“Designers are meant to be loved, not to be understood.”
– Margaret Oscar
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you come in contact with design every single day. From the tableware that you eat your breakfast on/with to the posters and advertisements that you pass along on your way to work, and finally ending on the sheets you cover yourself with and the bed in which you lay down to go to sleep – all these things are an outcome of design. Some things are designed to be simple and mass produced or pragmatic and functional, while other objects are designed to be aesthetically pleasing. The world of design is unfathomably big and offers something for everyone. Below is a list of books about design we’ve put together for you to take a look at:
Very Graphic. Polish Designers of the 20th Century
Edited by Jacek Mrowczyk
This first book is a compilation of information on contemporary graphic design which is unprecedented in its scope. Together with Out of the Ordinary, the two publications constitute a unique compendium of knowledge on twentieth-century Polish design. Leading Polish critics and experts in the field of graphic design were invited to contribute to the publication, including Artur and Magdalena Frankowscy, founders of the Fontarte design studio; Irena Przymus, curator of the Poster and Design Gallery of the National Museum in Poznań; Piotr Rypson, deputy director of the National Museum in Warsaw, visual culture historian and author of the book Against All Odds: Polish Graphic Design 1919-1949; Agata Szydłowska, design historian, founder of the Workshop for Design Criticism, and many others. The book cover is handpainted with different colours, which makes each copy unique!
Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art
John Duke Kisch & Tony Nourmand
Reel Art Press
This magnificent volume is a celebration of the first 100 years of black film poster art. A visual feast, these images recount the diverse and historic journey of the black film industry from the earliest days of Hollywood to present day. Accompanied by insightful accompanying text, a foreword by black history authority and renowned academic Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an afterword by acclaimed film director Spike Lee.
The ABCs of Polish Design
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute
It’s not easy to show one hundred years of Polish design in just one hundred objects. Which ones were really the most important? The most intriguing? How does one choose? How does one show more than just the iconic designs that everyone knows? The Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s newest publication The ABCs of Polish Design features one hundred amazing Polish designs alongside young Polish illustrators’ interpretations of them.
The Bauhaus: #itsalldesign
Edited by Mateo Kries & Jolanthe Kugler
Vitra Design Museum
The Vitra Design Museum’s definitive, 464-page survey of Bauhaus art, design, architecture, teaching, and philosophy reproduces numerous never-before-published artworks and photographs.This volume offers the most comprehensive overview of the extended concept of design that was initiated at the Bauhaus. Alongside rare exhibits from design, architecture, art, film and photography – some of which have never previously been published – the book documents the development processes as well as the socio-political concepts behind the Bauhaus.
Just One Good Chair
Hans J. Wegner
The name Hans J. Wegner (1914–2007) is inseparable from his unrivalled chairs, which helped Danish design to achieve its international breakthrough. Every design fan has his or her favorite from among Wegner’s approximately five hundred creations. Today, there is a hardly a glossy interior design magazine that does not include an illustration of the elegant China Chair (1943) or the Y Chair (1950), and even John F. Kennedy sat on his Round Chair, which is now simply called The Chair (1949). If you’re a fan of chairs, this book is a must-read.
Hans J. Wegner in AP46 OxChair, 1960
How Posters Work
With its unique focus on visual language, Ellen Lupton’s How Posters Work is more than another poster book. Rather than provide a history of the genre or a compilation of collectibles, the book is organized around active design principles. Concepts such as “Simplify,” “Focus the eye,” “Exploit the diagonal,” “Reverse expectations” and “Say two things at once” are illustrated with a diverse range of posters, from avant-garde classics and rarely seen international works to contemporary pieces by today’s leading graphic designers.
The Essence – Discover the World of Perfume
Scents are linked to our most cherished memories. No wonder then, that fragrance has captivated us as humans for centuries. The Essence explores this mysterious sense and delves into the history, culture, and science that have shaped the multi-billion dollar perfume industry into what it is today. Join us as we reveal the power of scent and fragrance to captivate, from the lavender fields of Provence and the laboratories, to incense producers in India. Meet the trailblazers shaping the future of perfumery as we explore the vital role that technology and scented products will play in the 21st century. The Essence is an inviting read for fragrance novices and connoisseurs alike.
The Essence – Discover the World of Perfume, 2019, p.258, Image courtesy of Leta Sobierajski and Wade Jeffree,
The Essence – Discover the World of Perfume, 2019, p.244, Image courtesy of The Osmotheque,
Pet-tecture: Design for Pets
An inspiring, surprising, and fun collection of contemporary design for pets of different shapes, sizes, breeds, and species. The perfect book for design-conscious pet owners and animal lovers alike, Pet-tecture presents an irresistible assortment of hundreds of houses and objects by the world’s leading designers, created with our furred and feathered friends in mind – from cats and dogs to birds, rabbits, horses, fish, mice, guinea pigs – even kangaroos and turtles! Whether it’s playful cat trees, concrete dog homes, luxury chicken coops, 3D-printed fish tanks, or a dog-shaped cat scratcher, Pet-tecture has the incredible range of design for animals covered.
Hi-Fi The History of High-End Audio Design
A beyond-cool look at the world of high-end audio design for passionate collectors, obsessive audiophiles, and design fans. At a time when sales of vinyl records have hit a 25-year high, and analog technologies are providing the kind of extraordinary audio experiences that our increasingly digital world has started to remove, Hi-Fi is essential reading. This unique book explores just how, when, and why the world fell in love with the look, feel, and sound of top-of-the-line audio equipment. Hi-Fi traces this fascinating evolution from the 1950s to today (and tomorrow), taking readers right up to the current renaissance of all things analog and the emergence of cutting-edge designs for die-hard audiophiles.
The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition
Donald A. Norman
The ultimate guide to human-centered design. Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious — even liberating — book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization. The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.
Put together by Nicholas Bartkowiak