Advice — The 2018 Lecture in Progress Alternative Reading List

Posted 26 September 2018

Creative inspiration can be found anywhere. And and if our reading list (make that watching and listening, too) is anything to go by, it often is. So in celebration of the fact, we’ve collected together some of the wide-ranging, diverse and far-reaching reference points some of our contributors delve into for inspiration, motivation and more. With recommendations from the likes of Martin Parr, Otegha Uwagba and Rafaël Rozendaal; to the teams at GDS, FutureCorp and Hato Press, learn more about the memoirs, podcasts and films that have captured their imaginations. 

Martin Parr, photographer

My recommendations: 
William Eggleston's Guide, by John Szarkowski (1976)  
Winogrand: Figments From The Real World, by John Szarkowski (1998)

Why they’re great:
“It is very difficult to find really good writing about photography. John Szarkowski is as good as it gets, so read the texts in both Egglestone’s Guide and his book on Winogrand. You get two great texts and some pretty good photos too.”

Best for:
Photographywriting on photography

martinparr.com

Rose Blake, illustrator

My recommendation:
Ali Smith’s books

Why it’s great: 
Time, shape, layers, rhythm, playfulness, and how we are. These are things an illustrator needs to think about too. Every story tells a picture...and every picture tells a story.”

Best for: 
Illustration, storytelling

iamroseblake.com

Eike König, HORT

My recommendation:
Designing Programmes, by Karl Gerstner (1964)

Why it’s great: 
“It’s a great way of thinking about design.”

Best for:
Design, graphic design

Eike is the founder of Berlin-based design studio HORT

Gem Fletcher, photographic and film art director

My recommendation:
Showstudio.com 

Why it’s great: 
“Showstudio is an incredible resource for anyone interested in making visual content. The site takes you behind the scenes on the process of making images and film, exploring everything from styling and set design to Nick Knight’s personal lighting set-ups. It both informs and inspires in an accessible way, and there is a huge amount to learn, whether you’re into fashion or not.”

Best for: 
Fashion, photography, film, fashion journalism

Gem is a photographic and film art director, writer and photo director at Riposte Magazine. gemfletcher.com

Carly Ayres, HAWRAF

My recommendations:
Tellmewhy: The First 24 Months of a New York Design Company, by Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker (2003)
A Guide to Working with Clients, The Creative Independent

Why they’re great:
“Tellmewhy offers a no-frills look at the first two years of Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker’s endeavour into creating the New York-based design firm Karlssonwilker inc. It was a book that we each read early in our own careers, and provides the less glamorous side of starting a creative practice (including missed meetings, over-shoulder clients, financial struggles) — real takes on what it takes. It was a necessary dose of reality and healthy level of transparency that we all needed before taking that jump ourselves.

“Additionally, we recently made a guide for The Creative Independent (more geared towards freelancers), which is a detailed look at working with clients.”

Best for:
Design, digital design, client advice, new founders

Carly is a partner at design and technology design studio HAWRAF, in New York

Christoph Niemann, illustrator

My recommendation:
Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer (2012)
As mentioned in My Virtual Realty Q&A (See episode 2)

Why it’s great: 
“It’s not really a book about creativity, it’s a novel, a memoir. In it, Geoff Dyer describes his process of writing a book about literary criticism. There’s two things I love about this book; one is that every thought I ever had – every self-pitying emotion about the struggle with creating something – he describes beautifully, of course, in a much better, wiser and more entertaining way than I ever could. This book is especially dear to me because it introduced me to the work of Geoff Dyer, who is a fantastic writer about art, observing art and also a little bit about the art world.”

Best for: 
Illustration, creative advice, art

christophniemann.com 

Ollie Olanipekun, Superimpose

My recommendation:
(Un)Fashion, by Tibor and Maria Kalman (2000)

Why it’s great:
“In my role as a creative director, I always feel that having a good understanding of people is really important. In everything I put out I try and be as respectful and authentic as possible, and this book gives a great visual insight into how people live around the world. The creative industry has a big problem with cultural appropriation so seeing this raw creativity from all corners of the globe is something that will help keep you grounded. Tibor Kalman was also the creative force behind the incredible Colors Magazine, which was sponsored by Benetton in its heyday.”

Best for: 
Advertising, human interest, cultural awareness

Ollie is the co-founder of creative agency Superimpose

Mike Alderson, ManVsMachine

My recommendation:
Rebel Without A Crew, by Robert Rodriguez (1996)

Why it’s great: 
“Regardless of whether you are heading into the moving-image industry or not, this book is a frank memoir of how Robert Rodriguez carved his own path into being a Hollywood director. It serves as a nice reminder that naivety can be a tool, and optimism can be a weapon.”

Best for: 
Filmmaking, career advice 

Mike is co-founder and creative director of creative studio ManVsMachine 

Otegha Uwagba, Women Who

My recommendation:
CTRL ALT DELETE podcast, by Emma Gannon

Why it’s great: 
“My resource would be Emma Gannon’s CTRL ALT DELETE podcast. Her in-depth interviews with people who've worked in a wide range of industries are full of career insights that I think would have been super useful to have had when I first left university.”

Best for: 
Journalism, career advice, creative insight

Otegha is the founder of Women Who and the author of bestselling career handbook, Little Black Book

Mills, ustwo

My recommendation:
The Defiant Ones documentary (2017)

Why it’s great: 
“This documentary paints the entire picture of why I get out of bed. That thirst for creation and the journey of serendipity and success that comes when you absolutely resolutely focus on what it is you love doing. If this doesn’t make your heart beat faster nothing will.”

Best for: 
Creative process, music industry insight, building a creative company 

Mills is the co-founder of digital design studio ustwo

Anne Bourgeois-Vignon, Magnum Photos

My recommendation:
The photographic work of Francesca Woodman, made between 1972 and 1980 (See her work on the Victoria Miro gallery website, or her Tate page)

Why it’s great: 
“When I first encountered her work as a student, I was immediately arrested by her personal, intimate, performative shots, often using her own body in interior spaces. It paved the way for beginning to think about the body and female identity. Woodman’s art lies at the confluence of the visual and the literary, the personal and the political, and is one of the keys to understanding the role of photography in contemporary society, especially in those conversations that seek to highlight and provoke change in gender and mental health politics, as well as the debate around the personal versus the public.”

Best for: 
Photography, gender identity, mental health and creativity

Anne Bourgeois-Vignon has been the global digital director of Magnum Photos since 2015

Rafaël Rozendaal, artist

My recommendation:
Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem (1961)

Why it’s great:
“It’s a great book that stretches the imagination.”

Best for: 
Creative inspiration, sci-fi

Rafaël is a Dutch artist living in New York

Ahmad Swaid, Dazed Media

My recommendation:
Wasting Time on the Internet, by Kenneth Goldsmith (2016)

Why it’s great: 
“The title really says it all doesn’t it? Anyone who works in social is literally just trying to get other people to waste time on the internet. That’s the goal essentially. What’s great about this book though, is that it celebrates that and offers a fascinating perspective on what we do as a culture, and globally on the internet. 

“But honestly, the best advice I can offer for anyone wanting to go into social media is to not read any social media specific literature – just read about anything else.”

Best for: 
Social media, online content curation, human interest

Ahmad is the head of social at Dazed Media (across Dazed, NOWNESS, AnOther, Another Man and Dazed Beauty)

Anna Lomax, set designer

My recommendation: 
Beg, Steal & Borrow: Artists Against Originality by Robert Shore (2017)
Set Swap Cycle, a Facebook group

Why it’s great: 
“This is a really interesting book on the theme of copyright. I know it sounds dull, but actually, it discusses very relevant ideas on originality and copying through history and particularly in today’s creative climate. The book mostly focuses on art but also within other areas of popular culture. For me, it feels like a particularly relevant topic for anyone that feels saturated or stunted by too many online feeds.

“Set Swap Cycle is a Facebook group where set designers advertise to get rid of and recycle leftover props; ask questions when stuck for sourcing; and post about needing assistants on jobs. A pretty good starting point if you are trying to find work or learn about the industry.”

Best for: 
Copyright, originality, art, set design

Anna Lomax is a London-based artist and designer.

Jack Beveridge, Google Creative Lab

My recommendation:
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari (2014)

Why it’s great: 
“It doesn't matter if your a painter, a designer, or a whatever-you-want-to-call-yourself, this book will change how you see the world. It will give you a sense of perspective and understanding of our place on earth. Two things (I think) every creative person needs.”

Best for: 
Human and historical interest, perspective

Jack Beveridge has worked as a designer and creative at Google Creative Lab since 2015

Antar Walker, MPC

My recommendation:
How I Built This with Guy Raz podcast, on NPR

Why it’s great: 
“I love this podcast. Each episode looks at the story of building a company, a product or an idea. It really taps into people’s abilities to overcome challenges and deal with all sorts of adverse conditions. The grit and determination of the people interviewed inspires me massively. How I Built This is a small goldmine of real world advice that can be applied to any industry, whether you're trying to get that dream job, start up your own business or simply achieve what you want creatively.”

Best for: 
Creative advice, career advice, creative process insight

Antar joined post-production and VFX studio MPC as design creative director in 2017

David McKendrick, BAM

My recommendation:
Do-it-yourself Graphic Design, by John Laing (1984)

Why it’s great: 
“This is a ‘pre computer’ step-by-step guide of the key principles of graphic design. It reminds of a time when graphic design was much more labour-intensive, and encourages me to go back to basics and get my hands dirty. It also has the best centre spread of all times – in hindsight this book inspired me to be a designer as a 10-year-old.

“But the best recommendation I could give anyone is not to look at graphic design. Seek influences from elsewhere. I have found the trick to finding a solution is to immerse yourself entirely in a project, digest the brief or problem. Then forget about it! In the mean time absorb all the things you like, go to the cinema, ride your bike, listen to some music. Read an Autotrader, walk up a hill, but don’t go on the internet or look at design. It will make you sad. Like looking at your ex’s Instagram. Never healthy. This also causes repetition and trends and makes it harder to create your own work and solutions.”

Best for: 
Design, graphic design, creative process

David McKendrick founded design studio BAM with fellow art director Lee Belcher in 2014

Angus Montgomery, GDS

My recommendations:
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser (1976)

Why it’s great:
“Anyone working in any design or creative role will spend a lot of time looking at existing work to see if it triggers any sort of inspiration or sends you down a new pathway.

“The Creative Team at the Government Digital Service holds a session every fortnight where each member of the team talks about a piece or work or something they’ve seen that they find interesting, and see how it might influence the things we do. Some of the things we’ve talked about recently include Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad, the Vox Borders series of videos and the RNIB rebrand.

“But it’s also important to spend time looking at the fundamental principles of what you do. That’s why I’d recommend William Zinsser’s On Writing Well – the classic guide to writing non-fiction. Zinsser’s book remains just as relevant today for anyone who writes in their job. It provides practical advice on all types of non-fiction writing in a clear, simple and down-to-earth way. And it reminds you both that writing is hard (but there are ways you can make it easier) and that it can be incredibly rewarding.

Best for: 
Writing, copywriting, writing for design, design

Angus Montgomery is a Senior Writer for the Government Digital Service

Ellen Turnill Montoya, Anyways

My recommendations:
Dior & I, a documentary about Raf Simons by Frédéric Tcheng (2014)
How I Escaped My Certain Fate (2011)

Why it’s great: 
“I love watching or reading stories from behind the scenes of creative projects. When you’re used to seeing the finished product, it’s so great to remember the hard work and tough moments that went into it. I also believe it’s really important to get inspiration from different industries (and also I am greedy) so I have two.

“From the fashion world: Dior & I follows Raf Simons as he designs his first couture collection for the fashion house. And the book by comedian Stewart Lee dissects each of his shows, joke by joke, line by line, so you can see how much time and craft goes into each moment.”

Best for: 
Creative process, creative inspiration, comedy, writing, fashion, design

Ellen Turnill Montoya has been a creative at creative agency Anyways since 2015

Marc Kremers, Future Corp

My recommendation:
Are.na, an online visual platform

Why it’s great:
“Many people I respect within the digital and creative space are using this platform for researching a diverse range of subjects and interests. The collaborative nature of Are.na makes it a great place to become aware of both upcoming and established talents.”

Best for:
Discovering creative talent, creative inspiration, digital design

Marc Kremers is a creative director and founder of digital creative agency Future Corp

Holly Hay, Wallpaper*

My recommendation:
Hold Still, by Sally Mann (2015)

Why it’s great: 
“I try to be better and better at my job every single day, and the most important way to do that is by educating yourself about a photographer’s true process, and the intentions behind their work. Hold Still by Sally Mann is the most beautiful memoir by the artist, and her thoughtful prose stay with me, reminding me to be so sensitive to where someone’s pictures come from and how to make the best of their work.”

Best for:
Photography, creative process 

Holly Hay is the photography director of Wallpaper* magazine

Kenjiro Kirton, HATO

My recommendation:
News From Nowhere, by William Morris (1889)

Why it’s great: 
“Written over a century ago by the artist and designer William Morris, this book tells a story of London set in the early 2000s. It describes a utopian vision of society, one where there are no monetary exchanges but exchanges based on value, common ownership and democratic control of production.

“The story was written during the industrial revolution, where automation is our AI. It serves as a reminder for what we as a society should strive for our future: a better democracy; ownership of our data, access to production and, maybe most importantly, informed communities.”

Best for: 
Human interest, sci-fi, perspective, co-creation, community

Kenjiro is the co-founder of creative agency HATO and printing and publishing house Hato Press

Kirsten Lepore, animator

My recommendation:
Pinterest

Why it’s great:
It’s the best tool I’ve found to find and catalog inspiration for design, as well as for pitches and treatments. When starting a new project, the first thing I do is look through my Pinterest boards for inspiration.

Best for:
Inspiration, research

Kristin is an LA-based director and animator

Max Siedentopf, KesselsKramer

My recommendation:
2 Kilo of Kessels Kramer, by Kessels Kramer (2005)

Why it’s great: 
“When I was 19, I came across this book and it’s because of this that I ended up working at KesselsKramer’s offices in Los Angeles, Amsterdam and now London. It has it all: the best and the not-so best, of the first 10 years of KesselsKramer. It weighs exactly two kilograms and the page numbers are done by weight instead of numbers.

“It includes pretty much everything done at KK between 1996 to 2005 (from T-shirt designs to installations and documentaries). No matter if you want to go into design, art, film, photography or advertising, you will find something in here. It still today serves as my bible.

“That said, today it feels like young creatives all go to the same websites and Instagram accounts, then imitate what their peers are doing. That creates a big ocean of visually similar and boring work. I think it’s a lot more interesting to explore the past. Research old photography, design, art masters. It will give much better guidance than just looking at what’s trendy right now.”

Best for: 
advertising, design, graphic design, creative process, creative inspiration

Max is a creative director and partner at communications agency KesselsKramer 

Dan Glover, The Academy

My recommendation:
PR Moment Podcast

Why it’s great: 
“Most PR podcasts are a bit dry in honesty, but Ben Smith at PR Moment manages to interview people who I think better reflect where the PR industry is actually at, and who want to talk about the art and science of public public relations rather than pontificate about politics or advertising. I’d start with Graham Goodkind (founder of Frank PR), Angie Moxham (founder of 3 Monkeys) and Mark Perkins (executive creative director at W). All have great stories and insights to learn from, especially for people who are intrigued with the creative side of PR. Obviously listen to mine too!”

Best for: 
PR process, PR creativity

Dan is co-founder of independent PR agency The Academy

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