Designers & Books publishes lists of books that esteemed members of the international design community identify as important, meaningful, and formative—books that have shaped their values, their worldview, and their ideas about design. In doing this we hope to focus attention on how books can be important and inspired sources of creativity, innovation, and invention.
From Vitruvius to William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright to Edith Wharton to Le Corbusier to Paul Rand—there has always been a particularly special and robust relationship between designers and books: reading them, writing them, designing them, collecting them, learning from them, and being inspired by them. We celebrate that relationship.
Our mission is to foster conversations that will challenge students, stimulate emerging designers, energize established designers, and be of value and interest to all members of the design community (and perhaps beyond, too, given the increased level of attention now being devoted to design).
We will be adding new designers to the website on an ongoing basis. We hope you will find the book lists that are posted to be enlightening, entertaining, and educational—as well as opportunities to initiate conversations.
The designers who have contributed book lists are architects, car designers, fashion designers, graphic designers, interior designers, landscape architects, lighting designers, product designers, and urban designers—as well as practitioners in additional specialized fields of design.
The commentators who have contributed book lists are academics, critics, curators, editors, executives, lecturers, and writers who are well known and respected for their expertise in architecture, fashion design, graphic design, interior design, product design, or other specialized fields of design.
From the designers, we ask for books that have been important, meaningful, and formative to them—books that have had an impact on shaping their values, their worldviews, and their ideas about design. We ask the commentators to identify books they feel are essential reading by designers in specific areas of design (“Books Every Architect Should Read,” “Books Every Fashion Designer Should Read,” etc.). In both cases—for designers and commentators—we encourage the inclusion of any and all kinds of books—not just books about design.
We hope you will find many books on Designers & Books that you are attracted to and that you want to read. When this happens, we want to make it easy for you to keep track of them. Clicking on this icon next to a book title places that book on your reading list—which you can then print or e-mail to yourself.
The publishers listed on Designers & Books are among the most distinguished and influential in the world of design book publishing. They range from small specialty publishers focused on specific areas of design (architecture, fashion, graphic design, interior design, landscape architecture, product design, or urban design, for example) to large companies active in a broad array of design disciplines. The information we offer about our Featured Publishers includes details on forthcoming titles, recently published titles, and selected backlist titles. Whether large or small, all of the publishers listed are notable for the high standards they adhere to and the dynamic vision that is represented in the books they publish.
At some of the booksellers listed on Designers & Books, the interest, expertise, and inventory are focused exclusively on design. At other booksellers, if the inventory is diversified beyond design, you can still count on finding a noteworthy and well-edited design department. More important than their inventory focus is that all the booksellers listed are sympathetic to the idea of encouraging a sense of community among those who are passionate about books. Each bookseller listed here has expressed a willingness to provide assistance, over the phone or in person, to members of the Designers & Books community who have book acquisition-related questions. Our Featured Booksellers are those that have provided us with additional information, including best-selling titles and staff recommendations.
We primarily are about book lists. However, we also include noteworthy design- and book-related interviews, author Q&As, essays, and other materials from designers, commentators, and special guest contributors.
Our hope is that you will find Designers & Books consistently enlightening, entertaining, and educational. If you have any questions or comments about the site—whether about how to better facilitate discussions or suggestions about new designers or commentators to add—we would very much like to hear from you. While we can’t promise that we will answer every inquiry as quickly as we would like to, we will make every effort to reply in a responsible way in a responsible time frame.
In the book details on Designers & Books you will find references to WorldCat—an initiative of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing library costs. More than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalogue, lend, preserve, and manage library materials. Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians, and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract, and full-text information when and where they need it.
OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the world’s largest online database for discovery of library resources. Each record in the WorldCat database contains a bibliographic description of a single item or work and a list of institutions that hold the item. The institutions share these records, using them to create local catalogues, arrange interlibrary loans, and conduct reference work. Readers can search WorldCat through the WorldCat.org site.
Since 1971, 240 million records have been added to WorldCat, spanning more than 5,000 years of recorded knowledge, from about 3400 B.C. to the present. This unique collection of information encompasses records in a variety of formats—books, e-books, DVDs, digital resources, serials, sound recordings, musical scores, maps, visual materials, mixed materials, and computer files. Every second, OCLC member libraries add seven records to WorldCat.
Designers & Books was created by Steve Kroeter, who is editor in chief. He is also president of Archetype Associates.
The Designers & Books website was designed by Pentagram under the direction of Lisa Strausfeld. The team responsible for ongoing brand development, editorial design, programming, and project management is Studio Kudos, under the direction of John Kudos and his development partner, Chris Manlapid. Brian Wu of Inside Out Design has contributed design development, project management, and strategic planning services.
The managing editor is Stephanie Salomon. The editorial assistants are Katie Blumenkrantz, Ryan Kane, and Tiffany Lambert. The editorial interns are Claire Fishman, Nadiyah Ford, Cathy Kim, Abigail Savitch-Lew, and Gina Trobiani.
Melea Seward, assisted by Zöe Holmes, is the social media consultant.
In addition to those mentioned above, the design- and book-loving people who have been supportive of Designers & Books include:
- Vicky Blanco
- Jessica Brookman
- Michele Caniato
- Cindy Cunningham, Director, Partner Program, OCLC
- Sarah Natkins
- Catherine Bennett, Director of Business Affairs, Steven Kolb, Executive Director, and Lisa Smilor, Associate Executive Director, at the Council of Fashion Designers of America
- Ric Grefé, Executive Director of AIGA, the professional association for design
- Takaaki Okada
- Essi Rautiola of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York
- Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swiss Miss
- Eric Shober
- Jan Audun Uretsky
- Jaime Wolf of Pelosi Wolf Effron & Spates
- Eric Van Speights
- Ryohei Yamamoto, Program Officer, Lecture Programs at the Japan Society