Creativity and Design: Taking Inspiration From the Best

15.02.2024|5 min reading
Caracal's Library

Discover Caracal's Library: Some Of Our Favorites Editions

At Caracal, we don’t just stare at our screens. Our attention to detail and inspiration for some of our projects begin with our library. Over the years, since our inception in 2017, we’ve gathered a lot of different sources, books and manuals to improve our skills and stay at the top of the game.

As designers and web developers, we have the responsibility to expand our knowledge in order to provide our clients with the best work that can be delivered.

In the following lines, you’ll discover some of our favorites editions, whether they are old or new, as well as an explanation of why they should catch your attention.

These are the books that guide our creative work.

Grid Systems, Joseph Muller-Brockman, published by Niggli.

Josef Müller-Brockmann, born in 1914 and deceased in 1996, studied architecture, design and history of art before starting his career as a graphic designer and teacher. Müller-Brockmann’s work is recognized for its simple designs and his usage of fonts, shapes, as well as colors. Today, his style still inspires graphic designers throughout the world.

Grid Systems

This book, Grid Systems, provides rules for the function and use of grid systems from 8 to 32 grid fields, which can be used for the most varied of projects. But it doesn’t stop there, as the 3D grid systems is treated as well by Müller-Brockmann in this edition.

In this book, the reader can discover directions for using all of the grid systems possible, through various examples of working correctly on a conceptual level.

To put it simply, this is a guide from the profession for the profession.

Motion, Karel Martens, published by ROMA.

A graphic system of form and overlay that resonates with a unique language of texture and color that we love.

This book was part of Motion, an exhibition by Karel Martens, dutch artist, graphic designer, and educator.


Co-edited by Martens and Julie Peeters, this book’s content comes from the video Not for Resale – a sequence of photographs from Martens’ studio wall in Hoog Keppel (2000).

The videos Lost & Found (2004), and Tol (2008) are also included in the book, as well as a transcript of a conversation between Martens and director Chris Fitzpatrick, followed by an afterword.

Hanzi Kanji Hanja, vol.2, published by Victionary.

From logotypes to typography, we are often inspired by Asia and its ability to transform the old into the modern.

Indeed, the age of the internet and the media gave birth to a growing interest in Asian culture and its various languages. Han characters in particular, which are used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, are becoming more than text-based communication channels. Due to the structure of the characters themselves, they can be used as flexible design elements that bring abstract visual concepts to life.

Hanzi Kanji Hanja

As a follow-up to the original release in 2015, this second volume focuses more on the former (i.e. Hanzi) with over 100 projects that give the ancient type form a fresh and modern facelift. Like the first volume, the book comprises logotypes and their applications to offer readers a closer insight into the art of brand identities, posters, packaging, advertisements, etc.

Readers will also discover case studies and interviews to serve as an inspiring reference point for designers of all cultures.

Piet Oudolf at Work, Phaidon editions.

Always curious about different graphic systems, we look at the work of Piet Oudolf and his gardens as a real inspiration for the arrangement of shapes, colors, and seasons.

Indeed, this book is a major monograph on the Dutch garden designer, featuring the largest collection of his drawings ever published. This volume showcases the gardens he created throughout his career and across the globe – from New York’s High Line to the Vitra Campus in Germany.

Piet Oudolf

The book offers insight into the creative practice of Oudolf, both from a horticultural and artistic perspective.

Readers will discover unprecedented insight into his design process, working methods, and inspirations, as well as original sketches and drawings. This book is significant, not only for the largest collection of Oudolf’s drawings ever published, but also for its inclusion of brand-new work and gatefolds as well as tip-ins to explain key designing concepts.

Jens Quistgaard, Stig Guldberg, published by Phaidon.

This book is the first monograph on the life and work of Danish-American designer Jens Quistgaard, considered as one of the founders of Scandinavian Modern style. He spent 30 years as chief designer of the American company Dansk Designs, for which he designed nearly 4,000 iconic products.

His design philosophy was the following: utilitarian, everyday items should function harmoniously. With this approach, he influenced everything from spoons and pans to crockery and pepper mills, and is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.

Jens Quitsgaard

Today, Quistgaard’s work is represented at major museums in Europe and in the USA, including Design Museum Denmark, MoMA, New York, and the British Museum, London, with many of his designs still in production to this day.

With never-before-seen sketches, archival photography, case studies, ephemera, and an illustrated inventory of his designs, this book delves deep into Quistgaard’s life and work to reveal his contribution to design history.

African Modernism, edited by Manuel Herz with Ingrid Schröder, Hans Focketyn, and Julia Jamrozik, published by Park Books.

In the 1950s and 1960s, most African countries gained independence from their respective colonial power. Architecture was one of the main means through which the newly formed countries could express their national identity, newly gained.

This volume presents the close relationship between architecture and nation-building in countries such as Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia.

African Modernism

It features as well one hundred buildings with brief descriptive texts, images, site plans, and selected floor plans. The vast majority of images were taken by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster.

Their photographs document the buildings in their present state. Each country is portrayed in an introductory text and a timeline of historic events.

A fascinating exploration of the 50s and 60s african architecture methodology, that still inspires us today.

Conclusion: You are what you eat

Creativity doesn’t come without consuming ideas and content first. What you put in your head directly impacts your output at work, hence why we really look out for the best inspiration to give the best of ourselves to our clients.

In this article, we gave you 6 examples of books that inspire our work and that we can only encourage you to read. We might share other sources that inspire us in the coming weeks, stay tuned for more!


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