Mélanie Johnsson


Stories from behind the scenes...

Resources: 8 inspiring books


1•The Creative Shopkeeper

by Lucy Johnston

This book is a wonderful resource for anyone thinking of opening their own cool shop…anywhere in the world.

And that’s something I’ve always dreamt of doing! So obviously this book is a real treasure trove for me. Full of tips and tricks from shopkeepers around the globe, I’m keeping it close by for when I actually take the plunge and open my own little shop…I thought this book was also very inspiring when it comes to interior design. You would still love it even though you don’t have plans to have your own shop, ever! This book is a little visual treat for anyone that likes good and quirky design.


2•How to think like a great graphic designer

by Debbie Millman

I precisely remember getting this book when I was still working as a graphic designer in London and reading it during my lunch breaks at the park…

If you don’t know it already, I LOVE Debbie Millman. I have been listening to her podcast for as long as I can remember. She’s super inspiring and has a very unique voice in the design world. Her work is great but what I love most about her is her dedication to shine a light on why design truly matters. This book is her interviewing a lot of other talented designers and trying to unravel the mysteries behind the creative process.


3•40 Days of Dating

by Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman

You’ve probably already heard of Jessica and Timothy…If not because of this experiment, you’ve surely already seen both their work.

Jessica’s work is bold, colourful and ground-breaking. Timothy’s? Fun, heartfelt and super bold too. I picked up this book after listening to Debbie Millman’s conversation with them on her podcast. I thought it was such a weird (weird is always good), fun and thought-provoking experiment and I loved reading about it! It brings up themes that I care about: love, relationships, mental health…And obviously, the inner pages of the book all look amazing.


4•How to make books

by Esther K. Smith

This is one of the first books I ever bought when I first came to the UK. It was a lonnnng time ago (on one of my trips to visit my brother when he was still living in Bristol).

I remember seeing the book and thinking: “Oh I want to make books so bad! Show me how!”. Although this is not a book about graphic design, it’s a book about crafts and the idea that you can make anything with your own hands, some paper and some glue (and some other bits too, sometimes). I love the idea that anyone can make an impression by creating something from scratch: not fancy, not pretentious, but just genuinely fun and inspirational.



by Robert Poynton

I love the Do/books…All of them are awesome. I own a few of them, but this one definitely is my favourite.

The title probably gives away a lot, but that’s what attracted me to it (obviously). After reading this a few years ago, I changed the way I was working and tried to develop a better life/work balance. This small but mighty book made me realise that it’s ok to take time off, to have days off, to not do anything for a while. It’s ok not to be inspired, it’s ok to feel fed up. It’s ok to live your life and not just work your life. A must-read for freelancers!


6•The Secret Lives of Colour

by Kassia St Clair

Haven’t you seen this awesome book before? And its wonderful cover design? If you’re a fan of colours and colour theory, then, I advise you to get it next time to stumble upon it!

I’ve always loved reading about colours, colour theory and how some colours make us feel and why. This book is about colours, but not just about any plain colour. This book is about colours that have names you’ve probably never heard of before; it’s about where they come from, how they are used, how they got their funny names, what they might mean…I still refer to this book when I choose a colour for a project, to make sure I truly understand the history and psychology behind the colours I pick. This book is a treasure trove for people in love with colours!


7•How to give up plastic

by Will McCallum

Last summer, Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace (That’s an awesome job title, right?) traveled to the Turner Contemporary in Margate to talk about his new book “How to give up plastic” and share with us his precious knowledge and wisdom.

What better way to learn about a book than to listen to its very own author talk about it! Will really inspired me to make an even bigger change when it comes to plastic, and although I still find it difficult to go completely plastic-free, this book is a great handbook for anyone that needs to know the why and the how. Easy to read, '“How to give up plastic” makes it obvious to any reader than the world needs us to make a change NOW (and not tomorrow) and that our beautiful oceans do really need our help, NOW.



by Niki Brantmark

Finishing up with a book that isn’t about art, design or illustration. I wanted to end this list with a book about life and how to live mindfully, beautifully and peacefully.

I’ve always been attracted to Scandinavian lifestyle and the idea behind Lagom (my grandad was Swedish, so Lagom very probably runs in my blood). So when I first saw this little book and its beautiful illustrations, I was smitten from the get go. This book is a guide to bring balance and peace to your life, your space, your mind. It’s full of tips and tricks to achieve that Swedish art of living that everybody seems to envy. You can pick and choose things that resonate with you and leave the rest. It’s like a nice breath of fresh air, and it’ll definitely make you smile.


Hope you enjoyed this book selection.

I will be back soon (well, soonish) with other things that will (hopefully) inspire you!