One of the important things to do is to feed your brain, partially to grow new stuff from it but also to keep current and to keep your senses sharp. For this reason I like to continue studying design literature. Sometimes more build on theory, but then again more for visual stimulus.The internet is always a great place to kick your creativity into motion, but sometimes it is richer to have something in your hands, something for your coffee table or to study while passing time in the restroom.

BEFORE & AFTER gives you both worlds, you can download the issues as PDF files and study them on your computer or you can order the printed versions. As useful PDF’s are to search a manual on a single topic and to solve a specific situation, nothing beats holding a magazine or a book in your hands, smelling the color of the print and to feel the slickness or roughness of the paper. Design is very often a visual thing, but try to train all of your senses and beauty becomes so much deeper, multi-leveled and richer in an instance.

BEFORE & AFTER is filled with very practical examples and a simple, light and fun approach to graphic design. It shows you thinks like how to design a brochure, a calendar, a leaflet, a logo or a presentation. What makes it stand out is the ease of how techniques are presented and the friendliness of the design. As it is not a big, fat and heavy book to overwhelm you, but short articles in a format that is easy to digest, you can brush up on your skills or broaden your horizon without effort. Mostly it is really fun reading the articles and next to very good type teachings it gives you some really cool ideas, for example of how to create a cute little chart… who says that a measurement conversion list has to look bland and can not be cute, colorful and a visual attractive magnetic hanger on the fridge in your kitchen?

If you want to dig in all the way you can also buy their books from Peach Pit, but if you don’t want to jump directly onto the paid bandwagon you can download several issues from BEFORE & AFTER for free :

0363-120.gif0363 | Design a logo of lettersAre you known by your initials? Turn those letters into a terrific signature!28 pages, 2.6MB | Free Download

0472-120.gif0472 | How to cool a hot photoWhen your photo can’t be changed, surround it with cool color.19 pages, 2.3MB | Free Download

0269-120.gif0269 | What’s the right typeface for text?How to choose a typeface for clear, easy reading over long distances.13 pages, 1MB | Free Download

You either subscribe to 32 articles in individual PDF downloads for $24 or for 4 PRINT issues (8 articles each) which includes the PDF versions for free. The printed version comes pre-punched with 3 holes for easy storage and later reference in a binder.