Designers & Books: What Iconic Designers Are Reading
How to hack into the minds of the world’s leading design practitioners and critics.
By Maria Popova
We love design. We love books. And we’ve always found designers to be among the most intellectually curious, disciplinarily promiscuous, creatively voracious minds. So we’re thrilled for the launch of Designers & Books — a fantastic new portal for peering into the private libraries of the world’s most prominent design thinkers and doers.
Launching with 50 designers — including icons like, Milton Glaser, John Maeda, Elizabeth Diller, Norman Foster and Tim Brown, and Brain Pickings favorites like Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister and George Lois — the project spans a wide spectrum of design disciplines, from architecture to fashion to urban design to cultural interpretation, and kicks off with 678 books.
In addition to designers’ picks, reading lists are available from leading design writers, curators, educators and critics — or, as the site calls them, commentators.
So if you’ve ever wondered what graces the bookshelf of TED founder Richard Saul Wurman, the original information architect, wonder no more. (A handful of information design standbys, a few obscure yet indispensable vintage treats like Paul Kee’s The Thinking Eye, and Stewart Brand’s culturally cultish Whole Earth Catalog.)
Similar to the way that ‘good design can make your life better’ — we also believe that ‘good books can make your life better.'” ~ Steve Kroeter, Founder
Despite the clear gender bias and some glaring omissions (Hey, Tina! And what about MoMA’s Paola Antonelli, arguably the quintessential design advocate of our time?), Designers & Books is a fascinating and rare glimpse of the creative and intellectual fuel that powers some of today’s most influential design thinking, and very much worth your digital minute.
Published February 1, 2011