Creative Living Creativity Corner

printed books

April 15, 2012

There’s something about printed matter that has me going weak at the knees. Yes, i will admit, it gets my full attention every single time. Is it because i studied graphic design, is it because my hunger for knowledge is huge but coupled with the visual and tactile stimulation can send me over the edge? I am fascinated by this. Regular readers of my blog and people who know me well will be aware of my obsession with magazines.

Today i came across this article in the guardian entitled ‘magazines will always have a place on people’s shelves’.

I’ve been pondering this era of transition we are in with litho printed books versus digital printing versions versus ebooks for ages. All have their place and i believe there’s room for every medium. In fact, as an avid reader i feel spoilt that i now have a choice. Sometimes i love reading a newspaper or magazine on my iPad as it gives me the opportunity to interact in a way the printed version can’t. More often than not i will wait in anticipation for a magazine subscription to come through the letterbox or to go and browse in a bookshop for my next guilty pleasure. Those moments of making myself a cup of herbal or green tea and sitting down to absorb the beautiful pages, the smell, the touch and the feeling a printed book or magazine gives me is priceless. Also, i love taking my mt tapes and a pencil and scribbling notes and ideas while drooling over the pages. Don’t you?

And then there is amazon, the big bad wolf and yet it has changed the way we purchase and read books and made it accessible to all. Another reason i am a fan of amazon book selling is the fact they support the domino project. ‘The domino project is a new way to think about publishing. Founded by seth godin and powered by amazon, we’re trying to change the way books are built, sold and spread.’ I’ve bought quite a few of their books, some in printed format some online and wholeheartedly support them.

But what about design books? What about the visual aspects? What about bookshelves and libraries? One of my favourite places to research and do some work in is the british library. There is no place like it and everytime i’m there i feel so proud to be living in london only a throwaway from this incredible piece of heritage.

And then we come to the beauty of book covers and spines. People spend ages rearranging their bookshelves according to colour, height, subject matter, authors, alphabetical order etc. I love changing around the layouts of my bookshelves and trick myself by often having to search for a title because it has been moved by me. Crazy i know but fun and it makes me feel as if my bookshelves change constantly and each book gets some attention.

As a designer, i’m fascinated by the graphics, the fonts, colours, embossing and generally the whole layout of a book. In view of this i thought it might be fun to show you some snippets of my library and the patterns that are forming in the photographs. Some of you might be interested in the titles themselves. Others might enjoy a colour reference or combination. Inspiration comes from everywhere right?

I mentioned the idea of book cover painting to the ever so clever nicola and guess what i found in my inbox this morning? Yep, thank you for this fantastic link.

I am curious to know what you guys think of all this, your tendencies when reading books and magazines and your views in general? Any opinions out there?

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  • Reply Nicola April 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Great photographs as usual Tina! Have read about a dozen of these in the photos and would happily read the rest!

    Interesting your link to the domino project as Walter Isaacson mentioned ‘textbooks’ as being one of the three next big things on Steve Jobs’ agenda.

    I went to an etsy talk at drink, shop, do and the charismatic chap introduced me to the name of Seth Godin (noticed on your bookshelves too) I received his e-mails for a while.

    Thank you for the complimentary mention, glad the link hit the spot!

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Ohhhh, am sure you’ve read many more books I have in my library:)

      I’ve been following Seth Godin forever and really liked when he started the Domino Project. Incidentally, did you see the fantastic Alan Yentob’s ‘Imagine’ on this subject called: Books – The last Chapter? It was fascinating…

      You’ve always got your fingers on the pulse. LOVE that about you!!! Thanks for suggesting The Society Club for our meet up.. x

  • Reply Chi @ Carousel April 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I love the colours and textures of the spines you captured in your photos – they’re making an excellent argument all by themselves! 😀

    I, too, love the tactile nature of books, the art, typography, even the satisfying thud as it lands on a table holds its own charm. I think the two mediums will always be appreciated because they each have something that the other cannot offer the reader.

    I like the fact that e-books do not take up any room in my home but I much prefer to leaf through books for reference.

    Oddly enough, I don’t recall coming back repeatedly to the same issue of an online magazine (for example) for inspiration as I do with printed versions. The latter just seem more convenient (and effective) for me somehow ……..

    P.S. Loved Nicola’s link – what a brilliant concept! 🙂

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

      I agree. There is room for both mediums.

      “even the satisfying thud as it lands on a table holds its own charm”.. great observation.

  • Reply caroline April 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Yet another great topic Tina-shouldn’t you be in publishing?! Couldn’t agree more with Chi-do love on#line mags as you could never afford to purchase so many paper editions, but I also don’t seem to refer back to them quite as often as the paper product. Will continue checking out the links tomorrow with a cuppa! 🙂

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Ha…. you think I should be in publishing, tourism, what’s next????

  • Reply design elements April 16, 2012 at 4:56 am

    great! I have Paul smith And Ignore Everybody on my bedside table. Happy new week


    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Hello Maria, thank you for your comment.

      Both great books. Hope you enjoy them:)

      You have a nice blog:)

  • Reply ursula (room to bloom) April 16, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Love this post Tina – and LOVE that link Nicola sent you. How fab and reminiscent of your earlier post on handbag paintings. I’m smitten.
    I much prefer paper – both books and magazines, as I too enjoy the physical qualities – especially of books. I had a lot of fun scanning your spines – lots of them are on my shelves too. x

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

      I know I know, that link is great!!!

      Pleased someone scanned my spines. Tried not to make it too obvious with some so a little detective work is needed:) happy we share the same taste in books. x

  • Reply Toni April 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I share your love of books and I’ll admit to buying books just because of their appearance! Shallow? I don’t think so!

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

      Nooooooo. I still buy stuff because of packaging. Graphic Design is in my blood so will always be seduced by great design.

  • Reply Sam Lennie (Interiorsam) April 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Nothing beats the look, feel and experience of a printed book or a magazine. Could I find some space in my life for the digital variety? Yes, in small doses on the ipad but I really don’t get the current trend for Kindles. Yes, I can see that it saves packing a load of books in your suitcase for a holiday and it’s lighter in your hand and easier to manipulate when laying horizontal on a sun lounger but would you ever go back and re-read a digital version? And you can’t cut/rip/scribble on a digital version either.

    I will never be converted… ever x

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Here’s a decisive woman after my own heart! You took the words out of my mouth xx

  • Reply Lauren April 17, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Oh, how this post resonates with me, dear! Long live the book! I saw a headline on CNN or somesuch today about the death of the printed book and I couldn’t even click on it. Too depressing. Unlike Sam, I do have a Kindle, and I find it endlessly helpful in certain situations (some she describes…and yes, I have re-read a digital version; I’m a re-reader!), but it doesn’t work in all. I’ve even purchased something on my Kindle to discover that I’d prefer to have it in printed form. I love your photos. I loved this post. Just what I needed to read today. xo

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Long live the book! Yay! I wish you could watch the BBC program I referred to before. Here’s the link again:

      It will help you to not shut your eyes but confront reality. Don’t believe the printed book will ever die but technology is bringing about changes and I try to embrace them too.
      I don’t know about you, but it took me forever to change from film to digital photography. It was definitely a grieving process for me. Now, I couldn’t possible blog like this if still using film so there are advantages and disadvantages to it all. For me, the smell, touch and look of printed matter will always reign!!! x

  • Reply Theresa April 17, 2012 at 3:05 am

    I love looking at all the spines of your books. Love. I really enjoy seeing what books are on people’s bookshelves as much as I like seeing interior snapshots of their home. It’s like a little glimpse into their life.
    I am fan of both printed and digital books. If the book is one that I would like to have on my bookshelf after I’m done reading it, I will purchase the printed version. If the book is just a light read for book club, I will buy the digital version. That’s how I break down the two forms. Now, magazines that started out in printed form I still like to read in that form, not digitally…for whatever reason.
    I love libraries. I try to go once a week with the kids. Sadly, our city library is nothing special, but I still love it and I am grateful we have one. Will they still be around when the kids are older? Who knows.
    I just pulled The Alchemist off the shelf last week. It’s sitting on my desk as a reminder to reread.
    As always, great post, Tina!

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

      I feel the same. What I love best when visiting people’s homes is to look at what makes their homes ‘theirs’. What does the interior tell me about ‘them’. That’s one issue I have with traditional interior design. People buying a style. That’s not taking “a little glimpse into their life”. That’s showing me that they have money and employed someone to buy them stuff to decorate their home.

      Yes, sometimes, I’m interested in a business book for reference or so. I will buy the digital version for speed and because I know I need some information in there. If it’s a book that is full of nuggets then I want to own it and scribble all over it. As I said, we are lucky to have a choice in the era we live in.

      I ADORE libraries and LOVE that you take your kids every week. It doesn’t matter how fancy it is, it will have a long lasting effect on them and that’s the point! Yes, I’m convinced libraries will be around but they will change with the times so you’ll be able to online read etc as well as take out a book. I’m forever greatful I can experience the incredible British Library on my doorstep.

      Ah, The Alchemist, how I love to dip in and re-read sections… x

  • Reply Jennifer April 17, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Tina – I don’t own a kindle or ipad yet and love my books so much I don’t know when I’ll make the transition to digital format. I have a number of books from my grandmother that are almost 100 years old that I also treasure and read from time to time. I also look forward to the time each month when my mailbox is crowed with new monthly issues and curling up with a cup of tea and the new Vogue or Elle Decor always makes my week. I love Jane Mount and own her “fashion bookshelf” print – it hangs in the hallway outside the entrance to my closet. Aren’t they fantastic? I think I found mine on 20x 200. Thank you for another great discussion!

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Take your time love! However, what I will say about transition to digital format is that it’s a great experience in its own right.

      I remember doing a research project for Wallpaper’s first digital edition and the possibilities were endless. I was like a kid in a sweetshop. The interactivity was incredible and so sometimes I like to read some magazine editions on my iPad, not the staple ones.

      Yes, when they hit the mailbox I’m happy too..

      Oh, I LOVE that you own the ‘fashion bookshelf’ print. That’s so you and combines two of your passions. I can’t make up my mind which one to go for… so many choices. I will definitely get one and what a great present for book lovers, right??

  • Reply Erin April 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I move a lot (this year will actually mark the first time since 2004 that I haven’t moved apartments) and I always complain about having to pack up all my books and how heavy they are to move…but I’d never part with them. Sure, I’ve donated a bunch over the years when I outgrew them or didn’t feel the need to keep every paperback I read that I found underwhelming (I’ll NEVER part with the ones I love), but books for me are a necessity. It’s like that John Waters’ quote, “If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t f**k them.” 🙂 Reading is sexy! Collecting books you love is amazing, and ones that have beautiful spines and covers become like actual pieces of art in your house. Your collection is just beautiful.

    As far as e-readers like the Kindle or the Nook go…I’m very anti. I don’t know, it just doesn’t appeal to me. If you want to read a book, read a book, don’t a tv screen. It works for a lot of people, which is great! Just for me, nothing will ever beat the feel of actually holding a book in your hands. I get a lot of enjoyment out of how a cover feels, how the weight of it against my palms feels. Better stop now, I’m starting to sound pornographic! xo

    • Reply tina April 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Wow, you do move a lot!!!

      ” but books for me are a necessity. It’s like that John Waters’ quote, “If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t f**k them.” 🙂 Reading is sexy!

      You are so right, maybe that’s where I have gone wrong with men??

      Well thank you, my dear! I love my books and ‘library’. In fact, when I am parted from it for too long I need to get back ‘home’.

      Funny you should say that, as I was writing my post I started thinking I must stop for sounding too pornographic! What the heck, it’s good and healthy pornography…:)

  • Reply Heather @ Canal Notes April 18, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Tina – what a thoughtful and insightful post! Certainly a hot topic these days – I thought I’d never ever want to read e-books instead of real books – what a ridiculous idea! But I admit that I have become a convert – I don’t read exclusively digital books, but for holiday reading, it’s so much more convenient. Even when traveling, I like to buy real magazines at the airport – part of my travel ritual – and anyway, for takeoff and landing, one can’t use the electronic devices. At home, I do still love to read a real book and I can’t imagine how a digital version could replace my collection of beautiful design & art books. And there is a something about a beautifully bound classic that can never be matched by an e-book. So I say Bravo to this post! Well said.

    • Reply tina April 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      I so know how you feel. I also believed I would ‘NEVER’ read e-books… yay, right…

      I LOVE buying magazines for a flight. I ponder for days thinking which one I’ll buy. The anal part in me then buys something I wouldn’t want to keep as it gets all creased and destroyed..:) yep, that’s me, I admit and hold up my hands!

      Art & Design Books… how ever? I wonder whether in the future someone will come up with a way… be interesting to see.

      Thank you for your lovely comment and roll on 28th… x

  • Reply Holly April 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    What a fun post! Even if I didn’t know you and saw these images, I would instantly know that you value learning and knowledge – in a well rounded way.

    The romance of printed materials can not be captured by e-versions of anything. But as someone who values technology, the environment and a minimalistic lifestyle, I push myself to like e-versions because they are in tune with my values. I especially like online versions of magazines because of the direct links to things you see on the pages – something that’s not as easy to accomplish with a printed book, especially for lazy people who want instant gratification, like me ;). But I’m also fascinated by online mags because of that quick impact, same way I’m fascinated by social media I guess. Ideas can be spread wider and faster, making our world smaller.

    That said, I believe like many others here that there is room for both mediums. Traditional books as we know them should not die. That would be terrible. There’s something about printed books and magazines that’s tangible, romantic, unique and wonderful and that makes us feel good.

    The Ideal Bookshelf is such a great project. I love it 🙂

    I will be doing more research on the Domino Project, so thanks for that link too.

    Always a joy to stop by here Tina 🙂


    • Reply tina April 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Aww. Thank you. You know learning, knowledge and self-development are everything to me. I am an eternal student and hope to be until the day I die!

      Why am I not surprised about that?? I kinda knew you would say that but secretly wondered whether it’s your chosen path that makes you go all technology and minimal or your current living situation.. hmm, I still wonder!!

      It’s refreshing to read that most of you here share the view that there’s room for both mediums. Technology is here to stay and I say let’s embrace it and make use of both. It is a bit like medicine. A mixture of conventional and complimentary is best in my view.

      Nicola certainly hit the jackpot with the link:) x

  • Reply Sophie April 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    What a great discussion Tina, sorry I’m a bit late to it!

    My mum is a librarian so I’m often in convo about the nature of reading and appreciating written material and how it’s changing. I also have the benefit of mum bringing home lots of interior magazines for me to peruse when I’m visiting.

    I too love the look and feel of a book and magazine and I can’t see the printed medium dying out completely.

    Thanks Nicola too for the link to the Ideal Bookshelf – what a beautiful gift these would make. I know a few people who’d rather see their bookshelf painted than the inside of their handbag (although I love that concept too!)

    So lovely to hear your thoughts as ever Tina 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you on the 28th xx

    • Reply tina April 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Wow. Your mum is a librarian?? Lucky you!

      When I was young I always dreamt about owning a bookshop or working in one. I actually like watching ‘You’ve got mail’ for that reason!
      Did you ever read 84 Charing Cross Road?

      Ha. yes, painting of bookshelfs are great and so is the inside of a handbag. Reminder to myself: send stuff out to Nathalie for your painting.

      Good to have you back. You have been missed x

  • Reply Sophie April 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I know, I am pretty lucky I guess!

    ‘You’ve Got Mail’ is a guilty secret favourite film of both mum and me. We love it. I watch it every Autumn. The romantic in me still hopes one day I’ll be given a bouquet of sharpened pencils come September. Did you know it’s based on ‘Shop Around the Corner’ the 1940s film starring James Stewart. Not a book shop, but I recommend it – very sweet and funny.

    I’ve actually never heard of 84 Charing Cross Road but I’ve just looked it up and I’ll definitely have to acquire a copy! Thanks.

    Happy to be back and enjoying reading your posts again 🙂 x

    • Reply tina April 19, 2012 at 12:13 am

      Yes, knew it was based on film with J Stewart. This and Pretty Woman I watch every year and now The Bodyguard is on that list too.

      I actually like rather heavy, intellectual, indie and World cinema so watching chick flicks from time to time is such a joy.

      I think you would really like 84 CCR.

      Thanks darling x

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