Book List of the Week

Book List of the Week: 10 Women in the World of American Graphic Design

Ellen Lupton, Paula Scher, Deborah Sussman, Gail Anderson, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Louise Fili, Nancye Greene, Carin Goldberg, Jessica Helfand, Zuzana Licko, Jennifer Morla

June 23, 2014

From our archive, we’ve brought together 10 prominent American women working in graphic design—as practictioners and authors—and the books that inspire them. Design classics and hidden gems, books on nonfiction subjects from art to food, and novels all make the lists. Click on each book list to see the books chosen by each designer.

Gail Anderson's Book List

Online design research is helpful and I do love my audio books when I’m driving, but regular old hardcovers and paperbacks will always rule. Books have memories attached to them, the occasional forgotten slips of paper, and sometimes even an earnest childhood signature. My list is comprised of design books I can’t function without, titles that have had lasting meaning for me, and some that overlap both categories.

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville's Book List

W. G. Sebald, Herbert Gans, Ruari McLean.

Louise Fili's Book List

Favorite books offer a certain intimacy—I can remember precisely where and when I found each one, and I keep them nearby on a dedicated shelf in my studio.

As a designer and teacher, I constantly rely on these books not only as a source of inspiration for my own work, but also to share; I savor the excitement of introducing them to my staff and students.

Carin Goldberg's Book List

Like most designers, I have an extensive and indispensable library of books on art and design. These books have always been and will continue to be the most important set of tools I use as a designer and a teacher. I was a product of the 1950s boom generation when television began to dominate the culture. For the most part, reading wasn’t particularly encouraged in my suburban public school or at home.

Nancye Green's Book List

Ralph Caplan, Stewart Brand, Toni Morrison.

Jessica Helfand's Book List

I mostly read non-fiction, only a fraction of which is design-related. I tend to get more out of reading non-design-related things (as this list will reveal), I think, because the references and the language tend to stretch both my mind and my vocabulary. (I often tell my students that I get more out of a New Yorker profile than any design book, and it’s true.)

Zuzana Licko's Book List Herbert Spencer, Michael Pollan, Lewis Carroll.
Ellen Lupton’s Book List

I’m a designer who writes and a writer who likes to fuss with fonts, formats, and the techniques of publishing. Typography and writing are deeply connected. Writing makes thought exterior, converting fleeting notions into concrete things—indelible patterns of ink or pixels. My reading list includes in equal measure books that study (and exemplify) design processes and those that explore (and demonstrate) the qualities of strong writing.

Jennifer Morla's Book List

Fletcher, Caplan, Sontag.

Paula Scher's Book List

The following books have inspired me and influenced my design thinking—especially my typography.

Deborah Sussman's Book List

Literature and poetry, especially by and about women, have been a lifelong passion. While not directed specifically at the “design” profession, these books have informed and influenced my imagination, mind and soul. They also provide insights into various cultures, broadening our understanding of the world and learning how other people deal with life.

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