I’d like to recommend a book, but first I have a bit of gushing to do…
I love the library! Especially the Seattle Central Library. It’s 11 stories of crazy architecture, sci-fi elements and mind-boggling color – including neon escalators and a solid red hallway that feels like something out of The Shining. (These pictures don’t do it justice.) They also have a collapsible gift shop and all kinds of other curiosities that you’ll have to see for yourself someday, because now I have a book to talk about.
I’ve been checking out piles of books for inspiration. I’m especially interested in typography and color – two of the main ingredients of an awesome button. When I’m working inside a 1-inch space, it can be difficult to create designs that are legible in both text and image.
So, for me, Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili is a goldmine of inspiration. Fili is a master of eliciting positive vibes about a book, product or company, while conveying the essence of the thing with just enough information that you don’t ever feel bored or overwhelmed by the visuals. You’d most likely recognize her style from the 2000+ book jackets she designed for Pantheon Books in the 1980s.
Her creations are never too plain, never too “busy”, and all gorgeous, even when they are conveying machismo. You can flip to almost any page let your gaze just relax there – it’s like an image spa for the eyes. (Except the food packaging section, which is so provocative that I’ve had to stop reading at times because I start craving the products.)
Each project is explained with pictures and an engaging one-page description of the process, client, inspiration and often a humorous anecdote. If I had to guess what Fili is like in person, I’d say, like many of her designs, “almost-but-not-quite-intimidatingly classy.”
This book will probably be one that I check out again. Several more times. (Unless it miraculously appears at the used bookstore).