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Summer Design Book List, Buzz-Worthy Brands, and Artists to Know

Go vintage with us this month in The Hart Beat, explore high-end brands we came across this month doing design proud, more artists that make us go “YEH!” and grab a pen to jot down our list of creative summer reads that are waiting to be devoured.

Summer Design Reads

With Summer knocking at our door, it’s a great time to start building a reading list to keep the creative juices flowing and stay out of the heat (Las Vegas local here–It gets hot). So, for May here are five books on our design and art-related reading to-do list. In no particular order:

Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide By John Cleese Buy it

A collection of reflections about the creative life and process of famous comedian John Cleese. The tone of the text is just as insightful as it is entertaining. While Cleese brings the humor and levity you would expect of him, he also treats his subject with reverence and provides intelligent and practical advice for living and working creatively. The author drops nuggets and knowledge that are useful and applicable to all creative processes and professions. For example, overcome panic in the early stages of the process, steer clear of cockiness, and ask for second opinions. Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide is a speed read that lives up to its title by delivering concise truths about the creative process.

“The greatest killer of creativity is an interruption. It pulls your mind away from what you want to be thinking about. Research has shown that, after an interruption, it can take eight minutes for you to return to your previous state of consciousness, and up to twenty minutes to get back into a state of deep focus.”

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind By Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire Buy it A scientific journey into the creative mind. The chapters explore common traits of highly creative people, such as passion, intuition, sensitivity, and the ability to channel adversity into art. The text also touches on the messiness of many historical figures’ lives and processes, such as Picasso, David Foster Wallace, and Frida Kahlo. The book sets out to explore and explain seeming contradictions between what we as a society understand about creativity and how the trait manifests. Wired to Create is a quest to understand the hyper-inventive mind and a bid to pinpoint the qualities that make creatives tick and thrive.

“The common strands that seemed to transcend all creative fields was an openness to one’s inner life, a preference for complexity and ambiguity, an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray, the ability to extract order from chaos, independence, unconventionality, and a willingness to take risks.”

Jean Jullien

Buy It The debut monograph on the globally-lauded artist, filled with his joyful, witty paintings, illustrations, collaborations, and more – includes never-before-seen artwork and personal sketchbooks, giving insight into his artistic practice. Jean Jullien’s work is instantly recognizable and wide in its scope. Known for his astutely observed and witty depictions of everyday life, his illustrations place expressive characters in relatable environments and act as a visual commentary on life. Organized in three sections – Personal, Collaboration, and Public – this fulsome book explores Jullien’s approach to art and covers his expansive career, from his earliest creative partnerships to his progression into painting, while also offering a first-hand look at his process with sketches and never-before-seen works. Unique and comprehensive in its scope, this is a must-have book for every fan of Jullien's work.

The War Of Art: Break Through Your Blocks & Win Your Inner Battles by Steven Pressfield

This one gets recommended to me every year. 2022 is the year I read it! Who’s with me?

Buy it Think of The War of Art as tough love...for yourself.

Since 2002, The War of Art has inspired people around the world to defeat "resistance"; to recognize and knock down dream-blocking barriers and to silence the naysayers within us. Resistance kicks everyone's butt, and the desire to defeat it is equally as universal. The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

Though it was written for writers, it has been embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, military service members, and thousands of others around the world.

Abstract City

By Christoph Niemann

If you know me. You know I am a huge Christoph Niemann fan and also a lover of all things New York City (how cliché, I know, but at least I’m honest). This book came out in 2008 but I don’t own any Niemann books –So, it’s making the list this year!

In July 2008, illustrator and designer Christoph Niemann began Abstract City, a visual blog for the New York Times. His posts were inspired by the desire to re-create simple and everyday observations and stories from his own life that everyone could relate to. In Niemann’s hands, mundane experiences such as riding the subway or trying to get a good night’s sleep were transformed into delightful flights of visual fancy. The struggle to keep up with housework became a battle against adorable but crafty goblins, and nostalgia about New York manifested in simple but strikingly spot-on LEGO creations. This brilliantly illustrated collection of reflections on modern life includes all 16 of the original blog posts as well as a new chapter created exclusively for the book.

What are we missing? Dm us @harthousecreative with your book suggestions! We’re always seeking to add to our list as well.

Author/Editor: Jennifer Hart

Hart Beat

“It is easily overlooked that what is now called vintage was once brand new.”

Tony Visconti

Antiques fascinate me. Every piece has a story behind it. The essence of a personal brand could be encapsulated in one of these small objects that once belonged and now is found to be made anew. A pineapple ice bucket from a long-closed hotel where deals were made, love was had, and hearts were broken. A ruby studded flower pin worn by a 50’s housewife on her way to the market for no other reason than that it made her feel beautiful. Graphic patterns on vintage dresses and prints are sewn into fitted shorts or the backs of jean jackets made to last and leave a lasting impression. Nostalgia is powerful, even when we make it up.

I didn’t know I would walk away inspired by the Charleston Antique Mall’s Festival but inspired I was. So, inspired in fact that Tim and I made a new piece for the house based on a piece we picked up.

It’s a nice reminder that you don’t have to always go far to find something truly special. And the beat goes on…

Author/Editor: Jennifer Hart

High-End Brands with High-Level Design

Clean, high-performance formulas that improve your skin’s health.

Love that this brand is producing products that are cruelty-free and plant-powered. Their feed is professional and has a point-of-view. Beautiful.

A brand we can't help but love. Paired Up is a client of ours that has been hustling and succeeding at innovating and elevating style with the most unique and high-end sneakers out there. Keep an eye on this one. More big things to come from this talented group of guys.

An Urban Retreat by Viceroy. The vibe is so on point here. Love the crops. The color palette screams boutique and high-end. Really love the details like our little pup friend's bow tie. Can't wait to check this one out in person at some point.

Author: Kate Frabbiele

Editor: Jennifer Hart

A few Instagram accounts filling their feeds with top-notch design inspiration in May.

The more you look at them, the more beautiful they get. Clever, abstract, and conceptual. We found these layouts striking and packed with story–as "brand bakers" we love a good story. Thanks for making us think with these wonderfully artistic pieces Ms. Saiete.

The patterns and palettes are eye-catching and playful here. Rich with texture, they also certainly brightened our day! Ms. Ortega we love what you are doing! There is so much joy infused into this work. And the world could use a whole lot more joy. Inspired.

Is anyone else contemplating a dining ware re-do? The modern shapes and palettes have us scrolling this feed for a while. The combo of hand-made texture with contemporary style makes these so special. Thanks for "throwing" us a cup full of inspiration, Yasemin!

Author: Kate Frabbiele

Editor: Jennifer Hart

That’s it for this month’s squeeze to get your creative juices flowing. To learn more about brands we've worked with follow @harthousecreative on Instagram or check out the testimonials on our site. Keep creating Hartists!

Hart House Creative Team


Know an inspiring maker? Dm, us @harthousecreative on Instagram for a possible feature, and give us a follow while you're there to fill your feed with positive design and art vibes.

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Hart House Creative, its employees, partners, The Squeeze, and guest writers make no guarantees for results. Methods and marketing suggestions are based on prior knowledge and with the intent to inspire business owners and other creatives. Every client is different with different goals. None will be held liable for any negative results achieved from implementing suggestions from our website.

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