Book List of the Week

Hardcovers and Paperbacks Will Always Rule: Gail Anderson’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter March 6, 2012

Gail Anderson

Graphic designer Gail Anderson: New York

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Gail Anderson knows type. She’s made it the center of her much-admired work at Rolling Stone magazine and as the Creative Director of SpotCo, an agency specializing in graphic design for the theater world. With Steven Heller she’s written six popular books on type of all kinds, including New Ornamental Type and New Vintage Type. The team has a new book, New Modernist Type, coming out this fall. A recipient of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from the AIGA, Anderson is also an in-demand lecturer on graphic design topics.

New Ornamental Type, 2010 (Thames & Hudson)

Her list for Designers & Books includes “design books I can’t function without.” Among these are three books on record album cover art (Blue Note, In the Groove, and Alex Steinweiss: Inventor of the Modern Album Cover); John Lewis’s Printed Ephemera (also on the book lists of Seymour Chwast and Carin Goldberg), which “sets the standard”; and the American Type Founders Company’s 1923 Specimen Book and Catalogue (“A brick of a book . . . “ that will “teach you everything you need to know about classic typography and good design.”)

There’s also Make it Bigger, by Anderson’s mentor Paula Scher, about which Anderson says, “Design doesn’t get any more smarty-pants than Paula Scher. . . . I actually read Make It Bigger—meaning I didn’t just look at the pretty pictures, and scan the captions. That’s how smarty-pants it is.”

New Vintage Type, 2007 (Thames & Hudson)

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and several childhood favorites also make the list. Says Anderson in her book list introduction, “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.”

Note: New Modernist Type by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson will be released by Thames & Hudson in fall 2012.


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