• 02.01.11

50 Famous Designers Share the Books That Inspire Them

Ever wondered what George Lois, Daniel Libeskind, and Margaret McCurry have on their nightstands? Wonder no more, thanks to Pentagram’s new website.

50 Famous Designers Share the Books That Inspire Them

Some people think I treat Pentagram too fawningly around here. Well, can I help it if they keep doing great pieces of work? Here’s another: Designers & Books, a spare, handsome website that lets you glance over the shoulder of your favorite A-list designers and see what books inspire them. With 50 designers, 678 books, and a few other bits and bobs to choose from, there’s definitely something here for everybody.



Pick a genius, any genius.

Lisa Strausfeld and Takaaki Okada of Pentagram designed the site for creator and editor-in-chief Steven Kroeter. In Pentagram’s words, Designers & Books is “guided by the principle that, similar to the way good design can make your life better, good books can also make your life better.” Simple and straightforward, just like it should be.


Designers & Books’s homepage. You say “meh,” I say no-nonsense, muscular design.


If anything, the site is useful for proving that designers aren’t just wonky gnomes who only care about Pantone numbers and kerning values. To wit, here’s George Lois’s reading list. Apparently, Civil War history helps inspire his magazine-design masterpieces.

The site allows the designers and visitors to comment on individual books or whole reading lists. Feel like debating the finer points of Dada with Paula Scher? I wouldn’t recommend it, but be my guest! Personally, I plan to mine Designers & Books for my 2011 Christmas present wish-list…

[Read more at Pentagram; Top image by Paul Joseph]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.