My Design Library
Someday, I am going to have a library. And I mean a library—floor-to-ceiling set-in shelves with a rolling ladder. The collection may not be first editions, they may not be leather bound. Heck, by then, they may not even be printed (what a shame that would be.) But they will be good. Today, my “library" consists of a pair of Wal-Mart special 5-shelf cases balanced rather precariously against the living-room wall; a cute, shallow 4-shelf number I picked up for $3 when the neighbors moved (filled mostly with second-hand 1970’s children’s books) and several other shelf-less boxes still in storage in the “dungeon" of my parents’ house in Colorado.
I do, however, have some great design books—sources of information, inspiration, and occasionally consternation. Here are a few of my favorites:
Graphic Agitation: Social and Political Graphics Since the Sixtiesby Liz McQuiston (©1993 Phaidon Press, London)—A college text I turn to whenever I need to remember that stuff still “matters." 235 pages of smart images, sharp commentary, and beautiful printing.
Creative Leaps by Michael Newman (©2003 John Wiley & Sons)—My first exposure to the genius of the one-word-brief, the brilliant challenge of multi-national branding, and the politics of the agency world. Full of fantastically detailed case studies and sardonically quotable quips.
The National Enquirer—simply to remind me that though I will likely never be the best designer in the world, I am certainly not the worst.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (©2002 Penguin Group)—not a design book per se…but I don’t think I’ve ever been so jealous. This is a perfect example of how creativity can take the everyday, the cluttered, even the cliché, and make it unexpectedly, inexplicably stunning. The writing is crafted, yet effortless; solid yet unsettling—just like a great design.
What’s on your design shelf?