CreativeMornings Book Lists

10 Books on the Theme of Hidden

March 5, 2014

Our fifth book list developed in collaboration with CreativeMornings, a breakfast lecture series for the creative community, each with a monthly theme, is based on March’s theme: “Hidden.”

CreativeMornings illustration by Jesse LeDoux

These 10 books drawn from the book lists of our contributors take you to the concealed—and the waiting-to-be-revealed. They encompass hidden artistic and design details; below-the-surface connections between forms, our senses, or creative disciplines; and our private spaces and interior lives. 

Hidden Forms Franco Clivio
Photographs Hans Hansen
Designed by Pierre Mendell

— Product designer Fritz Frenkler (f/p design, Munich) comments on Hidden Forms:

“How a designer is inspired by other products.”

Hidden in Plain Sight Jan Chipchase
With Simon Steinhardt

— Product design critic and writer Donald Norman comments on Hidden in Plain Sight:

“An excellent introduction to design research. The book chronicles the life of a design researcher who studies people by observing them in their homes, barbershops, and living quarters around the world.”

— Head of Global Design Bloomberg LP Emanuela Frattini Magnusson comments:

“An enlightened approach to understanding real human needs, and being better equipped to respond as a designer.”

From the Publisher: “A global-innovation expert offers a new perspective on how consumers think and how to develop products and services that affect their everyday lives. Who are your next customers—not just the ones you are serving today but the ones you'll need three, five, or ten years from now? How do you figure out what goods and services will attract them in the future before your competitors do? According to Jan Chipchase—whom Fast Company has called the ‘James Bond of design research’ and Fortune has called the ‘Indiana Jones of technology for the developing world’—most of the clues are right in front of us.

A History of Private Life Philippe Ariès Editor
Georges Duby Editor

— Architecture critic Julie Iovine (The Wall Stret Journal) comments on A History of Private Life:

“Traces the cultural threads spun in pagan and ancient times leading to our contemporary obsession with private space. Plus, it’s a great resource for illustrations.”

In Praise of Shadows Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

— Architect Tom Kundig (Olson Kundig Architects) comments on In Praise of Shadows:

“This has been an important book for my career. I’ve read it multiple times—it continues to be meaningful and I don't expect that will change. Shadows are more important than objects because they enter the realm of the mysterious. The white space is more important than the stroke of the pen. Shadows are the silent reason that objects are recognized; they give them shape. Shadows represent the soul of a place or object.”

— Lighting designer Paul Marantz (Fisher Marantz Sone) calls it: “The lighting designer’s basic text.“

— Critic Marco Romanelli describes it poetically: “The silence, the shadow, the lacquer, the beauty, the water, the garden, and the lesson that one flower is often enough.”

On 7 other designers’ Book Lists.

The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud

— Architect and educator Michael Sorkin comments on The Interpretation of Dreams:

“The portal to vast worlds.”

I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail Ramsingh Urveti

— Brain Pickings founder and editor Maria Popova comments on I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail:

“For the past 17 years, Indian publishing house Tara Books has been giving voice to marginalized art and literature through a commune of artists, writers, and designers collaborating on remarkable handmade books. This die-cut masterpiece two years in the making is based on a 17th-century British ‘trick’ poem and illustrated in the signature Indian folk art style of the Gond tribe by Indian artist Ramsingh Urveti.

Each line of the ‘trick verse’ builds upon the previous one, flowing into a kind of rhythmic redundancy embodied in the physical structure of the book as each repeating line is printed only once, but appears on two pages by peeking through exquisitely die-cut holes that play on the stark black-and-white illustrations. Thus, if read page by page the way one would read a traditional book, the poem sounds spellbindingly surreal—but if read through the die-cuts, a beautiful and crisp story comes together.”

The Shape of Design Frank Chimero

— Gizmodo editor Alissa Walker comments on The Shape of Design:

“Offers intelligent meditations on the motivation for designing, and looks far outside of the design world for examples, drawing anecdotes from musicians and chefs, and illustrating theories with references ranging from 18th-century haiku masters to Wall-E.”

Typography Sketchbooks Steven Heller
Lita Talarico

— Co-authored by graphic designer and design writer Steven Heller:

Gets into the minds of designers who create typefaces, word images, and logos through their private sketchbooks.

Underground: How the Tube Shaped London David Bownes
Oliver Green
Sam Mullins

— Design writer and editor Zara Arshad (Design China) comments on Underground: How the Tube Shaped London:

“A fascinating insight into the evolution of not just the London Underground and its identity, but also of the character of London itself.

Ways of Seeing John Berger

— Graphic designer Milton Glaser comments on Ways of Seeing:

“Berger is incapable of writing without astonishing you.”

— Graphic designer Mark Fox (Design is Play) comments:

This slim but dense book explores the relationship between art, advertising, desire, and capitalism. One of my favorite passages exposes the sociopolitical dimension of advertising, using the British term publicity: “Publicity turns consumption into a substitute for democracy. The choice of what one eats (or wears or drives) takes the place of significant political choice.”

On 4 other designers’ Book Lists.

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