The latest design books to look out for

From the magic world of mushrooms, to design heavyweights and more, these are the design books we think you should read this autumn and winter.

Make to Know, by Lorne M. Buchman

The pandemic has unsettled creatives the world over. But as art and design teacher and ArtCenter College of Design president Lorne M. Buchman explains in his new book, uncertainty is a deeply creative state to be in.

In Make to Know, Buchman uses direct interviews with artists and designers to make the point. Those involved include designers Yves Béhar and Paula Scher, architect Frank Gehry and director Zach Snyder – and each explores how the concept of uncertainty has helped them understand how the unknow can “be a place of creative discovery”.

Alongside the insight are 38 illustrations relating to those involved, while chapters cover all elements of what Buchman calls “creative uncertainty”. Sections include how designers can work with “yet to be” problems and solutions, and improvisational making.

Make to Know is published by Thames & Hudson. To buy, head to the Thames & Hudson website.

Graphic Life, by Michael Gericke

Considered one of the most influential graphic designers working today, Pentagram partner Michael Gericke’s career has spanned more than four decades. Among his most famous projects are visual identities for the One World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial, Penn Station and the Centre for Architecture.

In a new 500-page monograph, Gericke reflects on his career through these high-profile projects. It is loosely organised by disciplines – places, images and stories – and spans two-dimensional and three-dimensional work. Describing his view of design, Gericke writes: “I’ve found a graphic voice, like life, with many tones and inflections, can say quite a bit and tell quite a story.”

Accompanying Gericke’s insight are more than 375 images and illustrations. Among these are several projects which haven’t yet been published. A preface is also included from architect Moshe Safdie, and commentary is given by Pulitzer-prize winning architectural critic Paul Goldberger.

Graphic Life is published by Images Publishing Group. To buy, head to Amazon.

Mycelium Wassonii, by Brian Blomerth

Know for fusing his irreverent comic book-style illustrations with “heavily researched history”, Brian Blomerth’s upcoming book explores the popularisation of psychedelic mushroom use in the US. Mycelium Wassonii is an account of the lives and discoveries of R. Gordon and Valentina Wasson, the scientist couple responsible for the uptake in recreational mushroom use.

The couple began their studies of mushrooms after honeymooning in upstate New York, where Wasson introduced Gordon to “a wealth of knowledge and appreciation for fungi not understood by Americans”, according to the book. Blomerth’s book covers this first step, and many more, with stops in Russian folk wisdom, the indigenous traditions of the Mazatec people of Mexico and the mushroom use in ancient Rome.

The book also includes a foreword from leading mycologist Paul Stamets, alongside Blomerth’s rich, colourful and appropriately trippy illustrations.

Mycelium Wassonii is published by Anthology Editions in November. For more information, head to the Anthology website.  

Living in Color, by India Mahdavi and Stella Paul

Minimalism is a trend that refuses to go out of style, but equally strong in 2021 is the interiors trend for colours everywhere. A new book from interior designer India Mahdavi, curator and educator Stella Paul and Phaidon discusses this in intricate detail.

Organised by colour – from the “purest white to the deepest black, from the hottest pinks, oranges, and reds, to the coolest greens and tranquil blues in between” – Living in Color will explore the growing trend of injecting vivid and vibrant hues into interior design. The visual survey includes example projects from well-known designers including the likes of Ilse Crawford and Faye Toogood, and emerging designers.

Forming the bulk of the book are more than 200 colour illustrations, which spotlight a number of different colourful interior environments.

Living in Color is published by Phaidon in October. For more information, head to the Phaidon website.

The Beauty of Time Travel, by Art Recherche Industrie

It all started with a Balzac novel, a flea market find and a jolt of creative inspiration – this is how designer Ramdane Touhami describes the process of developing Officine Universelle Buly. The beauty brand is now stocked in “almost every corner of the world”, but as a new book explains, it was built “from the ground up” from a forgotten 19th century brand.

The Beauty of Time Travel explores Touhami’s process behind building Officine Universelle Buly, and how the designer “infused an appreciation for all things vintage” into the branding, retail concept and interiors.

Readers can expect to find several different conversations in the book, from how branding can “reinvent traditions”, to how retail designers can combine traditional retail experiences with sustainability and digitalisation. Accompanying this is an extensive collection of prints and photographs.

The Beauty of Time Travel is published by Gestalten. To buy, head to the Gestalten website.

The Ultimate Art Museum, by Ferren Gipson

One for younger readers, art historian Ferren Gipson’s latest book with Phaidon brings together some of the most iconic pieces of art and design from around the world. With Gipson’s writing, each piece becomes an exhibit at the Ultimate Art Museum.

The imaginary museum is arranged in easy-to-navigate colour-coded wings, galleries and rooms, each with a narrative guide. Readers are able to make their way through different styles, periods and mediums. Alongside 310 illustrations, the book also contains a fold-out map and a series of interactive cross-referencing activities.

The Ultimate Art Museum is published by Phaidon. For more information, head to the Phaidon website.

What book are you looking forward to reading? Let us know in the comments below…

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