Highlights from Designers & Books Fair 2012 and Thank YouBy Steve Kroeter November 13, 2012
Thank you to our visitors, exhibitors, and speakers for making the first Designers & Books Fair, held Friday, October 26–Sunday, October 28, a success! As Dwell magazine aptly put it, “The weekend was a successful merger of many fields and professions—a spotlight on images, craft, and the written word.”
Highlights from Designers & Books Fair 2012
The exhibition hall was teeming with book lovers. Debbie Millman and Design Observer summed it up:
— DesignObserver (@DesignObserver) October 27, 2012
A blogger at Bucket of Squash said, “I spent a good few hours exploring books about fashion, graphic design, illustration, and architecture. What was most striking about the fair was how well the organizers brought the past, present, and future of books seamlessly together.”
The past, present, and future of books were represented in the exhibition hall, which featured rare and out-of-print book dealers; demonstrations of book arts, including calligraphy, letterpress printing, and bookbinding; and book signings. Thirty-five design book publishers, including Abrams and ARTBOOK|D.A.P + Metropolis, displayed and sold books and hosted many book signings all weekend long.
On Friday evening, the Keynote program, presented in association with Van Alen Institute, provided a spirited conversation about the future of design book publishing among acclaimed book designers Michael Bierut (New York), Irma Boom (Amsterdam), Massimo Vignelli (New York), and Lorraine Wild (Los Angeles) with Barry Bergdoll as the moderator. Recaps of the conversation can be found here and here.
Bright and early Saturday morning the graphic design firm Pentagram took the stage with Michael Bierut, Eddie Opara, DJ Stout, Paula Scher, Emily Oberman, and Abbott Miller to discuss books the partners have designed.
"I love designing because it's social." Paula Scher #DBFair
— Pentagram Design (@pentagram) October 27, 2012
Meanwhile, Donna Karan kicked off a series of fashion programs in a conversation with Valerie Steele about her new book, Stephan Weiss: Connecting the Dots. Another highlight for fashion design enthusiasts: Hal Rubenstein’s engaging presentation of his book 100 Unforgettable Dresses. For an in-depth recap (including video), see this Examiner piece. For pictures and commentary, don’t miss the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas’ post about Donna Karan, Hal Rubenstein, and Todd Oldham's conversation with Wendy Goodman, as well as some of the book signings that happened throughout the weekend.
Other program highlights include “Cover Stories: A Conversation about Book Cover Design,” Princeton Architectural Press’s specially developed program, “Learning from Experience: Four Graphic Designers in Conversation,” “From Type to Tablet: Publishers and Editors Talk About Directions in Design Book Publishing,” “Chinese Design Culture Now,” and “Buildings and Books: Architecture Critics in Conversation.”
The Fair was unfortunately cut short on Sunday by Hurricane Sandy. The final two programs, “Karim Rashid: A Conversation with Debbie Millman” and “Richard Meier, Michael Graves, and Peter Eisenman: A Conversation with Paul Goldberger” were postponed. We are making every effort to reschedule these two events. If you would like to be notified about details of rescheduling once these become available, please subscribe to Designers & Books. If you purchased a ticket in advance to either of these two programs, we will notify you; however, if you would like a refund, please send your request in writing by November 23, 2012 to
The final event of the Fair was Debbie Millman’s interview with design legends Steven Heller and Louise Fili. It marked the first time the two graphic designers have ever been interviewed together or even shared a stage. MediaBistro provides this recap, called “How Design Books Played Pivotal Role in Steve Heller’s Marriage Proposal to Louise Fili.”
Some of these events were recorded and video will be available in the coming weeks. At the time of the event, @designersbooks live-tweeted the programs. The archives of those tweets can be found here.
What's Your Favorite Design Book? Designers & Books Booth Survey
Designers & Books asked Fair visitors to let us know (on red and white Post-its®) the design book that has inspired them the most (our lobby display) or their favorite design book (at our booth). “Too many favourites!” wrote one respondent.
A few of the close to 100 titles that we took note of include Art Is Work by Milton Glaser, Design as Art by Bruno Munari, World Geographic Atlas by Herbert Bayer (with the note, “make a graphic designer weep”), Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton, Sheila Hicks designed by Irma Boom (“any book designed by Irma Boom”), Make It Bigger by Paul Scher, Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far by Stefan Sagmeister (“All things Stefan Sagmeister”), Interaction of Color by Josef Albers (several notes recommended this one), Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees by Lawrence Weschler, Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek, An Engineer Imagines by Peter Rice, and Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs.
All of this tells us that many of you have your own ideas of what makes a great design book list—you'll be able to create your own book lists in a few weeks when we go live with our new Membership features. Subscribe to our RSS Feed or follow us on Twitter for details to come.
Interested in Attending Designers & Books Fair 2013?
Mark your calendars for Designers & Books Fair 2013, to be held in New York City, October 25–27, 2013.