the importance of using references

I can't stress enough the importance of using a solid design reference in your work. I find that every great design starts with a point of reference. Over the years I have amassed a huge collection of reference materials—books, magazines, flyers etc. Many are design books but others are as random as a collection of music photos or travel postcards. You never know what will inspire you to create. Often times a single page out of an entire book will trigger the inspiration I’m seeking. If that single reference helps to ignite something creative within me, then keeping that book around was worth it! 

Here are a few of my favorite reference books that I find myself going back to regularly. I hope this helps you in your own search for inspiration.


The art of Jim Phillips - WOW! He can show you how to inject personality into anything! There was so much style in 80's skate / surf graphics and Jim was behind much of it!

BJ Betts lettering guide is a MUST for custom type. He even offers tips and tricks throughout the book. Thanks BJ, for helping greatly improve my hand-done type treatments!

I cut my teeth designing logos, so I will forever be partial to a really good identity systems book. The Compendium of American Trademarks is momentous and shows a ton of classic work from the 1920s onward.

Leave a Comment

Be the first to comment!

Post a comment

Close cart