Design Reading List

Explore the following texts on design & aesthetics to discover amazing insights from celebrated authors. 

 

Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology

Steve M. Cahn, Aaron Meskin

An anthology of the classic and modern philosophies that illuminate the development of discourse about art and aesthetics. 

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Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology

Michel Foucault

An examination of the historical forms and intersections between passion, experience and truth. 

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A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

Edmund Burke

A exposition separating the ideas of the beautiful and the sublime into their own rational categories. 

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Art as Experience

John Dewey

The formal structure and characteristic of aesthetics including; architecture, sculpting, painting, music and literature. 

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Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye

Rudolf Arnheim

An exploration into the intersection between art and psychology.

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Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers 

Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur

A exploration of defying outdated business models and designing the enterprises of tomorrow. 

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Change by Design 

Tim Brown

An exploration into how design thinking can transform organizations and inspire innovation. 

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City Futures in the Age of a Changing Climate

Tony Fry

How the modern city must evolve through design in an age of significant climate change and social upheaval. 

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Creativity, Inc.

Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

A recount of how PIXAR beat the odds and achieved so much through relentless inspiration and vision. 

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Creative Code: Aesthetics + Computation

John Maeda, Red Burns

A insightful exploration into the importance of design to effectively understanding the computer and technology as a medium, and not just a tool. 

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Critique of Judgement

Immanuel Kant

An examination of the four possible reflective judgement of aesthetic objects. 

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Design as Art

Bruno Munari

An exploration of the design that permeates over everyday experience of life. 

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Design a Better Business

Patrick van der Pjil, Justin Lokitz, Lisa Kay Solomon

The intersection of design and business explored through a colorful combination of stories and insights from prominent designers, executives and thought leaders. 

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Design as Future-Making

Susan Yelavich, Barbara Adams

How impactful design can help shape our future for the better. 

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Design Basics

Stephen Penat, David, A Laurer

A fundamental exposition on teaching 2-Dimensional graphic design. 

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Design in the USA

Jeffery L. Meikle

The intersection between hit products and necessary products in American culture. 

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Design Studies: A Reader

Hazel Clads, David Brody

A collection of essays examining the role and impact of design on visual identity, consumption, labor industrialization, sustainability and globalization. 

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Designing Your Life

Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

How to apply the principles of design thinking, the strategy for improving a product and experience, to your personal and professional life. 

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Discipline & Punishment: The Birth of the Prison

Michel Foucault

Illuminating the structural impacts of the prison system and similar apparatuses and their affect on our conception of punishment and the soul.

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Draw To Win

Dan Roam

How to visualize complex ideas and improve your analytical ability through the simple practice of drawing.

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Drawing is Thinking

Milton Glaser

Explore an inspiring 180 pages of amazing drawings without words by one of the most famed graphic designers of all time.

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Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition

Kimberly Elam

A deconstruction of geometric theory and principles that illuminate why objects are beautiful. 

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Graphic Design: A Concise History 

Richard Hollis

A illustrated history of graphic design. 

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Graphic Design: Now in Production

Ian Albinson,  Rob Giampietro

An exploration of modern graphic design in published works since the year 2000.

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History of Beauty

Umberto Eco

An exploration into the meaning and an history of the concept of beauty. 

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History of Modern Design

David Raizman

A detailed history of design from the decorative arts of the 18th century to graphic design of the 20th century. 

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Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity

Hugh Macleod

A defense of the creative process when initiating a business and defining a unique business model to set a company apart from the rest. 

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In Praise of Shadows

Jun'ichirō Tanizaki

An essay exploring the foundations of Japanese aesthetic culture. 

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In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World

John Thackara

How the proliferation of technology and devices as made us loose touch with what is important; what is this stuff for? and what value does it add to our lives?

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Languages of Art

Nelson Goodman

A seminal work on 20th century aesthetics, linguistics, psychology and technology as they relate to art. 

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Maeda@Media

John Maeda, Nicholas Negroponte

A complete overview of John Maeda's philosophy and visual exploration of ideas and graphic forms. 

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Manifestoes of Surrealism

Andre Breton

A exploration into the objective, meaning and impact of the surrealist moment. 

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Meggs' History of Graphic Design

Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis

From the creation of written language to the rise of interactive design, this textbook takes you through the history of graphic design and includes 1,500 illustrative photos.

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Mythologies

Roland Barthes, Richard Howard, Annette Lavers

A deconstruction of the codification of our modern world and the power of information, and the illusion of choice. 

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New Design Philosophy: An Introduction to Defuturing

Tony Fry

An introduction into the concept of defuturing, a deconstructive method that exposes foundational flaws in the familiar design apparatuses of our the modern age. 

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Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid

Ted London, Stu Hart

How businesses should design & develop cheaper goods for the entire world, and how to make these products popular. 

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Old Worlds New Visions

Tony Fry

Redefining old frameworks to effectively understanding modernity, modernism and visual cultures of the 20th century. 

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Poetry, Language, Thought

Marting Heidegger

A collection of essays on the intersection of human life, culture, thought and the truth. 

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Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency

James Andrew Miller

How to disrupt your industry and redefine the future with people who want to rewrite the rules. 

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Product Design

Alex Milton, Paul Rodgers

A comprehensive introduction to the field and process of product design and the role of modern product designers in businesses. 

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Simulacra & Simulation

Jean Buadrillard

An examination into the relationships between reality, symbols and society. 

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Sustainable Design: Explanations in Theory and Practice

Stuart Walker

An inspirational call to think about design differently, with a focus on sustainability. 

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Symbolic Misery, Volume 1 & 2

Bernard Stiegler

An examination into the relationship between politics, aesthetics and art in the contemporary world. 

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The Birth of Tragedy

Frederich Nietzsche

An argument for the necessity of art in life, and the distinction between beauty and order, and the sublime. 

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The Book of Tea

Kakuzō Okakura

An emphasis for simplicity through the lens of Japanese tea culture and it’s impact on culture, art and architecture in Japan. 

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The Creative Habit: Lead It and Use It for Life

Twyala Tharp, Mark Rieter

A inspirational and practical guide to harnessing your inner creativity. 

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The Design Process

Karl Aspelund

A thesis that deconstructs the seven universal stages of design and why they matter. 

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The Design of Everyday Things

Don Norman

An classic text tat explains how to design products for real everyday human use.

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The Industrial Design Reader

Carma Gorman

A anthological history of the origins of industrial design from 1850 to the contemporary period. 

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The History of Surrealism

Maurice Nadeau, Roger Shattuck

A lucid examination of the surrealist movement, and it’s internal debates about politics and art. 

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The Laws of Simplicity

John Maeda

The 10 laws that balance simplicity and complexity in design, business and technology. A guide for needing less and actually getting more. 

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The New Basics

Ellen Lupton, Jennifer Cole Phillips

Discover practical insights to learn graphic design, focused on visual clarity and information hierarchy.

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The Neo-Generalist: Where You Go Is Who You Are

Kenneth Mikkelsen, Richard Martin

A poetic deconstruction of people who are serial specialists, curious and adaptive no matter what their field of expertise is. 

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The Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachelard

A journey from the cellar to the attic and how our perceptions of space shape our thoughts, memories and dreams.

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The Principles of Art

Robin George Collingwood

A treatise on the complexities of aesthetic theory, definitions of art, and the position of art in human society. 

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The Storm of Creativity

Kyna Leski, John Antonelli

How the creative process is universal. Each instance of creativity, though singular and specific, builds like a storm into a dynamic process, a path that is continually in motion with no beginning or end. 

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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information 

Edward Tufte

A thorough examination of data visualization through 250 graphics and charts, and explanations into why certain visual ideas work or don’t. 

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Thinking With Type

Ellen Lupton

A instructional book on producing effective typographic layouts.

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Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist

Peter Hall, Michael Bierut

A insightful tribute to the graphic design work of Tibor Kalman including his; magazines, advertising, sex, bookstores, food and ideas on the profession of design. 

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Tinkertoys

Michael Michalko

An insightful working on improving your brainstorming capabilities. 

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Thoughts on Design

Paul Rand

A fiercely relevant essay that examines the design discourse and principles.  

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Toward A New Interior: An Anthology of Interior Design Theory

Lois Weinthal

The impact of interior design explained through essays on architecture, film and fashion. 

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Type and Image: The Language of Graphic Design Paperback 

Philip B. Meggs

An exploration into how graphic design isn’t just a method of communication, but a unique language unto itself.

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Value Proposition Design

Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda, Alan Smith, Trish Papadakos

A practical guide to creating compelling products and services that customers actually want to buy. 

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Vision in Motion

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

A collection of innovative avant-garde work by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and his experiments with new ways of seeing using photogram, photomontages film and kinetic sculpture. 

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Visual Notes for Architects & Designers

Norman Crowe, Paul Laseau

How learning to sketch like an architect can sharpen your creative thinking

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Ways of Seeing

John Berger

An illumination into how people directly view and perceive artistic works. 

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Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers & Further Thoughts

Leonard Koren

An exploration into quintessential Japanese aesthetics and the concept of imperfect beauty founded in Taoist and Zen Buddhism theories.

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What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design

Perter-Paul Verbeek

How technologies mediate our actions and perceptions of the world we live in, the good and the bad. 

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White

Kenya Hara

An exploration into the essence of white, symbolizing simplicity, emptiness and subtlety and it’s close relation to Japanese aesthetics.  

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World Changing: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century

Alex Steffen

An insightful book focused on the world of sustainability and how important proliferating sustainable practices it will be to our future.

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Send me a question: moebius@zenofwuwei.com