our library is also your library
Branding, graphic design, copywriting. The city, the architecture, the design. Our selection of new releases and rediscoveries for the office library open to everyone.
Doubling the open-space, in July 2016, and earning an additional 120 square meters gave us the opportunity to resume an activity we loved, setting up an internal library devoted to our working fields and interests of all time.
An international selection —specialist and cross-cutting— mainly with an eye for British publications.
Read our short reviews on Facebook (follow us!) and on this page dedicated to the books chosen by the team of Bellissimo.
These are the first books which have enriched our shelves —please visit us at our office to consult any of them (write here).
Atlas of Cities
While our office library, which will be formed 3/4 by graphics and communications work and 1/4 by city books, already has material to build upon, the urban section must be started right from its foundations.
Edited by Paul Knox in 2014 for Princeton University Press, this book is the glossary that every aspiring urbanist should bring along, if it wasn‘t for its size: 250 large format pages of information, dates, and maps. A great number of maps, in fact, from the foundation plans of Athens and the Roman forts, to the ideal lines of Paris (Haussmann) and Brasilia, up to the design district of Tortona in Milan.
The book divides cities into 13 types —imperial, celebrity, transnational, and many others— perhaps being a little simplistic when it comes to those green and smart, but always chasing the dream of every Google Maps lover: that of linking the passage of history, economy and society to the pure shape of the graticule, where the city lives in the schemes (and screens) of us “would-be” urban planners.
Atlas of Cities is the right base to build upon, or to explore by digging deeper. Every library must start with a solid plan.
The problem with books on copywriting is what comes later. Am I writing with the right tone? Is this engaging enough? And what about the brand promise?
After reading such memorable headlines, one can only get stuck.
With Read Me. (Laurence King Publishing, 2014) one has at least the impression that Roger Horberry and Gyles Lingwood are actually there, helping you out with practical tips for improving your writing skills (how do you structure a text? When do you press the Delete key?) and testing them.
Horberry and Lingwood do not speak of advertising copywriting, but of a more general “brandwriting”, and this perfectly embraces our work at Bellissimo.
The authors insist that clarity of thought precedes the effectiveness of words: to write well is to think well —the opposite of the unmissable “Just do it”.
We normally expect answers from manuals. Without prejudice for the great examples and lessons enclosed in this book, the actual contribution of Read Me. is to invite copywriters to ask themselves the right questions.
Designing Brand Identity
Designing Brand Identity, published by John Wiley & Sons in 2003, is the ambitious work of Alina Wheeler, consultant and subject specialist.
Dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs and Sylvia Harris, the 2013 edition is an impressive volume of 326 pages that analyses the key elements of a successful brand.
Each of the three parts of the book has a precise purpose: “Basics” provides an extensive vocabulary of remarkable concepts, while the second part, “Process”, outlines a global method for the development of brand identity, with an argumentative —although at times redundant— style.
The last part identifies “Best Practices” and is the most challenging for how the various cases are examined, from the initial brief to the creative solution.
For those, like us, who work in branding everyday, Designing Brand Identity is always a useful reference. For the novices of this fascinating industry this book is actually a real bible.
Barbican Estate, Balfron Tower, Whittington Estate —can the urban dreams of more than sixty years ago still be modern? Leafing through the interviews and images of this volume one would say so.
Modernist Estates —The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them Today by Stefi Orazi (Frances Lincoln Limited, 2015) is the answer to those who, in front of the visionary structures of the modernist era, wonder how it would be living inside them.
Orazi enters the apartments, talks to the tenants, finds out if the “machines for living” also work in everyday life, even today.
The book is a walk to discover the modernist giants of London.
A conversation with the people who live in them. Concrete, glass and bricks. But especially stories.
“Did you know much about this modernist estate before you moved here? What attracted you to living here? What’s the area like? What are the best/worst things about living here?”
An enjoyable reading that, through interviews and architecture tips, reveals twenty-one buildings born out of the minds of some of the most important architects and urban planners of the British post-war period.
It's a London Thing
Fred Butler and her London city guide are very much alike.
Just like the author — a designer and local fashion craftswoman and artist with no holds barred — It's a London Thing (Prestel, 2016) is a multi-coloured, vital and iridescent creature.
Far from being a tourist guide, the book is devoted to extravagance and is addressed to those who want to take an insider look of the new energies of the city — some of which we encountered during our first original travel format Urban Creative City-break.
London is a contradictory city. Along its streets, the sky suddenly turns from gray to blue. You might be alone and in silence and the next moment you are shaken up by the din of the crowd.
This book is dedicated to this second soul, that of colour and variety.
Area after area, Butler offers her personal rating of unmissible spots.
The best views, local runners’ hidden paths, vintage stores that have not yet turned into tourist traps. And, above all, the great contemporary art.
Fred Butler's inspiration has made possible to wear futuristic vision, mirror dresses, flora and origami — along with the accessories she created for Björk and Lady Gaga.
In her urban tale we find the same vital boost. A sampling about the places and the faces that make London the centre of the creative industry.
Hyphen Press, a publishing house specialized in typography and design, released a book on jazz. Of course, given the importance that music has in our work, we could not help but being intrigued.
Jazzpaths (2012) is a souvenir, a snapshot memory of the mid-sixties American jazz scenario and the country surrounding it.
The only link between impressions and memories, collages and album covers, letters and newspaper articles is the reflection over two years of America and the music of the writer and architect David Wild.
The material Wild chose is not necessarily explained, nor should it explain something: the only purpose of this book is to evoke a significant world through its protagonists, places and harmonies.
One could say Jazzpaths belongs to the past rather than our times, which makes it an even more enjoyable and fascinating reading.
Contemporary Weaving Patterns
One does not need to be a tailor or a fashion artist to enjoy the reading of Contemporary Weaving Patterns (A&C Black, 2011), with its rich source of documentation and visual suggestions.
The author, Margo Selby, is a British textile designer, who, through rigorous planning and dedication, gathered into this dense collection of models years of research and world wide travels. His interest in eccentric motives that break any geometric regularity, is perhaps the real thread of this book on warps and wefts.
The introduction is aimed at less experienced readers (like us) and shows different textile works and employable material. A section on colour theory is then followed by one hundred pages of diagrams from various traditions and for different use, placing this work somewhere between a technical manual and an art book.
With its patterns and composition rules, this book unfolds weaving's infinite possibilities of expression, inspiring designers that every day, through colour, lines and rhythm, create their own designs.
How to make a home
How to Make a Home (Macmillan, 2016) is not the only book of The School of Life we have with us. The School, founded by the philosopher Alain de Botton to bring theory into practice and try to improve our lives, has become, in just a few years, a global brand. The series "How to..." deals with practically any topic, from city life to doing business, from living alone to thinking more about sex.
The book by Edward Hollis, architect and writer, is about the modern idea of home. In order to build a cosy home, it is not sufficient, nor necessary, to have bricks and cement. It is the sense of belonging that we feel in a certain place, its ability to convey wellness and tranquillity, which can generate a domestic dimension.
It is no longer a matter of location, but of feelings, thus any decorative and architectural element play a much less important role. Hollis discredits past clichés on the ideal home, in favour of a modern and flexible idea.
Housing space is reduced — or better said, expanded — to personal space. A space able to make any person the richest in the world, provided that it houses only positive and essential elements.
Finding music, books and cinema reviews is easy. For printing works, publishing projects, posters and pictures, which are also part of our lives, we must instead rely on the trade press or visit specialised websites — apart from sporadic exceptions, mainly involving the restyling of events, brands or famous teams.
The title, "Design Literacy" (2014, 3rd edition) is already an invitation to learn about graphics design as well as to become "observers", in addition to readers, viewers and listeners.
The author of the book is Steven Heller, co-founder of MFA Design, the graduate programme based in New York for designers who also want to be makers and entrepreneurs. This collection of short, or very short, essays includes milestones of visual design, such as the maps of Massimo Vignelli and the posters of Saul Bass for Alfred Hitchcock's films, as well as critiques of entire periods and graphics schools.
Eighty-eight articles that teach a common lesson, with a great attention to the political role of design, from the language to the techniques employed, up to the choice of a font.
Copywriting: Successful Writing for Design, Advertising and Marketing
Good writing is often considered a natural talent. However, there are strategies that anyone can adopt to easily create quality content.
This is the plain and simple idea of Mark Shaw, professional copywriter and founder of Jupiter Designer — ranking in the top-25 best British design agencies.
In the second edition of Copywriting, edited by Laurence King Publishing in 2012, the author unveils his approach consolidated in twenty-five years of career: putting order in the creative process to learn how to write fast and effectively.
Although the exquisitely typed cover does not revel it, the volume contains many illustrated examples of award-winning campaigns.
At the end of each chapter, the author also adds practical tips, a checklist of the steps to be taken when writing any type of copy, and practical exercises to test one’s ability.
The book is, in fact, a very detailed guide, suitable both for beginners as well as for copywriters who want to deepen the subject — a light and engaging reading to keep on the desk.
more to come...