Designers & Books is an advocate for books as an important source of inspiration for creativity, innovation, and invention. The main way we do this is by publishing 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. This provides the direction for our focus on books about architecture, fashion, graphic design, interactive design, interior design, landscape architecture, product and industrial design, and urban design.
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.
Designers & Books launched in 2011 with 55 book lists and 678 books. We add new book lists and books to the website every week.
We also address the other important members of the design book community: writers, book designers, publishers, critics and reviewers, and booksellers.
We hope you will find the book lists that we post to be enlightening, entertaining, educational—and inspirational.
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.
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.
The Designers & Books website was originally designed by Pentagram under the direction of Lisa Strausfeld. The team responsible for the August 2013 re-design is Studio Kudos, under the direction of John Kudos and his development partner, Chris Manlapid. Studio Kudos is also responsible for ongoing brand development, editorial design, programming, and project management. Brian Wu of Inside Out Design contributed design development, project management, and strategic planning services to the original site design.
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.
Daily Features and editorial consultation are provided by the consultancy Superscript, under the direction of Molly Heintz and Branden Klayko.
Melea Seward, assisted by Maggie Wells, 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:
- Cindy Cunningham, Director, Partner Program, OCLC
- 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 Swissmiss
- Eric Shober
- Jaime Wolf of Pelosi Wolf Effron & Spates
- Eric Van Speights
- 15 Books on Branding and Brand Design
- Designers Who Read Letter and Image
- 20 Books on Furniture Design
- 3 Lists of Books Every Fashion Designer Should Read
- Best-Selling Design Books, United States: January 2014