Designers & Books News

Designers & Books: Day 1

By Steve Kroeter February 1, 2011

Like good design, good books can make your life better. And designers are a great source of good book recommendations. That is why, today, we are launching Designers & Books.

The Three Ideas Behind Designers & Books

When we use the term "designers" we mean architects, fashion designers, graphic designers, interior designers, and product designers. There are three basic ideas behind Designers & Books:

  1. There is a special relationship between designers and books. Designers read books, write them, design them, collect them, learn from them, and are inspired by them.
  2. Similar to the way that “good design can make your life better”—we also believe that “good books can make your life better.”
  3. Because of #1 and #2, it is worthwhile to pay attention to the books that designers pay attention to.

You Are What You Read

The science behind our thinking is summed up in a special essay that Maryanne Wolf of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University wrote for us. In "You Are What You Read" Professor Wolf notes that, “our continuously increasing knowledge in the cognitive neurosciences teaches us that we are the sum of what and how and why we read.” The implications of this are profound and motivating generally, and are of particular importance for the design community.

Because of all this, Designers & Books has been developed to publish lists of books that esteemed members of the design community identify as personally important, meaningful, and formative—books that have shaped their values, their worldview, and also their ideas about design.

More than 650 Titles

As we launch today, you will see that the site includes book lists from 50 designers. In addition we also include book lists submitted by celebrated design community academics, critics, curators, editors, lecturers, and writers (we call this group “commentators”). In total, the book lists of the designers and commentators include more than 650 titles.

Among the designers and commentators whose book lists you will be seeing in the coming weeks and months are: architects Steven Holl, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Mikko Heikkinen; graphic designers Ivan Chermayeff, Tom Geismar, and Massimo Vignelli; fashion designer Cynthia Rowley; the writers and critics Paul Goldberger, Dominique Browning, Alice Rawsthorn, and Rick Poynor; curators Barry Bergdoll, Zoe Ryan, Akiko Fukai, and Claire Wilcox; and Professor Sheila Danko. New book lists will be posted each week.

Book Lists and Conversations

We read somewhere that any book list is an invitation to begin a conversation. Because we believe this, you will see that the website has been designed to encourage comments, generate debate, and facilitate discussions about the books that are posted.

We hope you will find the book lists on Designers & Books to be enlightening, entertaining, and educational—as well as opportunities to initiate conversations.

Steve Kroeter
Editor in Chief

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