The Editors

Books Received: Winter 2008


New books have been piling up here at Design Observer. We thought we'd share some of the many recently published titles we have received over the past couple of months — with a few older titles just stumbled upon. We hope you will find a surprise or two, or simply a single book your library just must have.

Michelangelo Antonioni & Marga Cottina-Jones
The Architecture of Vision: Writings and Interviews on Cinema
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Elizabeth Armstrong
Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury
Prestel Publishing, 2007
Paola Antonelli, editor
Design and the Elastic Mind
MoMA, 2008
The catalog accompanying the new MoMA exhibition that, according to an excitable The New York Times review, enables us to "begin to dream again." [AT]
Kate Ascher
The Works: Anatomy of a City
Penguin, 2007
Jeremy Aynsley & Kate Forde
Design and the Modern Magazine
Manchester University Press, 2007
Volume of essays on a subject design history has tended to overlook by scholars associated with the V&A/RCA design history course. [RP]
Stuart Baker, editor
New York Noise: Art and Music from the New York Underground 1978-88
Soul Jazz Records, 2007
Nice for those of us who weren't there. [DS]
J.G. Ballard
Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton
Fourth Estate/Harper Collins, 2007
Keenly anticipated autobiography of a visionary fiction writer and social critic whose predictions about media, celebrity, technology and urbanism proved uncannily accurate. [RP+TV]
Alan Bartram
Typeforms: a history
The British Library & Oak Knoll Press, 2007
Gerry Beegan
The Mass Image: A Social History of Photomechanical Reproduction in Victorian London
Palgrave Macmillan, 2008
A dense study of the photographically reproduced image in popular illustrated magazines of the 1890s which, unlike so many studies of graphic design, takes into account the experience of the viewers and readers. [AT]
Andrew Blauvelt, editor
Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes
Walker Art Center, 2008
A new book by a Design Observer contributor. [WD]
Giovanna Borasi & Mirko Zardini
Sorry, Out of Gas
Edizioni Corraini/CCA, 2008
Michael Bracewell
Re-Make/Re-Model: Art, Pop, Fashion and the Making of Roxy Music, 1953-1972
Faber and Faber, 2007
(Or the American paperback edition: Re-Make/Re-Model: Becoming Roxy Music Da Capo Press, 2008) Roxy Music left an enduring impression on British pop culture and Bracewell tracks all the connections with engaging thoroughness. [RP]
Christopher Burke
Active Literature: Jan Tschichold and New Typography

Hyphen Press/Princeton Architectural Press, 2008
Christopher Burke
Paul Renner: Art of Typography

Hyphen Press/Princeton Architectural Press, 2008
Tamara Chaplin
Turning On the Mind: French Philosophers on Television

University of Chicago Press, 2007
Jonathan Chapman
Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy

Earthscan Publications, 2005
Jonathan Chapman & Nick Gant, editors
Designers, Visionaries and Other Stories: A Collection of Sustainable Design Essays
Earthscan Publications, 2007
Lincoln Cushing & Ann Tompkins
Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Chronicle Books, 2007
Already a well covered subject, but this collection gathers many fascinating examples and ties them together with a smart design and thoughtful text. [RP]
Michael Dorrian & Liz Farrelly
One Hundred at 360 Degrees: Graphic Design's New Global Generation
Laurence King Publishers/Chronicle Books, 2007
Johanna Drucker & Emily McVarish
Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide
Prentice Hall, 2008
John Emerson
Visualizing Information for Advocacy: An Introduction to Information Design
Open Society Institute, 2008
Kate Fletcher
Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys
Earthscan Publications, 2008
Ben Fry
Visualizing Data
O'Reilly Media, 2008
Daniel Giralt-Miracle & Vicenc Altaio, editors
Actar, 2007
Sarah Greenough & Diane Waggoner
The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888-1978
Princeton University Press, 2007
After judging AAUP this year, this was my favorite book. [WD]
Philip Gourevitch, editor
The Paris Review Interviews: Volume II
Picador, 2007
Of interest, I think, for delivering so many unobstructed views onto the creative process. [AT]
Eugene Grasset
Plants and Their Application to Ornament: A Nineteenth-Century Design Primer
Chronicle Books, 2007
Mike Hansell
Built by Animals: The Natural History of Animal Architecture
Oxford University Press, 2008
Mark Harris
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
Penguin Press, 2008
The story behind each of the movies nominated for 1967’s Best Picture Oscar creates a cultural history of the sixties. [MB]
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan
Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination
Yale University Press, 2007
The most lavish and visually engrossing volume to date on the inexhaustibly influential poetic American box maker. [RP]
Jianping He, editor
Master of Design: Niklaus Troxler
Page One Publishing Private, 2007
Steven Heller & David Womack
Becoming a Digital Designer: A Guide to Careers in Web, Video, Broadcast, Game and Animation Design
Wiley, 2007
A new book by a Design Observer contributor. [WD]
Hesign, editor
Master of Design: Pierre Bernard
Page One Publishing Private, 2007
Jost Hochuli
Detail In Typography
Hyphen Press/Princeton Architectural Press, 2008
Richard Hollis
Swiss Graphic Design: The Origins and Growth of an International Style, 1920-1965
Yale University Press, 2006
A vivid account of a golden era written with the author’s usual understated rigour. [AS]
Stephen Johnstone, editor
The Everyday
Whitechapel Art Gallery, 2008
The latest title in the Documents of Contemporary Art Series turns its attention to historical texts and recent analyzes of contemporary art's fascination with the quotidian. [AT]
Daniel Kantor
Graphic Design and Religion: A Call for Renewal
GIa Publications, 2008
Chip Kidd
The Learners: A Novel
Scribner, 2008
Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann & Birgo Meyer, editors
NEOGEO: A New Edge to Abstraction
Dgv, 2007
I'm not a huge fan of graphic design catalogs but this one keeps wowing me with sincere experimentation and quality of work. [DS]
Naomi Klein
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Metropolitan Books, 2007
Liz Kotz
Words to Be Looked At: Language in 1960s Art
MIT Press, 2007
Michael Kroeger, editor
Paul Rand: Conversations with Students
Princeton Architectural Press, 2007
Sanford Kwinter
Far from Equilibrium: Essays on Technology and Design Culture
Actar, 2008
A collection of the architecture critic's essays, many of which were originally published in ANY magazine in the 1990s. [AT]
Ellen Lupton
Phaidon Press, 2008
Ellen Lupton & Jennifer Cole Phillips
Graphic Design: The New Basics
Princeton Architectural Press, 2008
Chris Marker
La Jetée: ciné-roman
Zone Books/MIT Press, 2008
Long out of print, and a stunning and important book. [WD]
Chris Marker
Staring Back
MIT Press, 2007
Steve Martin
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Scribner, 2007
A memoir of the craft and hard work of comedy by one of its masters. [MB]
Heike Munder, editor
Peter Saville Estate 1-127
JRP Ringier, 2007
The British cult designer receives the full authoritative, art-world, catalogue treatment, including testimonials from artist admirers. [RP]
Mark Ovenden and Mike Ashworth
Transit Maps of the World
Penguin, 2007
Gary Panter
Gary Panter Monograph
PictureBox, 2008
Laurent Pflughaupt
Letter by Letter: An Alphabetical Miscellany
Princeton Architectural Press, 2008
Rick Poynor
Jan van Toorn: Critical Practice
010 Publishers, 2008
A new book by a Design Observer contributor, and the first monograph about one of the most significant and influential Dutch graphic designers to have emerged since the 1960s. [WD]
Simon Reynolds
Bring the Noise: 20 Years of Writing About Hip Rock & Hip Hop
Faber & Faber, 2007
The best music writer at work today. [AS]
R. Roger Remington & Robert S. P. Fripp
Design and Science: The Life and Work of Will Burtin
Ashgate, 2007
Fernando Romero/LAR
Hyperborder: The Contemporary U.S.-Mexico Border and It's Future
Princeton Architectural Press, 2007
An architecture research project in the tradition of S,M,L,XL but much more specific. [DS]
Stefan Sagmeister
Things I have learned in my life so far
Abrams, 2008
Tomoko Sakamoto & Ramon Prat
SHD: Super Holland Design
Actar, 2007
Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz
Hotel: An American History
Yale University Press, 2007
William S. Saunders, editor
The New Architectural Pragmatism: A Harvard Design Magazine Reader
University of Minnesota Press, 2007
Jutta Schickore
The Microscope and the Eye: A History of Reflections
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Sarah Schleuning
Moderne: Fashioning the French Interior
Princeton Architectural Press, 2007
This collection of stunning pochoir prints from the Wolfsonian Museum collection reveals the elegant artistry of the Deco era in France. [SH]
Adrian Shaughnessy
Cover Art By: New Music Graphics
Laurence King Publishers/Chronicle Books, 2008
A new book by a Design Observer contributor. [WD]
Wilfrid Sheed
The House That George Built: With a Little Help from Irving, Cole, and a Crew of About Fifty
Random House, 2007
A discursive look at the sources of American popular song. [MB]
Laurie Simmons
Photographs 1978/79
Skarstedt Fine Art, 2003
James Stevenson
Lost and Found New York: Oddballs, Heroes, Heartbreakers, Scoundrels, Thugs, Mayors, and Mysteries
Collins, 2007
Judith Thurman
Cleopatra's Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2007
Michael Veal
Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae
Wesleyan University Press, 2007
Jamaica continues to exert an influence on global music out of all proportion to its size. [AS]
Stuart Walker
Sustainable by Design: Explorations in Theory and Practice
Earthscan Publications, 2006
Lawrence Weiner
As far As The Eye Can See
Whitney Museum of American Art, 2007
Cornel Windlin & Rolf Fehlbaum, editors
Project Vitra: Sites, Products, Authors, Museum, Collection, Signs
Birkhäuser, 2007
Windlin is one of the finest graphic designers working anywhere and his compendium is as beautifully made as the furniture it documents. [RP]
Douglas Wolk
Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean
De Capo Press, 2007
The graphic novel comes of age with a full-length, lit-crit study delivered with an assured, light touch. [RP]
Jason Wood
100 Road Movies
British Film Institute, 2007
Michael Worthington, editor
Two Lines Align: Drawing and Graphic Design by Ed Fella and Geoff McFetridge
Redcat Gallery Los Angeles, 2008 [Available from the gallery and online bookstore by mid-March.] [LW]
Ivan Zaknic, editor
Le Corbusier: Journey to the East
MIT Press, 2007

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Comments [24]
There are many books, some more interesting than others thanks for the recommendation.

Worst part about being in foreign country is I can't get my hand on those books as easily as I would have back in the US. But the best part about being in college is, I can request the dean of my department and have them buy it and put it in the Visual Communication reference library as soon as they are available.

Cool list of books.

I think Swiss Graphic Design: The Origins and Growth of an International Style, Paul Rand: Conversations with Students, and definitely Mr. Sagmeister's Things I have learned in my life so far are what I am interested in.

I usually don't read fiction but I want to try Chip Kidd's novel also.
Panasit Ch

I would recommend adding 'Horace Dorlan' by Andrzej Klimowski to this already fantastic list.

Tom Wilson

thats a lot of dead trees...

good to see 'design and the elastic mind' mentioned somewhere-even if it's on a list and in passing.
hmmm . . .

These reading lists are great — thank you!
Ryan Nee

so you poindexters get a bunch of free review copies, look through them and drool. but it seems most of the ones recommended are actually quite crap ones- probably friends or etc of the writers.

out of all this crapload above, the only three worth keeping are the antonioni, the reissue of la jetee, and the second edition of corbu's journey to the east. the rest can be sold at the strand, where for all of them i would probably get about five dollars.

john mcgreevey

"The Art of the American Snapshot"- Is a must own. It reminds us why we love family albums so much- even if the photos are blurry.

I read "Born Standing Up", Steve Martin's Bio, in one night. It gave me insight not only into how hard he worked at his craft, but also why he wanted to be learned and collect art.

I'll have to check out the others.
Thank you for sharing.

Anne T.
Anne Twomey

i've only recently been purchasing books. cutting back on mags and just recently purchased the graphic language of neville brody's and raf simons redux.

definitely looking into that swiss graphic design book.

I'm glad we have folks like John McGreevey out there to alert us to the high degree of graft and depravity that characterizes the design press. MUCH better to stick to the classics like US Weekly or other such elevated literature rather than pollute our minds with books that some so deludedly think constiture our culture.

so you poindexters get a bunch of free review copies, look through them and drool

I bought all the books I recommended with my own money, pal.
Michael Bierut

Dear DO editors,

Thanks, as always, for posting reading lists every now and then. I had a chance to look at Christopher Burke's Active Literature the other day, and was really impressed with how complete it seems... Like his other book for Hyphen, Paul Renner..., Burke is a serious researcher and has high standards. I am looking forward to reading it, and the same goes for other books in this list.
Ricardo Cordoba

Many thanks to Design Observer for the link. For those concerned about dead trees and paying for books, you can download my booklet on information design for advocacy for free.

It's nice to see what you've got, I'd be curious to know more about some, feel free to review any of them in depth, my curiosity is certainly peaked.

If I may add the recently published catalog for the Emory Douglas show at LA MoCA/Design Center.
Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas

The show and catalog are a provocative reminder of a domestic policy often overshadowed by the elaborate and persistent coverage of the concurrent war abroad. Highly recommended and rare reading. Perhaps one of two books on the subject, with such in depth coverage of the design which supported this movement.
Rick Griffith

NB: 100 Road Movies is by Jason Wood, not James Wood.

[Editor's Note: Nice catch. It's fixed. Thanks zbs for the correction.]

if michael beirut did buy all the books, then i apologize sincerely.

as for US weekly, that is beneath contempt. being for or against that does not necessarily equal to being for designobserver, though.

i just mention this because some of the above booklist contains books that are not available yet, as they have not been released and cannot be bought as such and are obtainable only via review copies.

kind regards,
john mac
john mcgreevey


Michael does buy his books, so the accusatory tone and tentative apology is inappropriate. There are a few review copies on the list: we carefully positioned this as a "books received" list, since our experience is that our readers have various interests and we wanted a broad selection of current and soon to be released titles. Since I'm the one that put the three books on the list that you liked, let me say that we have thousands of readers and I don't assume everyone is interested in Antonioni, Marker and LeCorbusier. I'm happy that you found something that pleased you. Making nasty comments about others and other tastes is not really constructive: please do not do it here.
William Drenttel

I find it so strange that you guys didn't mention any of the designers of these books. As a book designer, I'm used to the treatment -- even if a book's design is commented on in a review, the designer is never mentioned by name unless his name is Chip -- but I'd expect better from you.

Zach, a really interesting point.

(Let me note, however, that "you guys" includes three female contributors. In general, you should avoid the "you guys" syntax: it's not only inarticulate, it's sexist.)

As a rule, I think all of our contributing writers strive to credit designers in the images of work we show on the site in our posts. When we don't do this, we welcome your corrections.

For the books we list or recommend, adding credit for the designers (and let's not forget the illustrators and photographers) is simply too much information, and frankly too much work to do in a consistent manner. Since so many of the books we cover have a designer as the subject, I'm less worried about this than you. When we feature one of these books in a main post, I think we generally note the designer of the book.

I'm not aware that any book on this list was designed by Chip Kidd or was credited as such -- except for Kidd's novel where he was appropriately credited as an author. Since we've left out design credits on this list consistently, your last comment is simply wrong and silly.
William Drenttel

Oh, what a relief! "Kind regards" from John MacGreevy after he bullies the "poindexters" (a term above contempt?) of DO into clarifying that rather than gathering payola from the world of books that are printed in 5,000 copies, maybe, they actually pay for at least some of them, on top of writing and editing and posting DO for nothing, while entertaining complaints about such an ethically sensitive contemporary conundrum as a review copy.

I just finished the Michael Bracewell Roxy Music book, really excellent read. Reminded me of the freedom and creativity I had at art college and the crazy things we used to do, the conflicts with tutors and the don't-give-a-shit-what-they-think attitude of youth. I may have lost that spirit somewhere along the line.

> Let me note, however, that "you guys" includes three female contributors. In general, you should avoid the "you guys" syntax: it's not only inarticulate, it's sexist.

Yes, a serious matter. For future posts and comments, might I suggest "yo".

Now yo get back to work.
m. kingsley

William -- thanks for responding.

First (and least importantly): "guys", to many English speakers, is neither inarticulate nor sexist. I recognize that not everybody agrees, but it strikes me as a little rich for you to go all prescriptivist in re a blog comment. As to the Chip Kidd thing -- it WAS silly. It was a joke. I wasn't referring to your site in particular, but to talk of book design in general.

I really don't think that looking at the credits and adding a single line to each of these entries would be too much work or too much information. Ultimately it's fine if you don't want to do it -- it's your site -- but you could be more gracious in your reply, rather than simply calling my comment inarticulate, sexist, incorrect, and silly.

that is laundry list, all worth it im sure. Has anyone read some, let me know your thoughts as I am looking into tackling this list. Yes some I've read, however, I welcome your recommendations. Thanks in advance!


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