Digital Masters: People Photography: Capturing Lifestyle for Art & Stock (A Lark Photography Book) by Nancy Brown is perfect for the Mom With A Camera crowd, who own a digital SLR and want to get into the portrait business. The tone of the book isn’t overly technical, and what technical aspects are mentioned are basic so that one can have a working understanding of equipment. Her tip of having a reflector for outdoor, sunny portraits will help a lot of people. For the most part, she focuses on the process and how to approach the shoots. The sample shots look like stock photos (which is one area she specializes in) of children or people in their 50s, 60s or 70s.
Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey is a conceptual how-to book on how to create logos and brand identities.
Numerous examples are provided from big names such as Kellogg and FedEx to small design shops or the Whaling Museum. The examples are explained clearly and concisely, deconstructing the visuals as to how and why they work. The third chapter is key to this approach, detailing the Elements of Iconic Design.
If you’re new to design or own your own company and need help getting a brand identity and logo, this would be a good place to start. The caveat is that it will help if you have an understanding of elements of design or art. E.g. color theory, line, proportion, what conveys what message. Nor is this a tool book. Photoshop and Illustrator are mentioned in passing.
This is an ideas book to showcase the process of taking art and design fundamentals and using them to create a visual identity.
Seth Godin’s Purple Cow is a call for businesses and start ups to be remarkable. Being remarkable means being memorable, unique and doing business in such a way that it can be distinguishably different from the competition.
Godin explains his purple cow: drive about the country side and watch cows–brown cows, black cows, black and white cows. After a while, they’re boring and part of the landscape. But what if all the sudden you saw a purple cow? That would be remarkable wouldn’t it?
And his caveat: for a while, and then it too fades in to the scenery.
Where most businesses stumble, is that they create something new and exciting and make money, but then they become stuck in a cycle of protecting the product and doing things that are safe and for the masses. What businesses should do, he says, as the purple cow is making money, invest that money on the next thing, the next idea. He supports this stating that you make more money on early adopters who then tell the masses (their friends) about the product or service. This doesn’t mean you seek out they next cool thing immediately, but be attentive and creative to when the market will provide an opportunity for you to create your next purple cow.
Godin writes in stories, anecdotes and case studies. Purple Cow contains plenty of examples. My Pearl Jam nerd self received a little bit of glee when the band sold all 72 live shows from their 2000 tour–and made a profit–as an example. Sections are at most two to three pages in length, and some contain explicit take away points. Teachers, administrators, entrepreneurs, mid-level executives should be able to gleam morsels of inspiration within the books 200 pages.
Parker: The Hunter (Richard Stark’s Parker) by Darwyn Cooke puts crime noir pulp author Richard Stark to page in graphic novel format. It tells the tale of a thief who’s been betrayed by his girlfriend and double crossed by a partner in crime and his hunt for revenge.
The story is told in four arcs. The first, begins with a man (we soon to find to be Parker) crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and remains wordless for 8 pages as he cons a bank for money, insults a waitress at a diner and eventually meets up with his former girlfriend. The second arc focuses on the man, Mal, who betrayed Parker, and the third tells of how Parker found Mal. Finally, Parker continues, scorched earth style, up the chain of the organization that took his money.
The dialogue reads like that of a pulp crime novel and the action is violent with some scenes graphically depicted and others implied. The art is a throwback to the 50s and 60s–sharp angular inks and expressive styled lines. The blue coloring is used for visuals to accentuate drama. It’s a well done effort into the graphic novel genre.