With the prevalence of design imagery circulating the internet, and many people mixing and matching from centuries of aesthetic developments on their own Pinterest boards, sometimes we all need a reminder that there are experts out there. Nothing speaks to expertise on design like a beautiful book filled with imagery and insight. The following seven selections represent a broader look at design as a category, from packaging to stores and homes. And while they’ll look nice on display in a library or on a coffee table, there’s plenty of inspiration within.
Thames & Hudson’s Waterside Modern ($35), by design writer Dominic Bradbury and architectural and interiors photographer Richard Powers, succeeds most at capturing the impact of exteriors on interiors. Over 400 images convey the majesty and synergy of water and design. The book chronicles beach houses, ocean belvederes, and waterfront villas from California and Singapore to South America and the Mediterranean. Altogether, it’s dreamy and luxuriant.
Great Store Design
Across 200 color photographs, editor Natalie Häntze demonstrates what makes for a captivating shopping experience. Her book Great Store Design ($55), published by teNeues, showcases inventive retail outlets from Berlin to Bangkok and features brands from AESOP to Zegna. The focus is high-end, but Häntze delivers more—including the minimal and the magical—from organizational insight to lighting suggestions.
Material Innovation Packaging Design
Another useful wonder from Thames & Hudson, Material Innovation Packaging Design ($20) tackles technological advancements in material goods, like sustainability, protection and immersive products. From drone dispensing systems to “plantable packaging” that actually can be buried and will emerge as a plant, there’s a technological edge to artistry here. It’s also the third book in the Material Innovation series by authors Andrew H. Dent and Leslie Sherr.
New Nordic Design
It’s hard to deny the serenity of Nordic design, and that’s exactly what Dorothea Gundtoft conveys in her aptly titled book New Nordic Design ($29). There’s a simple elegance behind every image in the book, which brings attention to both lighting design and furniture. There are 200 photos and illustrations within, making this a comprehensive collection of Nordic designers and their vision. For lovers of minimalism, this book is a feast.
30:30 Landscape Architecture
Across 750 images, author Meaghan Kombol delves into the work of 30 internationally renowned landscape architects and 30 more emerging ones in 30:30 Landscape Architecture ($75). This is a visually-stunning compendium of both genre-defining and eccentrically unconventional works. Even social consciousness has been taken into account. And more than just a pretty collection of photos fit for a coffee table, the accompanying text is charming and thoughtful.
Patternity: A New Way of Seeing
There’s certainly a power to patterns, and it’s all on view in PATTERNITY: A New Way of Seeing. Not only a collection of images, the book features in-depth research on how patterns shape our world. All of it insight hails from PATTERNITY, a design duo founded by art director Anna Murray and surface designer Grace Winteringham. It’s the award-winning team’s first book and the product of true expertise.
Taschen’s new Logo Modernism ($79) features 6,000 trademarks, all drawn from the 1940s through the 1980s. All the selections have been broken into three categories (Geometric, Effect, and Typographic) and further sub-divided by form and still. Altogether, this impressive volume contextualizes decades of modern values applied to corporate identity and branding. For graphic designers and just about anyone else interested in symbolism and aesthetic values, this book by Jens Müller and R. Roger Remington delivers the utmost knowledge.
Waterside Modern image by Richard Powers, New Nordic Design and 30:30 Landscape Design images courtesy of respective publishers, all other images by Cool Hunting