MFA Design Department Co-chair Steven Heller offers his picks for books worth reading this summer, on topics ranging from 100 years of Olympic poster design to marketing the Holocaust.
A Century of Olympic Posters by Margaret Timmers (Abrams): It’s that time again when all designers turn to see what Olympic graphic gems and failures have been produced over time.
Making Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing by Leonard Koren (Imperfect Publishing): Wet was “the” new wave magazine of the late ’70s. It gave outlet to some leading designers, like April Greiman, and even to Matt Groening.
Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things by Rob Walker & Joshua Glenn (Fantagraphics): Contributions from writers explaining why things like a rabbit candle, mermaid figurine and Santa nutcracker are worth writing about.
Visual Strategies: A Practical Guide to Graphics for Scientists & Engineers by Felice C. Fankel & Angela H. DePace, designed by Sagmeister Inc. (Yale): Data visualization is the biggest thing since charts and graphs. But this book enables the layman to understand science, and the scientist to use design.
I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams by Mark Dery (University of Minnesota): A delightful collection of critical essays that touch on design through the lens of popular culture. My fave is Shoah Business, about marketing the Holocaust.