Ellen Lupton

Curator; Writer; Lecturer; Designer; Educator / Graphic Design / United States / Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; Maryland Institute College of Art

Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read

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. . . . View the complete text
2 books
Stephen King

After Kurt Vonnegut I read Stephen King, whose earliest books remain, to me, his most compelling. I feigned illness one Tuesday in ninth grade in order to consume Carrie without interruption. I was as shocked and aroused by King’s juxtaposition of straight narrative with fake news reports as I was by the mutual mass destruction of teenage girls. Any graphic designer interested in seeing popular culture practiced at its highest level will find astonishing inspiration in this camp masterpiece.

Kurt Vonnegut

I was determined at age ten to read all the works of Kurt Vonnegut. My vintage collection of four-dollar paperbacks still sits in my library. Vonnegut’s books successfully warped my preadolescent mind—none more so than Slaughterhouse-Five, which randomly mixes science fiction with vivid accounts of chaos and destruction during World War II. Novels like this one can inspire designers to think anew about the mixing of genres and vocabularies and the ability of words to create enduring images.

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