I grew up in a house of Readers, and now I am proud to say I’m helping raise the next generation of Readers. We are the ones who have a well-used library card, who always have a book in hand, and have to keep a slip of paper on the fridge to keep track of them all. We share them, trade them with friends, and in my house, reading under the covers with a book light is greatly encouraged.
The reading-design connection may seem like an anecdotal stretch, but I’ve known enough designers who are avid Readers to stand by it with confidence. Having a love of words creates an intrinsic love of the way words are shaped, spoken, and used. The more you read, the better you’ll be able to use them successfully in your work.
You must read to be familiar with words.
Does this sound overly simple? I don’t think so. When you spend more time reading for pleasure, you’ll fall in love with language and word origins. Besides, reading is just plain FUN. The more familiar you are with what words mean, the more you’ll be able to select the right fonts and styles to display them. In addition, your clients will appreciate your eagle eye when you spot incorrect grammar or spelling—that’s an extra asset you bring to the table.
You must read frequently to learn how to lay words out.
Being an insatiable Reader exposes you to many page layouts, whether in a magazine, webpage, novel, or children’s book. You’ll be familiar with huge amounts of text, or have an idea of what to do when you barely have any words to work with, to make the layout work. For a wonderful example, check out Dr. Seuss, who was a master at using just a few words to tell his stories.
You also have to read more in your field.
Staying current in your field is essential, to know what is going on—to keep up with trends, to know what’s working and what’s not, and what excites you. Celebrate words in all forms: blogs, magazines, sites, books.
Author’s Note: The word “voracious” conjures up images of Cookie Monster ravenously stuffing whatever items are in reach into his cookie-hole. Watch this. No cookies, but lots and lots of books. You won’t be disappointed.