Book List of the Week

Celebrating Our Anniversary Continued: Five More Designer Book Lists from the Archive

March 17, 2014

Our celebration of the three-year anniversary of Designers & Books, launched in February 2011, continues. Following our round-up of five vintage book lists on March 3, we’ve brought together five additional book lists from our archive of more than 300 lists of books that have inspired designers and design commentators. Included here are graphic designers Maira Kalman ( featured in our post “Just Sit Under a Tree and Read”) and Seymour Chwast (“Of Printed Matter, Picture Postcards and People in Woodcuts”), architect Farshid Moussavi (“Overlaps, New Connections, and New Readings”); interior and product designer Todd Oldham (“Like a Starburst: Todd Oldham Interviewed by Wendy Goodman”); and fashion designer Guo Pei (“Telling a Story about Beauty: Guo Pei and Zara Arshad in Conversation”).  More designers’ book lists can be found here.

Seymour Chwast's Book List

The books I like are human-size 3-D objects. The are made of ink and paper and sometimes boards and cloth. They often contain things to ponder, ignore, memorize, and laugh and wonder at.

Farshid Moussavi's Book List

I am interested in books that can be read in different ways, that offer different insights depending on the spatial position you adopt within them. This way of reading inspired my book The Function of Form, whose chapters are related through a theme but can be read independently of one another; similarly the pages can be read as double spreads or as a series of left-hand pages or right-hand pages.

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.

Maira Kalman's Book List

The authors I love tend to be lyrical and slightly absurd in one way or another. You could read any or all of the books by the authors listed. There are photographers you should look at—such as Diane Arbus and August Sander—who all have monographs. There are children’s book authors and illustrators that you should know—like Ludwig Bemelmans and William Steig.

But mainly, just read. That will show the way. Walk to a garden. Take a book with you, maybe a cup of coffee or tea. Just sit under a tree and read. That is the only answer to everything.

Guo Pei's Book List

Ever since my childhood, I have loved reading books. Reading even just one book makes me feel as if I have been on a journey of a thousand miles.

When I was growing up in China in the 1980s, however, books were really scarce. There were very few titles available on the market and books from abroad were unheard of. Low living standards also meant that published material was mostly unaffordable for the masses. Some publications were even priced as high as $100-200!

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