Design & Architecture picks in May

An interesting and insightful collection of new design & architecture books this month focus on using design to get the biggest bang for your buck. Read about all these ideas in the books selected below!

Syndetics book coverAre We There Yet?: Insights on How to Lead by Design [paperback]
“We face high costs, global competition, low productivity, and technology disruptions. We have relied on massive technology investments as our source of competitive advantage, but our growth is declining. If we want to maintain our standard of living, we need firms to grow. Firms therefore need a new approach to innovation, one that focuses on customer engagement in its business model. The concept of design thinking is often described as the mindset for firms to make this transition. But with so much being written on design thinking, why do so many firms struggle to adopt this mindset and make this transition?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Graphic Design Idea Book: Inspiration from 50 Masters [paperback]
“This book serves as an introduction to the key elements of good design. Broken into sections covering the fundamental elements of design, key works by acclaimed designers serve to illustrate technical points and encourage readers to try out new ideas. Themes covered include narrative, colour, illusion, ornament, simplicity, and wit and humour. The result is an instantly accessible and easy to understand guide to graphic design using professional techniques.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPattern: & the secrets of lasting design [hardback]
“Emma Bridgewater’s patterns are as quintessentially British as marmalade on toast – and they have made her distinctive homewares best sellers across the world. Her inspiration is often deeply personal – a plate of her mother’s, a favourite children’s book – and as she tells the stories of each pattern’s creation, she reveals the intricate processes of research and collaboration behind the familiar designs she has stamped on our kitchenware – and our hearts – for the past thirty years.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEco living Japan : sustainable ideas for living green / Deanna MacDonald ; foreword by Edward Suzuki ; preface by Geeta Mehta.
“Japan is equally as well known for its ecologically-sensitive traditional homes as it is for cutting-edge, green technology. Eco Living Japan presents 19 contemporary Japanese houses which exemplify the most recent trends in sustainable design in Japan. This is wabi-sabi for the 21st century! This book provides inspiration and practical ideas for those creating homes in North America and other 4 season climates. Anyone with an interest in Japanese design and trends in sustainable living will find fresh ideas for their own home projects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPartners in design : Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson / edited by David A. Hanks.
“The 1920s and 1930s saw the birth of modernism in the United States, a new aesthetic, based on the principles of the Bauhaus in Germany. Alfred H. Barr Jr., the then 27-year-old founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, and 23-year-old Philip Johnson, director of its architecture department, were the visionary young proponents of the modern approach. In the depths of the Depression, Barr and Johnson experimented with new ideas in museum ideology, extending the scope beyond painting and sculpture; with ordinary, machine-made objects elevated to art by their elegant design. Partners in Design chronicles their collaboration, placing it in the larger context of the avant-garde in New York.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlease make this look nice : the graphic design process / Peter Ahlberg.
“Equal parts design inspiration and manual, Please Make This Look Nice combines interviews, writings, case studies, and personal ephemera from celebrated designers into a solid primer for designers and design enthusiasts alike. Please Make This Look Nice is a behind-the-scenes look at the graphic design process of more than fifty graphic designers, typographers, and studios from around the world. Celebrated graphic design contributors including Maira Kalman, Milton Glaser, Michael Bierut, Experimental Jetset, Carin Goldberg, Ivan Chermayeff & Tom Geismar, Paul Sahre, and Stefan Sagmeister, as well as emerging design stars share their far-ranging insights and personal means of finding inspiration.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to read modern buildings : a crash course in the architecture of the modern era / Will Jones.
How to Read Modern Buildings is an indispensable pocket-sized guide to understanding the architecture of the modern era.It takes the reader on a guided tour of modern architecture through its most iconic and significant buildings, showing how to read the hallmarks of each architectural style and how to recognize them in the buildings all around. From Art Deco and Arts and Crafts, through the International Style and Modernism to today’s environmental architecture and the rise and fall of the icon, all the major architectural movements from the 1900s to the present day are traced through their classic buildings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSprint : how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days / Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz.
“Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day sprint process at Google, where he joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than one hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. A practical guide to answering critical business questions, Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesigning products people love : how great designers create successful products / Scott Hurff.
“How can you create products that successfully find customers? With this practical book, you’ll learn from some of the best product designers in the field, from companies like Facebook and LinkedIn to up-and-coming contenders. You’ll understand how to discover and interpret customer pain, and learn how to use this research to guide your team through each step of product creation. Written for designers, product managers, and others who want to communicate better with designers, this book is essential reading for anyone who contributes to the product creation process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)