February 28, 2021

At Literation, Michelle Ruiz Explores the Eclectic Range of Books that Inspire Designers and Creative Practitioners

What are you working on—on the side?

Literation is an Instagram and web project featuring designers, artists, and studios, who share some books, zines, published ephemera and so on which specifically inspire their creative practice. The books that my guests share are so varied. Some have unique, one-of-kind items, some just have one item they love, and some have familiar design favorites. For the ones that are somewhat widely available, a long-term project of mine is to make a directory or list with links to purchase. That’s an ongoing thing, but in the meantime, I try to have as many book titles linked or listed on the website.

How do you manage to work on your side project(s)?

This has been a big challenge. It’s weird, but on one hand, I’m lucky I don’t have a huge following so I don’t have the pressure to maintain a “brand” of any kind and post constant updates. That lack of pressure has been helpful during the pandemic. This project kind of just follows my own timeline and availability (and response time from guests). Last year, I have been more sporadic with my work on Literation, mainly because my mental capacity reached its max! I’m slowly picking up the pace again and have some good guests coming up.

A lot goes into it and each post involves managing the images I get sent, research and writing copy on the guests, looking up the books so I can link to the publishers, creating the drafts for Instagram and web, formatting photos, tagging, and so on. In the very beginning of the project, I was posting up to three times a week! Which tires me just thinking about it. So now, I try to make sure my enthusiasm for Literation maintains a healthy energy, even if that means not posting as frequently.

Why have a side project?

A few years ago while in between jobs, I was looking for ways to stay motivated and generally connected to inspiring ideas, projects, people, etc. For me, a huge part of that has always been through books. So I wanted an extension of that curiosity in a side project which would also help stay inspired myself. While I’m always interested in what people are generally reading, I was specifically fascinated by how books are used for research or inspiration in a design or art context. Now I have way too many books I’d personally love to check out!

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Diptych courtesy of Michelle Ruiz, featuring books shared by brand experience design studio GRDN, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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