Books. I’m addicted to books. No getting round it, I wouldn’t want to live without books.
I love the way they’re displayed on shelves, the way they’re grouped together, the smell of the print, the feel of the paper, the dust jackets, everything about books allows to me to get a little bit lost and away from reality.
I remember reading a lot as a child, I was was like the one in The Sound of Music who had her nose in a book the whole time. It started with Janet and John at school, then Enid Blyton and I have vivid memories of visiting the little library in Spennymoor renewing my books every week. My mam used to joke every Christmas that all I was getting was a set of encyclopaedias. I was genuinely disappointed every year when I didn’t.
I could spend hours in bookshops and even before I had my son I would buy children books for their illustrations and beautiful typography. One of my favourite coffee shops is Waterstones in Newcastle as you get to read the books at the same time. Bliss.
Content doesn’t really matter, it could be art, travel, cookery, fiction, design, photography, they are all a huge source of inspiration for me. Whenever I have a new design project to get my teeth into, the first place I turn for inspiration is my bookshelves. Layout, colour, image style, typography, they’re the best place to start. They are art in themselves and add character, warmth and personality to every space. I don’t know how people live without bookcases full of books in their home.
On a recent trip to BALTIC in Gateshead I realised that the true treasures in there is not the exhibitions – apologies to the artists – but the amount of books they have. The library is the best source of art and design books I’ve ever seen and I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when I hit the shop itself. I need at least one weekly fix.
And don’t get me started on magazines…