So definitely one of the most important things you can do as a designer to stay afloat with current affairs is read. I'm a strong believer that a good designer is one that creates to inspire and provoke a reaction. Here are some lessons I've learned over the past few years that've really helped me to build up my knowledge in Art and Design.
1. Read everywhere.
On the train, bus, plane or whatever. I really like my small sized books for travelling. Easily pop in my bag and I'm ready to go. Although the option of reading on my iPad is there, I don't always feel safe doing so when I'm running to catch the bus or trying to squish on to a packed tube. My book falls I pick it up and keep it moving. My iPad falls... Well.
2. See a book you like in store? Buy it on Amazon!
3. Have back up inspiration.
Have a selection of 'go-to' book for days when you need a little inspiration. Sometimes I don't want to go out for a walk and let the trees inspire me, or pay money to see some some exhibition. It is on these days when I truly cherish my book collection. Above + below are my 'go-to' books.
4. Don't restrict yourself to your subject.
Just because you're a one type of designer does not mean you can't look for inspiration in other mediums. I'm subscribed to ICON, which is primarily an Architecture magazine, but it is one of my favourite weekly reads.
5. Buy books, borrow magazines
Because of the ever changing trends in the Design world, I find that the best way to save money and keep up to date with current trends is to borrow instead of buy when it comes to magazines. Of course you could also borrow books, but for the most part, I like to own them. No restrictions and more opportunity to soak up all the infomation in my own time. Also it's much easier to sell books than magazines, should you ever need to. Plus books are just that much nicer to own aren't they!
6. Refer to books first, then the internet.
As wonderful as the internet is, it's also filled with opinions and loads of inaccuracies. Of course books can fall victim to this too, however the information in the latter tends to be filtered much better.
7. Cherish your books.
This is more of a pet peeve than anything, but keep your books clean! I say this because the worst thing to find when borrowing books, is someones late lunch squished in between two pages. Some time back I borrowed a really good book from a friend (Don't worry I won't call you out Steph) and I had to return it to them immediately because they'd decided to eat McVities Digestive biscuits and coffee over this wonderful book (lovely book, it's a shame).
8. Read those books more than once.
I find that if I read stuff more than once, I tend to remember them better and it in turns helps me help other people. Pass on the knowledge, don't be selfish.
9. Support small businesses
Waterstones, Foyles and WHSmith are all wonderful. However if I don't order my books from Amazon, I definitely favour small business. Apart from the relationships that you build with the owners/assistants, it's such a great opportunity to really give back a tiny bit. I actually got a design job cruising in my local book shop. I was stacking up on all the design books and the manager asked me if I was a Designer, to which I replied yes. Turns out she'd been looking for a designer for a long time and she'd noticed me living in the Design section of the shop a couple of times. I not only got a new freelance job and some extra cash, but I gained a new friend too!
10. Most of all, have fun!Hunt like an animal
Thought I was gonna end this post that cheesy huh? No. My dearly beloved, please pay attention to book sales! I can proudly honestly say that out of all the books I own, I've only ever paid full price for a couple of them. I adore books but I hate to spend money on them, same goes for food. This doesn't mean that I don't value them, I just think that in the quantity that I normally buy them - I like to save me pennies. In fact that goes to most of the stuff I own. Those nice shoes? I'll wait until they're half priced... With a further 10% student discount (Hey ASOS!). The internet is way to good for me to be buying stuff full priced on the high-street. Contrary to popular opinion. I'm not made out of money. Some people will know all this stuff. Most Designers will know this stuff. All awesome people will know this stuff. Either way I hope it helped and did something to your brain.