Design touches everything we do and see; it underpins and shapes our lives, and its possibilities are practically infinite. Whether you’re interested in product design or graphics, typography or tech, read our round-up of the best books to teach you more about the world of design.
1. DO Design: Why Beauty is Key to Everything, Alan Moore, £8.99
So often we speed through our everyday lives without taking the time to contemplate the beauty of our surroundings. This slim book by designer Alan Moore encourages us to review, reflect upon, and ultimately restore our appreciation of the objects that make up our world.
2. 100 Designs for a Modern World, Penny Sparke and George R. Kraviss II, £27.50
From technology to textiles, art to utensils, this beautifully designed book provides an in-depth overview of the 100 most influential pieces of modern industrial design, from 1900 to the present day.
3. Icons, Susan Kare, £35
In Icons Susan Kare, the artist and designer behind much of Apple Macintosh’s 1980s interface, picks her favourite icons and unveils how they were made, pixel by pixel. A must-read for any tech junkies.
4. Radical Matter, Kate Franklin and Caroline Till, £32
Championing the idea of a sustainable revolution, Radical Matter argues that by turning our production, distribution and consumption habits from take–make–waste to make–waste–make, we can create a more ethical and ecologically viable future.
5. 500 Designs that Matter: Chair, Phaidon Editors, £16.95
Covering designs by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Arne Jacobsen and Ron Arad, this anthology explores the most simple yet ubiquitous of designs – the chair. You’ll never see your seat in the same way again.
6. How to Love Brutalism, John Grindrod, £12.99
Unapologetically harsh, Brutalism is one of the 20th century’s most controversial architectural styles. But whether you love it or hate it, this book will undoubtedly help you discover the subtleties of an often misunderstood architectural aesthetic.
8. Mid-Century Modern, Complete, Dominic Bradbury, £60
The 1950s saw a redefinition of what constitutes ‘good design’, a term that would come to be underpinned by notions of beauty, functionality and accessibility. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the era, stopping by designers such as Saul Bass, Robin Day, and Charles and Ray Eames.
9. 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne, £19.95
A chronological look at modern graphics, 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design unveils the core ideas that have influenced and defined modern graphic design, and explores how these principles have manifested themselves in the objects that we use and interact with everyday.
Design: An Essential Introduction, Gareth Williams, £19.99
There’s no harm in revisiting the essentials, and this book is the perfect place to start. In providing an informative overview of the world of design, Gareth Williams deftly uncovers the processes that go into designing and making everyday products.
What are your must-read design books? Tell us in the comments.