Baker, Steve. Process: A Tomato Project. London: Thames and Hudson, 1996. This is a collection of words and visuals from the design collective Tomato, who are involved in various media including print, music and video. The nonlinear and ambiguous nature of the work presented here clarifies that the process, not the product, is what the reader is asked to consider in this book.
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. France: Hill and Wang, 1981. Barthes speaks about the idea of the “punctum” as the thing in a photograph that is wholly consuming and magical. The punctum is an important element that I strive to find in my work with optical visualization.
Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations. New York: Schocken, 2007. Benjamin’s seminal 1936 essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” speaks about nascent mediums of art and design such as film and photography, and speculates on the affordances of these new technologies and how the aura of the work changes.
The Fearless Freaks. Directed by Bradley Beesley. USA: Short Factory, 2005. DVD. This documentary about the band The Flaming Lips is relevant to the argument of experimentation for the sake of experimentation. Band leader Wayne Coyne often uses the framework of the band’s performances as an opportunity to stage experimental processes that result in unexpected and unplanned outcomes.
The Five Obstructions. Directed by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth. Denmark: Zentropa Real ApS and Koch-Lorber Films, 2003. DVD. Director Lars von Trier challenges his mentor Jørgen Leth to remake one of Leth’s short films five different times with various—and often ridiculous—restrictions. A fascinating examination of the design process and how arbitrary limitations can beget unanticipated and delightful results.
Goldstein, Mitchell. A Question of Threshold. Rhode Island School of Design Degree Project, 2006. This statement of intent that accompanied my senior degree project from my BFA in Graphic Design at RISD acts as an initial starting point for my MFA studies at VCU.
Libeskind, Daniel. Countersign. New York: Rizzoli, 1992. A study of complexity and ambiguity in the early, as yet unbuilt work of architect Daniel Libeskind. His work as a paper architect is intriguing and reveals a deep, highly conceptual design process I admire.
Moholy-Nagy, László. Vision in Motion. Chicago: Paul Theobald & Co, 1947. This book is presented as an examination of nascent art and design, from styles like Cubism to mediums like motion and photography and how the artist relates to the rest of the word. Moholy-Nagy’s exploration of how this book itself is laid out—with images accompanying the text, not just collected together—is an early example of the integration of type and image.
Poynor, Rick. No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. An examination of postmodern design and designers, specifically their attitudes towards the previously established rules of what graphic design is. A section on Deconstruction is of particular interest to me in how these designers tear down typical modes of communication to make something previously unconsidered.
Robinson, Julia. The Anarchy of Silence: John Cage and Experimental Art. Barcelona: Actar, 2009. A collection of Cage’s musical work, noting his use of chance operations and unusual materials in his compositions, and how unexpected occurrences manifest themselves in performances of Cage’s work.
Skolos, Nancy and Wedell, Thomas. Type, Image, Message. Gloucester: Rockport, 2006. Skolos + Wedell’s process of working from form to content via collage has been tremendously influential on how I approach design; as well as their extensive use of the camera as a tool for form making.
Stop Making Sense. Directed by Jonathan Demme. USA: Palm Pictures, 1984. DVD. This concert film about the Talking Heads uses a stage that is literally constructed during the performance itself. An interesting example of using “mise en scène” and constructed narrative that is influential in how I set up my own processes.
Venezky, Martin. It Is Beautiful—Then Gone. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. Venezky calls the space between obvious and more removed relationships the “poetic gap”, and is a prominent feature in his work, which results in projects that are poetic and unexpected.
Venturi, Robert. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1977. This book is a celebration of ambiguity and contradiction in architecture, and can be applied to other mediums of design.
Additional Readings and References
Amis, Martin. The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews, 1971-2000. New York: Hyperion, 2001.
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.
Berger, John. About Looking. New York: Pantheon, 1980.
Cheever, John. “The Swimmer.” In The Short Story, a Contemporary Looking-glass. ed. Smith, Elliott L., and Andrew W. Hart. New York: Random House, 1981.
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone, 1994.
Frayling, Christopher. Research in Art and Design. London: Royal College of Art, 1993.
Gray, Carole, and Julian Malins. Visualizing Research: A Guide to the Research Process in Art and Design. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2004.
Hara, Kenya. Designing Design. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller, 2007.
Heskett, John. Design: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP, 2005.
Hitchens, Christopher. “Remembering an Intellectual Heroine,” Slate, 29 December 2004. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/obit/2004/12/susan_sontag.html
Hollis, Richard. Swiss Graphic Design. New York: Yale University Press, 2006.
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961.
Kimmelman, Michael. The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life, and Vice Versa. New York: Penguin, 2005.
Lange, Alexandria. “Why Nicolai Ouroussoff Is Not Good Enough,” Design Observer, 20 April. 2011. http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=12708
Margolin, Victor, and Richard Buchanan. The Idea of Design. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 1995.
McDonough, Tom. The Situationists and the City. London: Verso, 2009.
McSweeney’s Publishing. “McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.” http://www.mcsweeneys.net/tendency
Mendelsohn, Daniel Adam. How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken: Essays. New York: Harper, 2008.
Muschamp, Herbert. Hearts of the City: The Selected Writings of Herbert Muschamp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich. Nabokov’s Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings. New York: Beacon Press, 2000.
Riley, Charles A. Color Codes: Modern Theories of Color in Philosophy, Painting and Architecture, Literature, Music, and Psychology. Hanover: University of New England, 1995.
“Robert Rauschenberg on Artnet.” Fine Art, Decorative Art, and Design?—?The Art World Online: Artnet. 15 Dec. 2011. http://www.artnet.com/artists/robert-rauschenberg/.
Schjeldahl, Peter. Let’s See: Writings on Art from the New Yorker. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2008.
Sonnoli, Leonardo. “Leonardo Sonnoli.” 15 Dec. 2011. http://www.sonnoli.com/
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. London: Allen Lane, 1978.
Sottsass, Ettore. Man Transforms: An International Exhibition on Aspects of Design for the Opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Design, Cooper-Hewitt Museum. New York: Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 1976.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig, and G. E. M. Anscombe. Remarks on Colour. Berkeley: University of California, 1977.