Here’s a book that design lovers won’t be able to put down, and others might find just a little interesting. It’s called Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design and it’s by Michael Bierut, a writer for the popular, often-but-not-always-very-design-industry-specific blog, Design Observer.
I am happily and excitedly going to be teaching a graduate studio in the fall that focuses on conceptual development and communication, and this book is a wonderful companion for that class. Though it talks a lot about graphics (as Bierut is a graphic designer himself, and at the famed Pentagram, no less) it is effectively interdisciplinary in its discussion of client relationships, concept generation, public perception, and it even touches directly on architecture for several essays. I can’t stop myself from going back to it for inspiration for studio exercises.
A fun bonus that makes this book even more appealing: each essays is set in a different font. What a great detail that almost anyone can appreciate – there’s even a legend for the different types in the back of the book.
If you’re interested in picking it up I encourage you to do so and browse some of the essays: none is longer than three pages, and though you may find yourself googling lots of graphic designer’s and architect’s names, it’s well worth the read. You’ll find yourself learning about everything from how product posters actually get made, to what happens when an architect makes a grave mistake that means a skyscraper has been constructed in a structurally unsound way.
…and while you’re browsing the book, there’s no better coffee mug to be your companion than this one: