Todd Oldham

Architect; Graphic Designer; Fashion Designer; Interior Designer; Product/Industrial Designer; Lighting Designer / United States / Todd Oldham Studio

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.

3 books
Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman’s retrospective at MoMA made it clear that she is a serious genius with a volume of distinctive influential work that has never waned in creativity, ingenuity, and execution. It is hard to isolate any of her extraordinary work that has not had a whopping influence on the state of the arts, but the film still series executed in the late 1970s and 1980s has now shaped generations of artists.

Diane Arbus

One of the first art books I ever owned, it still affects me today exactly the same way it did when I first saw it. Haunting, heartbreaking, and always beautifully framed, Arbus’s work remains astonishing.

Nick Waplington Photographer
Essay by Richard Avedon
Essay by John Berger

Nick Waplington’s photos had the same effect on me as Diane Arbus’s did. The work is beautifully composed, creating a perfect duality with the subject matter. Spooky and nervous-making, with essays by Richard Avedon and John Berger.

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