The 10 Best Design Books

 
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.

Design Books - DO Design: Why Beauty is Key to Everything, Alan Moore

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.

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Design Books - 100 Designs for a Modern World, Penny Sparke and George R. Kraviss II

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.

 

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Design Books - Icons, Susan Kare

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.

 

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Design Books - Radical Matter, Kate Franklin and Caroline Till

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.

 

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Design Books - 500 Designs that Matter: Chair, Phaidon Editors

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.

 

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Design Books - How to Love Brutalism, John Grindrod

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.

 

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Design Books - Aalto, Robert McCarter

7. Aalto, Robert McCarter, £39

Perhaps you’ve visited his namesake museum, or maybe you own one of his iconic vases, but whatever your reason for wanting to explore the life of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, this beautiful book is an excellent starting point.

 

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Design Books - Mid-Century Modern, Complete, Dominic Bradbury

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.

 

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Design Books - 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne

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.

 

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Design Books - Design: An Essential Introduction, Gareth Williams

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.

 

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What are your must-read design books? Tell us in the comments.


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Kate Richmond

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