay.

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The Life Portraits Series

And what’s better than one book illustrated by Nina Cosford? A whole series of books illustrated by Nina Cosford, that’s what! Brilliantly written by Zena Alkayat and beautifully illustrated by Nina, the Life Portaits series tells the untold, important and empowering life stories of some incredible women from throughout history. You have the choice of learning the amazing life story of Frida Kahlo, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf or Coco Chanel or, if you have the room in your suitcase, you could always get all three!

You can read my review of the Life Portraits series here.

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So You Want To Publish A Magazine?

If you like learning whilst you relax in the sun, my next 2 picks are perfect! Imagine you could gather all of the creatives behind all of your favourite design magazines in one room and have time to ask them all the gory designer details of starting and running a magazine you could ever want to know. Now imagine you took note of all the wonderful, wise things these creatives offered during your meeting and you basically have So you want to publish a magazine? by Angharad Lewis. Featuring words of wisdom from the creatives behind some of the best independent magazines including Wrap Magazine, IdN and The Gentlewoman, the book is pretty much your dream indie-publishing event in paper-form.

Read my full review of So You Want To Publish A Magazine? here.

Don't get a job, make a job

If you are a creative - or, in fact, a human - you will no doubt have at some pointed experienced that sinking feeling of having no idea where you are going in life. It could be that you can’t find a job, are in the wrong job or that the perfect job for you simply doesn't exist yet; whichever it is, Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job has you covered. The book would make a particularly good post-graduation Summer read as it's aimed at creative graduates and offers invaluable advice on how to survive in today’s wild and increasingly-competitive job market. 

Read my full review of Don't Get A Job... Make A Job here.

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Wrap Magazine

Everyone needs a magazine for the plane when going on holiday but I would encourage you to ignore the temptation of trashy TV magazines and opt for a slightly pricier but much better high quality publication like Wrap Magazine. With a books-worth of creative inspiration including interviews with illustrators, shopping guides and artist features in every issue, Wrap Magazine is by far my favourite design magazine. Plus it comes with 5 sheets of gorgeous wrapping paper - perfect for wrapping the tacky souvenir gifts you bring home for everyone in.


Quite in keeping with the theme of this post (almost like I planned it) I am off on holiday tomorrow for a week! I know I was kind of on holiday for 10 weeks earlier in the year but that was travelling - that’s culture, its different! Depending on the wifi situation, this might mean a little blog break for me but I will definitely be back blogging as soon as possible!