buy:design | not-so-serious books for the curious designer on your list

Just a little help for the holiday, courtesy of re:design. You’re welcome.

I Miss My Pencil by Martin Bone and Kara Johnson (of IDEO)

What if doorbells used smell instead of sound? What if watches told time more slowly on weekends? Designers at the ground-breaking firm IDEO ask seemingly outrageous questions like these every day. I Miss My Pencil takes a voyeuristic look at what designers do daily, might get to do once, and sometimes only hope to do.

More Things Like This by the Editors of McSweeney’s

More Things Like This explores the intersection of text, humor, and illustration in art created by cartoonists, writers, musicians, and fine artists. A refreshing mixture of high, low, and sideways, the selection features nearly 300 images from dozens of contributors, including David Shrigley, Kurt Vonnegut, Leonard Cohen, Chris Johanson, David Mamet, and many more. Insightful interviews with the artists further illuminate the shared and divergent approaches they take in creating this smart, funny, and engaging work.

Pictorial Webster’s by John M. Carrera

The 1500 engravings that originally illustrated the 19th-century dictionaries of Noah Webster are a remarkably rich resource — one that lay buried in the bowels of Yale University. John Carrera has made an amazing book, collecting and restoring these illustrations from the original engravings. Collected together they tell a new story of knowledge, of nature, discoveries and innovations.

The Principles of Uncertainty By Maira Kalman

There is nothing uncertain in our full-tilt recommendation of Maira Kalman’s latest book — a series of illustrated essays combining the author’s whimsical drawings with her refreshingly unpretentious observations about — well, pretty much everything under the sun. A must-read for the whole family: or as Maira might say, mishpucha.

Thanks to Design Observer for the original reviews.

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3 Responses to “buy:design | not-so-serious books for the curious designer on your list”


  1. 1 Lisa Fischer December 15, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Which ones have you read? I Miss My Pencil looks good.

  2. 2 kimtb December 16, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Lisa, To be honest, I haven’t read any of them. The IDEO folks are brilliant, so I would look at that book, for sure. And I love the title. I put the Webster’s Pictorial on Kate’s Grandparent’s list, so I am hoping to see that one show up soon.
    I adore McSweeny’s. And Maira Kalman makes me seriously swoon. Please tell me you know about her…if you don’t, you need to check out her books for your granddaughter.

  3. 3 LisaF December 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Maira Kalman looks like she has a lot of great kids books. Army Wife is an avid book buff…no idea where she gets it from (wink, wink)…so I’m sure we’ll check out many of her titles. Thanks for the suggestions.


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