The Type Designer's Dream Bookshelf
It’s an impossible task: to narrow down a list of your top ten favorite anything. Even more so when you’re talking about Design Books. This is not a top ten list at all. It’s a list of some of my favorite books I keep on the shelf at Badson Studio. I may keep them handy because they’re useful, insightful, or restorative. Or I may keep them around because they’re just fun, inspiring, or beautiful. Either way, here are just a few of the books you’ll find on the Badson shelves that mean a lot to me.
The Shape of Design — Frank Chimero
This little book is packed with so many gems of insight, critique, and general knowledge that you can’t help but feel proud to be a designer and inspired to change the world after you read it. Plus, I think Frank Chimero is a genius, so of course, this book gets a spot.
The Art of Looking Sideways — Alan Fletcher
This volume is never far from my desk at work. It’s an incredible tour through the mind of Alan Fletcher and the potential of applied creativity. It’s filled with page after page of trivia, quotes, and mental puzzlers that really do help you start to see the world differently.
Square Circle Triangle — Bruno Munari
I never thought I’d be so in love with a book about three shapes, but I am. Square Circle Triangle is actually three books, one on each shape, written/compiled by Bruno Munari as an exhaustive exploration of something so simple. Flipping through this book every now and again reminds me that no matter how simple you think something is, there’s always more to be learned
or discovered about it.
The Tobias Frère-Jones Gerrit Noordzij Prize Exhibition Catalog
This little catalog is one of my most prized books, as it was one of the first books I picked up when I was a kid learning about what type was. It blew my mind. Tobias Frere-Jones is certainly one of my typographic idols, and this catalog put together by Type & Media for the exhibition of his work in 2009 is a beautiful portrait of TFJ’s mind and early work. What a genius.
Emigre Fonts: 1986 - 2016
Who doesn’t love Emigre? The Emigre types are such classics, and this tome of their type specimens is something I could happily get lost in for hours. I remember getting each of their little specimens in the mail when I was growing up in New Jersey. I would covet them so much. Now I can revisit those feelings, never mind pour over the important types the company published through the years, whenever I want.
Ikko Tanaka — ggg Books
Ikko Tanaka is one of the most iconic Japanese designers of the 20th Century. This little book is only a small collection of his work, but it's a refreshing, powerful little book to revisit every once in a while. I took a trip to Japan a few years ago to discover something new, and it was a very cleansing reset for my type and design palette. It's good to expand your horizons from the monotonous scrolling feeds we
swipe through every day.
Lubalin — Unit Editions
Another Classic volume of a giant of type and design that isn’t more than an arms reach from the desk. Unit Editions dud such an incredible job editing this book of Lubalin’s epic work. Lubalin’s design voice yells back at us from the depths of history in the pages of this book.
A Visual History of Type — Paul McNeil
This book was published this year, and if you haven't picked it up already, do it. It’s huge, first of all. The sheer size of it makes you feel like you got away with something for paying what you did. Second, the full-size type specimens chosen for this book are stunning. It’s like having a time-lapse camera on the history of typography that you can fast forward and rewind until the cows come home. It’s certainly the new reference book if you’re at all curious about what the greats have done before you.
New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual — Standards Manual
I think I keep this book on the shelf because it's just flat-out beautiful. I say that as a true type nerd too. The revival of Unimark's work on the New York City Subways highlights the beauty and pure use of the Standard Typeface to an almost pornographic level. I know it sounds super weird, but to a type nerd, this book is on another level.
Letman: The Artwork and Lettering of Job Wouters
Job Wouters is an incredible artist. You know that question “If you could have anyone in the world over for a dinner party who would it be?” …he’s definitely on my invite list. His lettering work is so original, and I don’t think he gets enough credit. (He, along with a few other European letter makers like Vincent Deboer are just making huge strides in lettering right now). This is such a great book to explore how a creative mind is supposed to work.
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