Todd Oldham’s Book List
It was a pleasure to make a list of my favorite books—the only challenge was stopping. I live in rooms filled with stalagmite towers of books and this is just a start.
The list consist of top-drawer efforts that are all treasures to me. I have visited them often, and my pleasure and fascination is never diminished. I hope you enjoy them, too.
In addition, some not-exactly-books have served as impeccable design resources for me: the Sears, J. C. Penney, and Montgomery Ward catalogues of 1940–85. These middle-of-the-road retailers featured hybrid designs based on authentic examples, and the end resulting catalogues are anthropological bibles. It is perhaps ill advised to seek inspiration in homogenized efforts, but I feel like Margaret Mead every time I look inside one and I always come out a little puzzled—concerned for the world, and inspired.
Finally, I should mention visionary Joe Holtzman’s award-winning magazine Nest, which ran from 1997 to 2004—one of the most singular celebrations of design ever. Free from pretention and with photography by fine artists and writings from literary luminaries, this art piece between covers shape-shifted with each issue. Each one was golden.
I hope Designers & Books asks me for another list someday.
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- Objects of Design, Sources of Knowledge: Aric Chen’s Book List—A Conversation with Zara Arshad
- Designers Who Read In Praise of Shadows
- 15 Books on the Intersection of Psychology and Design