Earlier this year I came across this book while at Photoshop World. With one quick flick of the pages, I immediately had to have it! Design by Nature, Using Universal Forms and Principles in Design by Maggie Macnab is by far the best design book I’ve come across in some time.
The introduction of the book starts, “At five years of age, I stood above the clouds at sunset atop a mountain with my father. He told me to never forget the moment. I never have.” And I was hooked. “By recognizing the principles, patterns, and processes of nature, you can create intuitively elegant and aesthetic design at will rather than by chance.”
The book is divided in three sections: Memory: Remembering What We Know; Matter: Understand and Create; and Motion: The Experience Enhanced. This is a book I could not put down, and I read it from cover to cover. I still find myself picking it up at different moments and drifting off into re-reading sections, like “Wabi-sabi and Grunge” (which alone is food for thought) or “Using Nature’s Elements in Design.”
The book is written for designers and creative thinkers of all types.
It includes insightful profiles of guest designers, quotes, concepts, learning objectives, put-it-into-practice exercises, images, illustrations, and even external links for more information.
Macnab’s skillful weave of compelling text and imagery strikes just the right balance to convey the subject matter and provide the reader with a better understanding of how to incorporate nature’s shapes and patterns into meaningful design.
Important to note is this is not a new book with a pretty cover and nothing of substance inside. Instead, it has a clean cover and an inside bursting with nearly 300 pages of stimulating, provocative information written by a person passionate and knowledgeable about her craft. I cannot say enough good things about this book, and it is an absolute keeper. No matter what your present design skill, chances are you will benefit from reading it. Published by New Riders, it lists for $44.99 although you can get it through Amazon for less. It’s also available for download on your Kindle/iPad/eReader.