Book List: DesignThinkers 2016

Check out the following books by authors speaking at DesignThinkers 2016 in Toronto on November 3 & 4.


By Stefan G. Bucher

You Deserve a Medal: Honors on the Path to True Love

Published by Knock Knock Books, 2011

For over two thousand years, heroic deeds and extraordinary service in the public sphere have been rewarded with medals. But what about more personal victories and accomplishments? Don’t they require bravery and stamina? Isn’t the quest for love every bit as fraught with peril and sublime in spirit as any martial or athletic undertaking? In one volume, forty of the most important medals awarded in the contemporary romantic quest, tracing the path from disenchantment and heartbreak to healing, romantic rebirth, and the happy ending of true love. 


344 Questions: The Creative Person's Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment

Published by New Riders, 2011

The secret to creative success lies not in knowing the right answers, but in knowing how to ask the right questions–and this little book is full of them! A veritable therapy session on paper, 344 Questions is composed entirely of questions designed to help you determine where you are in your life and career, where you want to be, and how to get there. Hopefully, you'll also laugh along the way.


The Graphic Eye

Published by Rotovision, 2009

Selected from the personal portfolios of the world's most innovative and creative graphic designers, Photographs by Graphic Designers includes every type of photographic image, from macro details and funny moments, to found type, street scenes, rare objects, and monumental vistas. The book also includes personal portraits, quirky fashions, and organic and manmade colours, textures, and environments.


100 Days Of Monsters

Published by HOW Books, 2008

A collection of Stefan Bucher's monsters. For 100 days, Bucher filmed himselv putting a few drops of ink on a piece of paper each day and transforming the resulting blot into a new monster. Every night he posted the result on his website and stood back in wonder as visitors from all over the world told me the amazing stories behind each creature.


All Access: Behind the Scenes - the Making of Thirty Extraordinary Graphic Designers

Published by Rockport Publishers, 2006

All Access' presents the life stories of some extraordinary designers, including Margo Chase, Ed Fella and Mirko IliOc, and illustrates them with work samples that span all stages of their careers. A chart allows you to compare everyone's work year by year and in relation to major world events.



By David Carson

The Book of Probes

Published by Gringko Pr Inc., 2011

Art Director and Designer David Carson presents Marshall McLuhan’s work with refreshing new visual insight, and in doing so has added his indelible mark to a body of work that is destined to be recommissioned and reinterpreted by countless generations to come. The Book of Probes opens a new portal to McLuhan’s mind and sets a new precedent as to how we will interpret and appreciate McLuhan in the future. 



Cory Doctorow

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

Published by McSweeny's, 2014

Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, it offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.


In Real Life

Published by First Second, 2014

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer--a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.


Little Brother

Published by Tor Teen, 2010

Seventeen year-old Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco―an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.



Published by Tor Teen, 2014

Marcus's hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. His former nemesis Masha gifts him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. If Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier. Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they're used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.


The Rapture of the Nerds: A tale of the singularity, posthumanity, and awkward social situations

Published by Tor Books, 2012
Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century. Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander…and when that happens, it casually spams Earth's networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth's anthill, there's Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors.


By Kenya Hara

Designing Design

Published by Lars Muller, 2015

Kenya Hara impresses upon the reader the importance of "emptiness" in both the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan, and its application to design, made visible by means of numerous examples from his own work.



Published by Rizzoli, 2010

This fascinating monograph provides an unprecedented view into the inner workings of Muji, one of the most influential brands leading sustainable design. A prescient advocate of sustainable consumption and the matchless utility of good design, Muji’s founding principle was to develop new and simple products at reasonable prices by making the best use of materials while minimizing their impact on the environment.



Published by Lars Muller, 2009

This book is Kenya Haras attempt to explore the essence of "White", which he sees as being closely related to the origin of Japanese aesthetics - symbolizing simplicity and subtlety. The central concepts discussed by Kenya Hara in this publication are emptiness and the absolute void. Kenya Hara also sees his work as a designer as a form of communication. Good communication has the distinction of being able to listen to each other, rather than to press one's opinion onto the opponent.



By Steven Heller

Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design

Published by Allworth Press, 2014

This update to the first book to provide explicit case histories of the successful marriage of form and content in graphic design explores more than 125 classic and contemporary works-30 of them brand new-explaining why they are aesthetically significant and how they function as good design. These thought pieces offer a vast taste of the aesthetic, political, historical, and personal issues that move today's global design community and fans.


Becoming a Graphic Designer: A Guide to Careers in Design

Published by Wiley, 2015

This book provides a comprehensive survey of the graphic design market, including complete coverage of print and electronic media and the evolving digital design disciplines that offer today's most sought-after jobs. Featuring 65 interviews with today's leading designers, this visual guide has more than 600 illustrations and covers everything from education and training, design specialties, and work settings to preparing an effective portfolio and finding a job. 


100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design

Published by Laurence King Publishing, 2012

This book demonstrates how ideas influenced and defined graphic design, and how those ideas have manifested themselves in objects of design. The 100 entries, arranged broadly in chronological order, range from technical (overprinting, rub-on designs, split fountain); to stylistic (swashes on caps, loud typography, and white space); to objects (dust jackets, design handbooks); and methods (paper cut-outs, pixelation)."


The Design Entrepreneur: Turning Graphic Design Into Goods That Sell

Published by Rockport Publishers, 2011

Through case studies with designers like Dave Eggers, Maira Kalman, Charles Spencer Anderson, Seymour Chwast, Jet Mous, Nicholas Callaway, Jordi Duró, and over thirty more from the United States and Europe, this book explores the whys, hows, and wherefores of the conception and production processes. The design entrepreneur must take the leap away from the safety of the traditional designer role into the precarious territory where the public decides what works and what doesn’t. This is the book that shows how that is accomplished.


The Anatomy of Design: Uncovering the Influences and Inspirations in Modern Graphic Design

Published by Rockport Publishers, 2007

An iconic collection of design work presented in fresh and useful format.
The authors selected fifty examples of graphic design that will be dissected, piece by piece, tissue by tissue, revealing an array of influences and inspirations. These represent contemporary artifacts that are well conceived, finely crafted, and filled with hidden treasures. Some are overtly complex and their influences are somewhat easy to see with the naked eye. Others are so simple that it is hard to believe there is a storehouse of inspiration hidden underneath.


Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility

Published by Allworth Press, 2003

What does it mean to be a designer in today’s corporate-driven, overbranded global consumer culture? Citizen Designerattempts to answer this question with more than 70 debate-stirring essays and interviews espousing viewpoints ranging from the cultural and the political to the professional and the social. This innovative reference responds to the tough questions today’s designers continue to ask themselves: How can a designer affect social or political change? Can design become more than just a service to clients? At what point does a designer have to take responsibility for the client’s actions? When should a designer take a stand?



By Erik Kessels

Failed It!: How to turn mistakes into ideas and other advice for successfully screwing up

Published by Phaidon Press, 2016

Failed it! celebrates the power of mistakes and shows how they can enrich the creative process. This is part photobook and part guide to loosening up and making mistakes to take the fear out of failure and encourage experimentation. It showcases the best and most hilarious examples of imperfection and failure across a broad range of creative forms, including art, design, photography, architecture and product design, to inspire and encourage creatives to embrace and celebrate their mistakes.


Wonder: Rejected Photos

Published by KesselsKramer, 2006

Mechanical accidents happen in photography. Sometimes the film gets jammed and 36 holiday snaps are captured on one frame, other times the film advancement was not complete or skipped a setting, resulting in a strange cropping or a double exposure. Or perhaps the shutter opened accidentally. Rejected and subsequently separated from their original purpose these images take on a special life of their own, with a particular beauty in their accidental composition. Here a collection of rejected photographs rescued by Erik Kessels, Hans Wolf, André Thijssen and Sabine Verschueren are presented.


In Almost Every Picture

Published by Artimo Foundation, 2002

A series, where each edition is a collection of charming, humorous and often poignant photographs. Whether it be one family’s desperate and failed attempts to photograph their black dog, a woman’s sixty year collection of passport photographs, or a taxi driver’s endless vacation portraits with his disabled passenger, these collections reveal and preserve the intimate and private moments of anonymous photographic memorials.



By Lotta Nieminen

Walk This World

Published by Big Picture Press, 2013

A composite of global cultures, Walk this World celebrates the everyday similarities and differences that exist between cultures around the world. Travel to a new country with every turn of the page, each with new surprises to discover: peek through windows, open doors, and delve underground by opening the many flaps on every spread.


Pancakes! An Interactive Recipe Book

Published by Phaidon Press, 2016

Cook pancakes from scratch inside this interactive recipe book ? readers whisk the eggs, flip the pancakes, and more! Simple, straightforward recipe text brings readers through each step of cooking pancakes, while the interactive novelty features, such as pull-tabs, wheels, and a punch-out piece, invite them to participate in the process. Cooking pancakes has never been so satisfying nor so clean! Perfect for young chefs-to-be, or any kid who prefers to `do it myself?.


By Steve Powers

A Love Letter to the City

Published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2014

Stretched across city walls and along rooftops, Stephen Powers's colorful large-scale murals sneak up on you. What at first looks like nothing as much as an advertisement suddenly becomes something grander and more mysterious-a hand-painted love letter at billboard size. Combining community activism and public art, Powers and his team of sign mechanics collaborate with a neighborhood's residents to create visual jingles- sincere and often poignant affirmations and confessions that reflect the collective hopes and dreams of the host community.


I Paid the Light Bill Just to See Your Face: Love in Letters: 12 Notecards and Envelopes

Published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2014

Celebrated public artist Stephen Powers painted these charming expressions of encouragement and devotion for loved ones near and far-flung. Powers has borrowed the conventions of sign painting to craft brightly colored love notes with messages that are sincere and just a bit sentimental. Send one of these simple and bold declarations of affection to let your sweetheart know: I paid the light bill just to see your face.


First & Fifteenth: Pop Art Short Stories

Published by Villard, 2005

With an aesthetic found on the streets (literally, as a graffiti writer and sign painter), and influenced by such great artists as Chris Ware and Ken Lum, Steve Powers has painted a neighborhood of petty criminals, pettier crimes, and a superhero who’s a couple steps away from saving the day. Sharp, funny, and clever, First & Fifteenth features brief urban stories that shrewdly straddle the line between graphic novel and work of art. With a nod to the concrete roots of graffiti and sign painting, Powers skillfully combines word and image to produce a new and unique vision in modern art.


The Art of Getting Over: Graffiti at the Millennium

Published by St. Martin's Press, 1999

This book examines graffiti's influence from its earliest days to its undeniable ubiquity now. Written by an insider, it includes a general history, in-depth interviews with both the progenitors of the form and current artists, and full-color illustrations of the most important works over the last 30 years. Unlike other subcultures that have been corrupted by the media and the mainstream, graffiti has maintained its sense of the underground and its clandestine feel. The purity and integrity that have defined the graffiti writer's mission have never faltered.



By Snask

Make Enemies & Gain Fans

Published by August Dreesbach Verlag, 2015

This book aims to “share how they think, talk, lie, kiss and tell. You will learn how to pee on yourself or tell pink lies and find out why making enemies is a good thing.” Featuring 188 pages of the studio’s work, tips on being creative and entrepreneurially ruthless, not to mention the delightful pastel pink stock and gold-foiled (we kid you not) cover, this is one volume you really shouldn’t miss out on. Actually you can probably miss out on the making enemies part. We find that doesn’t work quite as well as Snask would have you believe, the scamps!



By Julien Valée

Rock Paper Scissors

Published by Gestalten, 2011

Julien Vallée is a virtuoso at melding a variety of analog and digital design techniques into fascinating images and magically arranged spaces. Whether moving or static, the young Canadian's incomparable visuals explore the relative roles of the computer and handmade processes in design.



Register now to attend DesignThinkers 2016 in Toronto!