Category Archives: Design

Play is more than just fun

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humour, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. This Ted Talk is an oldie but a goodie and watching it will make you want to play a little more.

Monday Inspo

They say that play is the highest form of research…so what are you waiting for? Time to get your coloured pencils out and scribble your way through this mornings meetings! Or Lego…maybe pop a bowl of it in the middle of your boardroom table and see what you can create. Did you know you could buy Lego through Booko? Oh yes you read that right! Stick around and we’ll show you how on Thursday’s blog.

How to design a library that makes kids want to read

When Michael Bierut was tapped to design a logo for public school libraries, he had no idea that he was embarking on a year long passion project. In this often hilarious talk, he recalls his obsessive quest to bring energy, learning, art and graphics into these magical spaces where school librarians can inspire new generations of readers and thinkers. We love this Ted Talk.

The best books to help with your copywriting

Ugh. There is nothing worse than staring at a blank screen (or piece of paper if you’re old school) and willing inspiration to hit. Earlier this week we asked for your top tips for getting through the dreaded writers block, be sure to jump onto instagram and facebook to join in the conversation. 

Copywriting is a tricky game. Sometimes we can sit and write with ease but when we reread it, it fails to excite or inspire us. We have so been there but luckily have found a handful of books that are amazing. These little gems will help you shape your copy to really connect with your audience, and also offer tips and tricks to get you started. 

So sit back, have a read with a cup of tea and prepare to be inspired. 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

This is an oldie but a goodie. When Lynne Truss wrote her “small book on punctuation”, she had no idea that it would become a bestseller that reinvigorates interest in the niceties of the English language. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is more than a guide to punctuation use, it is also a lament and a call-to-arms. Through amusing anecdotes drawn from history, literature, and real signage, Lynne Truss discusses the origin and history of different punctuations and how they should be used. Eats, Shoots & Leaves manages to be witty, informative and compulsively readable, because it shows that misplaced or absent punctuation can change the meaning of sentences in dramatic and funny ways.

Copywrong to Copywriter by Tait Ischia 

This beautifully designed book is a little gem. It’s packed from cover to cover with tips for writing clearly, with the perfect tone and with strategic purpose. It’s a great tool for small business owners, copywriters and design studios. If you’re planning a career as a copywriter, it’ll help you to explain the basic concepts to your clients. Discover how to make words work in your favour while learning the fundamentals to write your own copy. Reading, and digesting, this book will increase your knowledge, skill and confidence.

Persuasive Copywriting by Andy Maslen

With the majority of creative professionals developing their skills on the job, it is notoriously difficult to benchmark successful copy. This book provides a step up for those who already know the basics, and are seeking more advanced, psychology-driven techniques to gain the competitive edge. With practical insight into human decision making and consumer engagement, it inspires the clear-cut confidence needed to create, quantify and sell stand out copy in a cluttered marketplace.

This second edition of Persuasive Copywriting complements the “how to” perspective of copywriting, with impressive interviews from leading ad agencies and copywriters across the globe, addressing day to day issues faced in a multitude of roles. Updates include practical advice to measure and benchmark effective copy, guidance on creating and critiquing briefs, plus four new chapters on how to weave copywriting skills into the wider industry. These cover particularly useful ground around storytelling, content marketing and the impact of evolving channels like mobile and social media. Practical and inspiring, it is a vibrant, all-encompassing guide to copywriting; an essential for your bookshelf.

The Copy Book by D&AD

In 1995, the D&AD published a book on the art of writing for advertising. The then best-selling book remains an important reference work today -a bible for creative directors. D&AD and TASCHEN have joined forces to bring you an updated and redesigned edition of the publication. Regarded as the most challenging field in advertising, copywriting is usually left to the most talented professionals, often agency leaders or owners themselves. The book features a work selection and essays by 53 leading professionals in the world, including copywriting superstars such as David Abbott, Lionel Hunt, Steve Hayden, Dan Wieden, Neil French, Mike Lescarbeau, Adrian Holmes, and Barbara Nokes. The lessons to be learned on these pages will help you create clearer and more persuasive arguments, whether you are writing an inspiring speech, an engaging web banner or a persuasive letter. This is not simply a “must-have” book for people in advertising and marketing, it is also a “should-have” for anyone who needs to involve or influence people, by webpage, on paper, or in person.

The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

*Technically* this isn’t a book on copywriting but is a great book on having conversations with your customers so we just had to include it. The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn’t ask your mum whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn’t ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It’s a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little . As a matter of fact, it’s not their responsibility to tell you the truth. It’s your responsibility to find it and it’s worth doing right. Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. We all know we’re supposed to do it, but nobody seems willing to admit that it’s easy to screw up and hard to do right. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.

Draft No. 4 by John McPhee

Draft No. 4 is a master class on the writer’s craft. In a series of playful, expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his career and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most esteemed writers of recent decades. McPhee offers definitive guidance in the decisions regarding arrangement, diction, and tone that shape nonfiction pieces, and he presents extracts from his work, subjecting them to wry scrutiny. In one essay, he considers the delicate art of getting sources to tell you what they might not otherwise reveal. In another, he discusses how to use flashback to place a bear encounter in a travel narrative while observing that “readers are not supposed to notice the structure. It is meant to be about as visible as someone’s bones.” The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from reporting to drafting to revising―and revising, and revising.

Draft No. 4 is enriched by multiple diagrams and by personal anecdotes and charming reflections on the life of a writer. McPhee describes his enduring relationships with The New Yorker and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and recalls his early years at Time magazine. Throughout, Draft No. 4 is enlivened by his keen sense of writing as a way of being in the world.

Enjoy!

Interior design and decoration books that will inspire your inner stylist

When the weather gets colder and the days shorter, there’s nothing more satisfying than being inside, snuggled in your favourite chair under a woolly blanket with candles flickering and a good book to read. While this may feel super cosy for those of us here in chilly Melbourne, on the other side of the world the heavy throw blankets are being boxed away, velvet cushion covers changed to lighter linen counterparts and fresh cut flowers popped into vases as the joy of Summer looms close.

It’s fun to change up your home a little each season and look to nature for inspiration for colours and textures and the occasional gem. Changes don’t have to be expensive or dramatic (so you can put down that paintbrush and roller), sometimes it’s just moving the furniture, a new fragrant candle or piece of art that can make a world of difference.

We’ve been devouring the latest books on interiors and have come up with a great list of our favourites. So make yourself a cup of tea/ glass of rose/mug of hot chocolate and settle in for some inspiration. 

The Natural Home by Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home is a place where natural materials and motifs are the key elements of a decorating style that is a joy to live with and a joy to behold. Influential art director and stylist Hans Blomquist starts off by exploring the essence of his style. Firstly, Plants and Flowers celebrates the beauty of nature, botanical prints and pictures, and the cycles of the natural world. Display reveals Hans’ passion for creating vignettes that showcase treasured pieces, while Colour presents his favourite earthy palette, which provides the perfect muted backdrop for hits of brighter natural hues. In Texture, he revels in the textures and patinas of natural materials; scuffed wood, frayed rope, beaten metal and bare stone. Finally, Hans shows how to use Fabrics to bring warmth and softness to any interior. In the second part of the book, The Natural Homes, through a series of case studies, Hans explores houses and apartments that showcase the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the natural look.

It’s Beautiful Here by Megan Morton

Interior fulfilment can be fleeting. Linen cupboards crash from a ten to a two in a blink and couch cushions need to be eternally fluffed. It’s Beautiful Here attempts to capture the moments of domestic paradise without making the mistake of thinking they are permanent, but hoping hard they might be. With her trademark wit and enthusiasm Megan Morton let’s us peek into the abodes of the people who have by luck, chance or determination nailed that ever elusive interiors je ne sais quoi. From Paris to New York and even Adelaide, we meet a motley crew of renters, Barbie Dreamhouse owners and accidental interior heroes and learn that a beautiful home doesn’t rest on great design alone it’s shaped by the people who live there. One of our team attended Megan’s Styling masterclass and has all of her books on her coffee table so we know you’ll just love this title too.

The Foraged Home by Joanna Maclennan

Anyone can create a beautiful home by foraging, and salvaging what they find. Whether a box of rusty nails or a disused armchair missing a leg, discarded objects can be restored, recycled or repurposed to fill the home with personal style. Artful interiors are born from curiosity, creativity and imagination, yet many of us fail to see a potential curtain rail in a bamboo stick or a hidden kitchen worktop in an old carpenter’s bench – let alone knowing where to find such objects. Presenting the techniques and philosophies of a wide spectrum of experienced foraging homeowners, this book showcases unexpected and inspiring interiors from all over the world, from an upturned boat in France to an Australian beach house. Such diverse locations each demand a different approach to foraging and, as a result, each home has a distinct sense of style. In an era when self-sufficiency, living off grid and saving our planet have never been more important or appealing, The Foraged Home will provide guidance and inspiration for all those looking to go beyond the world of mass-produced flat-packs.

Homebody by Joanna Gaines

In Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A removable design template at the back of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will instil in you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

More Style, Less Stuff. Cozy Minimalism isn’t about going without or achieving a particular new, modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style you love with the fewest possible items. You want a warm, cozy, inviting home, without using more resources, money, and stuff than needed. Why use more if you don’t have to. In Cozy Minimalist Home, accidental stylist and bestselling author Myquillyn Smith guides you step by step on making purposeful design decisions for your home. You’ll have the tools to transform your home starting with what you already have, and using just enough of the right furniture and decor to create a home you’re proud of in a way that honours your personal priorities, budget, and style. No more fretting when it comes to decorating your house! In Cozy Minimalist Home, Myquillyn Smith helps you realise your role as the curator of your home who makes smart, style-impacting design choices.  A pretty home is nice, but a Cozy Minimalist home goes beyond pretty and sets the stage for connection, relationship, and rest.

Restoration House by Kennesha Buycks

Restore peace and joy to your home as you create a space that gives your loved ones a comfortable place to connect. In Restoration House, designer and lifestyle guide Kennesha Buycks shows you how to curate and decorate your home (even on a small budget!) and create mindful spaces that give life to all who enter. How many times have you felt discouraged as you scrolled through Instagram or Pinterest at impeccably styled home decor that your family would destroy in moments? Designer and decor aficionado Kennesha Buycks is here to help you love the home you have and design spaces to welcome others.Home is more than a mere space to be filled with pretty pillows and beautifully ordained walls,” Kennesha says. Restoration House is about creating a home filled with places and spaces where people can feel secure, connected, revived, and renewed. Restoration has been a consistent theme and message throughout the lifespan of Kennesha’s blog, Restoration House Interiors. Now she guides you to create a more mindful, peaceful, restored home while finding joy in the process.

Three Birds Renovations by Bonnie Hindmarsh, Erin Cayless, and Lana Taylor

We love Three Birds. So much so we have completed their course, pre bought their book and watched every single one of their renovation videos (you can binge watch them here). When best friends Erin, Bonnie and Lana ditched their corporate careers to start Three Birds Renovations, they were rookie renovators with big ideas. Today, with many incredible house transformations under their toolbelt, they’re a power trio turning neighbourhood ugly ducklings into swans. If you lust over images of beautiful homes but feel stuck when it comes to your own space, these ‘birds’ have your back. The book is packed with gorgeous details from their projects, friendly words of encouragement and more than 400 reno tips to help you avoid budget blow-outs, manage trades and timelines, and style without stress. Whether you’re starting small or going all-in with a whole-home reno, this is destined to become one of the most useful books you own. Turn your reno dreams into reality!

Enjoy!

The best books exploring Art in 2019…(so far).

Art can be an intimidating and mind boggling form of expression as an artist attempts to take us on a journey and share their view of society with us. While some people can stand in front of a painting on the wall and stare in wonder and awe, others crumple their brow in complete confusion. 

Today we are sharing some of the best new titles on the market that attempt to uncover the secrets of the art world.  So settle in, make yourself a cup of tea, and prepare to broaden your understanding of the mysterious world of art.

Civilization: The Way We Live Now by William A. Ewing, Holly Roussell

We hurtle together into the future at ever-increasing speed – or so it seems to the collective psyche. Every day and every hour, human civilisation expands, evolves and mutates. While we frequently lapse into celebrating the individual at the expense of the group, in science and art, at work and at play, at home and in transit, we increasingly live the collective life. Civilization shows how contemporary photography, notably art photography, is fascinated by, and attempts to decode and communicate, the way we live today. This landmark publication is accompanied by an internationally touring exhibition produced by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography – a global cultural event for a global subject. Civilization is presented through eight thematic chapters, each led by breathtaking imagery and accompanied by essays, quotes, commentaries and captions to provide a deeper understanding of its theme. Visually epic and ambitiously popular in approach, it will reach out beyond the boundaries of the photography world to connect with audiences worldwide.

Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour by David Coles

Did you know that the Egyptians created the first synthetic colour; or that the noblest purple comes from a predatory sea snail? Throughout history, artist pigments have been made from deadly metals, poisonous minerals, urine, cow dung, and even crushed insects. From grinding down beetles and burning animal bones to alchemy and serendipity, Chromatopia reveals the origin stories of over 50 of history’s most extraordinary pigments. Spanning the ancient world to modern leaps in technology, this is a book for the artist, the history buff, the science lover and the design fanatic.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up by Claire Wilcox, Circe Henestrosa

In 1954, following her death, Frida Kahlo’s possessions were locked away in the Casa Azul in Mexico City, her lifelong home. Half a century later, her collection of clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and other personal items was rediscovered. Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up offers a fresh perspective on the life story of this extraordinary artist, whose charisma and entirely individual way of dressing made her one of the most photographed women of her time. Specially-commissioned photographs show her distinctive Mexican outfits alongside her self-portraits, an unprecedented pairing that is enriched by iconic images taken in her lifetime.

Tate: Colour A Visual History by Alexandra Loske

Prepare to unravel the rainbow with this amazing colour history and discover the story of colour through the significant scientific discoveries and key artist’s works over 400 years. From Isaac Newton’s investigations through to Olafur Eliasson’s experiential creations, this stunning book documents the fascinating story of colour with an extraordinary collection of original colour material that includes charts, wheels, artists’ palettes, swatches and schemes.

“In 1704, the scientist Isaac Newton published OPTICKS, the result of many years of researching light and colour. By splitting white light, Newton identified the visible range of colours, or the rainbow spectrum. In OPTICKS, he built a colour system around his findings, and he visualised this system in a circular shape, making it one of the first printed colour wheels. The influence of Newton and his followers, combined with the invention of many new pigments as well as watercolours in moist cake form, had made painting with colour an exciting occupation not just for serious artists but also for a much wider audience. The colour revolution had begun.”

Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding, Kendrah Morgan

They entertained Mick Jagger. They have connections to Albert Einstein and Ned Kelly. Their local admirers are a who’s who of artists, writers, film makers, politicians and celebrities. The impact of Mirka and Georges Mora on Australian food culture and the art scene has been remarkable. Arriving from Paris in 1951, these bon vivants brought colour and flavour to local society and the culinary landscape. Their apartment in Melbourne’s centre became a hub for the bohemian set, and their cafes and restaurants brimmed with food, sex and art. Mirka’s distinctive paintings and drawings were a vital part of this heady mix. Launched in the year of Mirka’s 90th birthday, Mirka & Georges- A Culinary Affair gloriously illustrates the Moras’ extraordinary story. With classic French recipes from the couple’s eateries and home kitchen, photographs from family albums and from inside Mirka’s studio, as well as Mirka’s vibrant artworks, the inimitable personalities of these epicurean pioneers leap out of these pages.

Pattern Design by Elizabeth Wilhide

Throughout history, patterns have come in countless permutations of motif, colour-way and scale. Yet what all have in common is the regularity of repetition, that insistent rhythm that animates a flat surface with a sense of movement and vitality and gives it depth. Evident in the arrangement of petals on a flower head, the branching growth of stems and vines, the spirals of a seashell – pattern is inherent in the natural world that surrounds us. Powerful and transformative, pattern has an irrepressible joie de vivre. With more than 1,500 illustrations of patterns from all ages and cultures, Pattern Design is a visual feast. This comprehensive compendium is arranged thematically according to type, with chapters on Flora, Fauna, Pictorial, Geometric and Abstract designs. These broad categories are supplemented by in-depth features highlighting the work of key designers from the rich history of pattern-making – such as William Morris, Sonia Delaunay, Charles and Ray Eames, Lucienne Day and Orla Kiely – along with sections detailing the characteristic motifs of key period styles from Baroque to Art Deco.

Enjoy!