Chris Bangle

Car Designer / Italy / Chris Bangle Associates

Chris Bangle’s Book List

My Top Ten Books on:
1. Car design: The Nude
2. The creative process: Poetics of Music
3. The relationship between Creative and Client: An Essay on Typography
4. Understanding gender and design: As Long as It’s Pink
5. Learning how to see the world: A Pattern Language
6. The arcane minutiae of car design: A Century of Automotive Style
7. Design insights from an unexpected quarter: Understanding Comics
8. The historical consequences of design to put it all in perspective: American Design Ethic
9. Understanding the authority of design: Architectural Ornament
10. Making you wish you were 1/100th as creative as a true genius: Sentinel
Details below.

10 books
Arthur J. Pulos

A great read about the history of industrial design in the U. S. Very quotable; fantastic revelations. I finally understand that the American Revolution was really an Intellectual property war set off by the China of the time—the American Colonies!

Brent C. Brolin

A fascinating historical read, but with a wonderfully laid-out explanation of the shift in authority in product design, architecture, and art. For car designers, who do not usually find themselves at home in any of these camps, the foundations of our practice and its own authority are clearly there as well.

Penny Sparke

This is a fantastic book for anyone who doubts the infallibility of modernism, or who harbors a secret admiration for pop and kitsch. I am sure it is too one-sided to make for a good textbook in design schools, but I enjoyed it, learned from it, and really respect Sparke for writing it.

I am eternally indebted to Alec Bernstein from Designworks USA for turning me on to this masterpiece, along with three others on my list—An Essay on Typography, The Nude, and Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons. He’s a smart guy.

Michael Lamm
Dave Holls

Hard to imagine a more thorough study of the history of car design in the U. S. Full of fascinating historical insights into the culture we have inherited the world over. Wish this existed for the carrozzerias of Europe.

Eric Gill

This is super-special to me; I recently purchased old copies of this 1931 book, rewrote all of my own notes in the margins, and gave one of them to a client . . . it means so much! Poor Gill writes like a man who knows he is going down on the Titanic because his craftsman-culture is vanishing around him, but the game rules he sets out for a “humane” world are valid today. I am convinced we can save him and our sense of “humanity,” using tools that Gill never dreamed of. But first I suggest everyone read this to find out what it is we are fighting for!

Kenneth Clark

You will never find a better description of what car design is all about than in this book. Just take out the word “nude” and insert the word “car” and it all becomes crystal clear. My copy is incredibly highlighted and written over, full of “Ah-ha!” comments and annotations. Should be the classroom textbook for car designers.

Christopher Alexander
Sara Ishikawa
Murray Silverstein

Chuck Jones, former chief of design of Whirlpool, first gave me this to read. After the thinking sinks in, you begin to really see the world in the authors’ organizational manner and realize how much is missing from, for instance, the world of car design regarding insights and relationships. Another must-be-a-textbook for design schools.

Igor Stravinsky

Takes a bit of plowing through, but this is another of my well written-over “bibles” on car design. The maestro weaves a great essay on composition, originality, and the fundamental construction of the aesthetic pleasure of music, of course, but it works for cars too.

Syd Mead

The guy is the Oscar Wilde of design; just when you think you have thought of something new you discover he has done it (or “said it,” in the case of Wilde) two decades ago. One of the best books to have around to remind you that deep intellectual thought, fantastic artistic skills, and great design abilities really can go together.

Scott McCloud

Don’t ask, just run out and buy it. I gave away Banksy’s first book last Christmas but this year everyone is getting this one. Great re-think of understanding the visual process and the importance of “what is NOT there” in the artwork. Don't judge by the last chapter though.

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