I'm not immune to the fact that most humans love making lists. Here are some of the things that influenced my thinking and how I approach work, life, and the act of creation. I'm constantly reading and finding new things, so expect this list to change regularly. Last updated in July 2022.

Books

“Art & fear” by David Bayles, Ted Orland
“Art & fear” by David Bayles, Ted Orland

Anyone in the business or practice of making things (not just art) should read this book.

“BUILD” by Tony Fadell
“BUILD” by Tony Fadell

It's a no-bullshit guide to creating great products from one of the best in the business. I've had a lot of fun reading it.

”In the dust of this planet” by Eugene Thacker
”In the dust of this planet” by Eugene Thacker

I discovered this book because of a Radiolab episode, which is worth checking out. With the world constantly challenging the limits of our understanding, this book offers a refreshing perspective of the horror genre as a philosophical lens.

“Sketching user experiences“ by Bill Buxton
“Sketching user experiences“ by Bill Buxton

It's a simple book, but I still consider it a formative reference when exploring options quickly through sketching and the value of that process in informing a designer's thinking.

“Ways of seeing” by John Berger
“Ways of seeing” by John Berger

“We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves.”

“Don't make me think, Revisited” by Steve Krug
“Don't make me think, Revisited” by Steve Krug

I'd recommend it to any designer. Making usable interfaces shouldn't be a complicated endeavor, and this book summarizes essential concepts to the product design practice.

“Linha do Tempo do Design Gráfico no Brasil” by Chico Homem de Melo
“Linha do Tempo do Design Gráfico no Brasil” by Chico Homem de Melo

Unfortunately a rare find nowadays, and only in Portuguese. It documents in a timeline the development of graphic design in Brazil. It gave me a different perspective about my own country and shed some light on the mutt complex that can affect Brazilian designers sometimes.

CIA's Simple field sabotage manual (1944)
CIA's Simple field sabotage manual (1944)

Developed by the CIA in the 1940s for field agents. The similarity with the modern workplace is uncanny. One of my favorite points: “When possible, refer all matters to committees, for ‘further study and consideration.’ Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.”

“Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud
“Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud

I consider this an essential read for anyone creating visuals that convey information. This book is less about comic books than you might think.

“Time management for mortals” by Oliver Buckerman
“Time management for mortals” by Oliver Buckerman

“(...) mortality makes it impossible to ignore the absurdity of living solely for the future.”  Please read this book.

“Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture” by Marvin Harris
“Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture” by Marvin Harris

Very much a product of the 1970s research writing but still a great read about how to approach cultures from an open perspective. The field of Anthropology is a reliable source of inspiration and techniques for designers.

Art

“Oak Tree” by Michael Craig Martin
“Oak Tree” by Michael Craig Martin

This piece sums up my fascination with contemporary art and the courage to play with assumptions inside our minds. The work loses a lot of its power if paired with interpretations, so I'll keep mine to myself this time.

Las Meninas: Is This The Best Painting In History?
Las Meninas: Is This The Best Painting In History?

Regarded by many as one of the most analyzed paintings in the Western Art history. I'm fascinated by how this painting was one of the first to blend the role of the artist in the artistic process. This video by Nerdwriter explores that topic.

Meet the composer: Meredith Monk
Meet the composer: Meredith Monk

An amazing podcast about an artist that fascinates me. “Living legend Meredith Monk is a composer, vocalist, dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker. While all of these descriptors are technically on point, none quite gets to the bones of who she is as an artist. Meredith seamlessly blends these media into arresting performance pieces that feel like rituals – rites from another dimension. While most of her music has no text, it somehow communicates volumes.”

Coca-cola project by Cildo Meirelles
Coca-cola project by Cildo Meirelles

Simple but powerful piece of art. Back in the 1970s, Brazil was under a fierce military dictatorship, broadly supported by the US. As a form of protest, the artist stamped Coke bottles with messages like “Yankees go home” or instructions on how to make a molotov cocktail. He later put them back into circulation for anyone to buy. The Tate page I linked above provides some fascinating context about the piece.

Music

Solo Piano II
Solo Piano II

Piano album by Chilly Gonzales, who's a fascinating character. I think I've listened to this one more than 200 times while working, decompressing, or when I need some empty mental space.

Clube da Esquina
Clube da Esquina

By Milton Nascimento and Lô Borges. If I could choose my favorite album of Brazilian music, this would be the one.

VENEZUELA 70: Cosmic Visions of a Latin American Earth – Venezuelan Experimental Rock in the 1970s
VENEZUELA 70: Cosmic Visions of a Latin American Earth – Venezuelan Experimental Rock in the 1970s

This album is a trip. It's a combination or dizzying sounds one more surprising than the other. The thing only the 70s can give.

Tools

Milanote
Milanote

I don't think there's a stable product that combines note-taking with visual thinking yet. Milanote gets close, and the company has been around for a while, so I'm not as worried about the product shutting down six months from now.

Raindrop.io
Raindrop.io

Recent discovery. You can save almost anything – links, images, files, text highlights. Paraphrasing a journalist I can't remember, you're only as good as your sources. This tool allows me remember them well.

Things
Things

A simple to-do app, with a great amount of care and craft in it. I try fancier options every once in a while, but I always end up coming back to this one.

Fantastical
Fantastical

I hate calendars. This one makes things more tolerable, which is a big compliment in my case.

OP-1 by Teenage Engineering
OP-1 by Teenage Engineering

All-in-one synthesizer with a lot of design love baked into it. Endless source of fun for someone who's not musically inclined like me.

Oura Ring
Oura Ring

My early years as a professional swimmer made me appreciate the impact of sleep in general performance. This little gadget helps me keep track of that.

Remarkable 2 E-ink tablet
Remarkable 2 E-ink tablet

This tablet the best way I found to disconnect from technology i.e. bright screens, and focus while still benefitting from infinite space and flexibility. I love paper, and this was the best compromise.

MacBook Pro 16"
MacBook Pro 16"

Basic tool of choice for most people. Powerful enough, can take it anywhere, great craft.

Simple Analytics
Simple Analytics

The privacy-friendly way to track visitors on my website. Simple to implement and use, no cookies needed.