Blog

Books ∣ 01

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One of the more frequent requests I get (and have failed to delivered) is to provide a list of my favorite design books. I finally decided to take my favorites out and do a quick write-up on them. I’ll have to split these into a few parts but here is the first set. This post includes some of the more coffee table-friendly books I own.

Also: Yes, the iPad Air review will follow this post. Please stop asking me. ;)

 

 
 

Naoto Fukasawa

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As far as I know, this is the most thorough book that exists about this legendary Japanese designer’s collection of work. It’s not written as well as I'd hoped but Fukasawa’s philosophies still get surfaced pretty well in the words. I love his clear, intelligent and very Japanese view on design. Although the book is not quite as beautifully executed as it should be, it’s the best that exists. 

Published by Phaidon

 

 

 
 

MUJI

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Muji probably does “good design” better than anyone other than Apple. Rockstars like Jasper Morrison, Kenya Hara and Naoto Fukasawa are responsible for the products/brand's design and the results exemplify the best of minimalism. If you love the brand (and you do), this is a must-have book. It is a thorough look at Muji's origin, purpose and passion and even dives into the details of the company's housing and campground efforts which are hard to observe outside of Japan. 

Published by Rizzoli

 

 
 

Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams

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This was probably the first book that had successfully documented Dieter Rams’ time at Braun and it’s a great one. If you read this blog, you probably already own it, and it’s easy to see why. In my opinion, this is the best book on Dieter's legacy.

Published by Gestalten

 

 
 

Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible

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This is the other Dieter Rams book that's found its way onto most designers’ shelves. Like the Gestalten book, it’s beautifully printed, designed, and worth every penny. As I’ve said though, I personally prefer Less and More for it's more detailed essays on Rams' influence and why his work is so significant. Nevertheless, the book does provide plenty of rare photos which make it worth buying; the shots of Rams’ house are particularly captivating.

Published by Phaidon

 

 
 

Lufthansa and Graphic Design

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Lufthansa is an airline well known for their (historically) good visual identity. This is a good look at the groundbreaking changes the brand went through in the 60s. The biggest problem with this book is that it’s far too small - many of the images are too small to observe carefully.

Published by Lars Müller Publishers

 

 
 

Palette 03: Gold & Silver

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This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen. Its edges are all foiled in gold, making it look like a gold ingot when closed. It’s light on words and just takes the reader on a journey through a collection of graphic work containing heavy use of gold and silver. Surprisingly, the results aren't tacky.

Published by viction:ary

 

 
 

Tokujin

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Tokujin Yoshioka is a Japanese artist that dances on the junction of art and design. This is a solid book with physical presence that documents his more poetic pieces in beautiful photographs. There’s something amazing going on in Yoshioka’s brain and I would recommend anyone interested in art/design to take a look at his work. In terms of pure content, the book feels a bit thin but flipping through it never fails to inspire me.

Published by Rizzoli

 

 
 

The Monocle Guide to Better Living

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Monocle is my favorite magazine and for the first time ever, they released a book earlier this year. The Monocle Guide to Better Living reads very much like their magazine, partly because most of the content is recycled but also because of its familiar journalistic voice and world-class production value. Like all Monocle products, the design and layout is top-notch and is a perfect balance on the line between a responsible modern lifestyle and luxury living. The book smells and feels better than any book I own and is full of optimism for the future.

Published by Gestalten

 

 
 

An Alphabetical Book About Nokia Pure

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This may be my favorite book I’ve purchased this year. It is one of the more graphically exceptional books I own and is evidence that soft cover books are just as (or maybe even more) pleasant to handle as hard cover ones. It documents the creation of Nokia’s typeface, Pure, in an amazing visual journey. It’s candy for your eyes and you will make you want to fire up Illustrator.

Published by Gestalten

 

 
 

Paul Rand: Conversations with Students

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The shortest, and physically smallest book in this post. If there was one book that influenced me more than any other as a student, it’s this. The entire book is of a recorded interview/conversation with Paul Rand and reveals so much about him as a designer. It’s taught me to have strong opinions and inspired me to become a more knowledgable designer. It's ridiculously cheap and takes only an hour to read. If you are a student, go buy this now.

Published by Princeton Architectural Press

 

 
 

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

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The French brothers, the Bouroullecs, have an inspiring sense of color and proportion. They’re some of the greatest designers alive and this book is a rich collection of some of their finest products. It’s filled with plenty of product photography but I think the sketches and mockups constructed by the brothers are maybe even more captivating. 

Published by Phaidon

 

 
 
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