The convergence of data and design is evidenced beautifully in FORM+CODE In Design, Art and Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, $24.95). Featuring over 250 projects from the past 60 years, it’s both a historical survey and technical workbook, written by Casey Reas, Chandler McWilliams, and LUST.

Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?

Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today? (Princeton Architectural Press, $19.95) is a collection of daily purchase drawings Portland-based designer Kate Bingaman-Burt has created since 2006. In her hand, sketches of mundane objects are transformed into engaging statements on consumerism, spending, budgeting, celebration, indulgence, and of course, guilt.


Graphic designer James Victore’s distinctive illustration style has tackled social issues from AIDS to smoking to racism. In his new monograph Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss? (Abrams, $40) Victore explains the method to his madness that makes him the reigning bad boy of good causes.

Tree of Codes

Not a design book per se, but Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes (Visual Editions, $40) is by far the most stunning technical achievement of the year in the world of book design. By die-cutting words out of Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles, Foer created a new story, and an artifact that’s quite literally a page-turner.

Less is More

There’s been plenty written about industrial designer Dieter Rams, the king of minimalist products for companies like Braun. But the new book Less is More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams (Die Gestalten Verlag, $78), which accompanied an exhibition at the Design Museum, captures both his work and his philosophy in an appropriately sleek white volume.

Predictable Magic

Those looking for a formula for injecting design thinking into any business should look no further than Predictable Magic (Pearson Prentice Hall, $30), written by business strategist Deepa Prahalad and Co.Design’s own expert design blogger, Ravi Sawhney. At the heart of their philosophy is the theory that design isn’t as much about looks or function, but how it makes its users feel.

I Wonder

The first book from graphic artist Marian Bantjes does more than simply showcase her decadent, ornamental work, it tells a story as well: I Wonder (The Monacelli Press, $40) features Bantjes’ witty writing to accompany her fantastic visual gymnastics -- rendered in mediums ranging from rose petals to macaroni.


You can’t peer inside the brain of Stefan Sagmeister and Milton Glaser, but here’s the next best thing. Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers (The Monacelli Press, $60) goes deep within the Moleskines of hundreds of designers, from tracing the origin of raw ideas to a way to quickly record pure inspiration.

Designing Media

Designing Media (The MIT Press, $40) is written by Bill Moggridge, co-founder of IDEO, the inventor of the laptop, and the current director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The book features dozens of top names in the field, from Mark Zuckerberg to Ira Glass, surveying the future of media. An accompanying DVD includes video interviews that Moggridge conducted (which you can also see online).

Handcrafted Modern

Photographer Leslie Williamson takes readers inside the humble, handmade homes of some of the world’s most iconic designers in Handcrafted Modern: At Home With Mid-Century Designers (Rizzoli, $45). From sculptor Eva Zeisel to Walter Gropius, the lifestyles of these design greats play out in lush, textured interiors that make for some serious house porn.


Enthusiasts of the cult-like Japanese retailer Muji turned cartwheels for its first book, which traces the specific stripped-down aesthetic through hundreds of products. Collecting essays from the designers alongside their works, Muji (Rizzoli, $65), is a primer on sustainability and restraint in design. It’s also designed as thoughtfully as a Muji product itself.

Third Teacher

Why not take architecture and apply it to our failing educational system? That’s the premise behind The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching & Learning (Abrams, $30). The book is also a real-life collaboration between design firms Bruce Mau Design, VS Furtniture, and OWP/P Cannon Architects, home of our own expert design blogger Trung Le, who blogs regularly about design and education right here at Co.Design.

Data Flow 2

No must-have design-book list would be complete without a tome on infographics. Our favorite from this year was Data Flow 2 (Die Gestalten Verlag, $78), a compendium of some of the world’s most inspiring infographic designs.


13 of the Best Design Books of 2010

The past year saw dozens of dazzling design books hit the market. Here are 12 of our favorites.

IPad? What's an iPad? 2010 saw dozens of dazzling design books hit the market that proved the tactile, page-turning experience is still king. Here, we look back at our favorite design books of the year.

These range from Bible-like illuminated manuscripts and luscious layouts of dizzying code-generated forms to monographs of design legends and innovation tomes that radically changed the way we look at design. (And yes, OK, some of them are even available on the iPad.)

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