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Increasing the emotional energy of inanimate objects
December 2, 2012 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Brain Pickings presents the Best Design Books of 2012. Because you weren't really going to get anything done today anyway, right?

Bonus in case there's still day left: Best Science Books, Best Art Books.

Double Bonus: each of these lists is on its own single page!

Brain Pickings previously, run by MeFi's own (exactly once!) Maria Popova
posted by davidjmcgee (14 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd be interested in some solid design books, rather than ones that think crazy lettering and vague, emotive statements are helpful or interesting.

This is why I eventually unsubscribed from brainpickings earlier this year. Most of the book recommendations were basically "cool cover!" The books themselves had little meat.
posted by DU at 7:15 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Covered in NYTimes and on Mefi today - she must be onto something? Im with you DU, sometimes the brainpickings flood can be a bit more fluff than substance and other times she's great.
posted by specialk420 at 7:18 PM on December 2, 2012


THE BOOK OF PROPBES?
posted by unliteral at 7:21 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did someone say canine diabetes?
posted by asterisk at 7:47 PM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, you mean books about design. I though you meant Design Bindings.

But hey, at least the Roycrofters are mentioned!
posted by clockbound at 7:50 PM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


i'm with DU. those design books are really just focused on decoration or graphic design (which is really just a form of decoration here). and the art books are all kids' books except, i guess, for the New Yorker one. i'm sure if i weren't too lazy to get up and kick through the pile of books by my bed i could find at least 5 great art books, that are really about Art (capital A) that came out this year and might be pertinent to an artist.

these are all coffee table books; gift books. decoration is not design.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 8:01 PM on December 2, 2012


"As far as I am concerned, and this goes for all cultivated people, ornament does not give zest to life. If I want to eat some gingerbread, I choose a piece that is quite plain, and not in the shape of a heart or a baby or a horseman, and gilded all over."
posted by redsparkler at 11:09 PM on December 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The best design-related book to come out all year is Design is a Job by Mike Montiero.

Some of the content is covered in a talk he gave at Creative Mornings last year called Fuck You, Pay Me about working with clients.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:20 PM on December 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I want all 10 and more. Just skimming through the list (which I will revisit with meticulous and alert eyes after shower and food), I am completely inspired. Aided by the single page layout as well. I am in design heaven just looking at the possibility of looking at these books. May have to go to a bookstore today.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:32 AM on December 3, 2012


And for those who say that these are fluffy or decorative or whatever...what are you expecting from such things? They promise only that level of depth and they deliver on it. They are not aiming to be the light shed on the obscure corners of design, or even 101 level instructional guides. But perhaps rather the highlights reels of all the pivotal turns and breakthroughs that brought us here to today's conception of design. I think we're supposed to recognize most if not all the pieces on display with the amusement being that we're reminded of our own memories of progressing through the field. Of the first time we were "wowed" by a particular concept, idea, phrase...and how that led us to expanding our repertoire or skills or appreciation.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:43 AM on December 3, 2012


The balance of pictures and text (and quoted text) is quite interesting here. I wonder, as I always wonder when I look at one of BP's posts, whether this provides much push for people to buy the books, or whether these posts are primarily pinterest-eqsue eye candy for readers to skim.

I found this post by Dustin Kurtz quite illuminating on Popova's attitude towards the work from which she siphons her fire hose of content.
posted by distorte at 2:23 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went straight to the list of "Best Art Books", and uggh, yes, same complaints there: These are cutesy design books, the kind of thing that ends up in the bathroom for toilet reading in a few months.

My contenders for actual best art books of the year...
Robert Motherwell Paintings and Collages: A Catalogue Raisonne, 1941-1991
Anselm Kiefer: Next Year in Jerusalem
Clyfford Still: The Artist's Museum
General Idea: A Retrospective 1969-1994
Jenny Saville: Continuum
Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever
Christian Marclay: Festival
Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop
Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances by Arne Glimcher
posted by Theta States at 6:30 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


It feels weird to say it, but you know what I miss? Amazon Lists. They used to be rather popular, and people were pretty good at curating some rather impressive and useful ones. Sure, it was limited to Amazon products, but that net seemingly caught 90% of published works.

Instead of that we have garbage lists like this. I did a search for best art books 2012 and got a bunch of garbage SEO pages linking to this person's post, and a bunch of other SEO garbage linking to a few other weak articles.
This gives me the impression that the entire article was just written as linkbait. Yay pictures, right?


While not nearly as prominent as they once were, here is a good example. It hasn't been updated so recently, but it's far more useful to me than any of the blog posts I found on 2012 art books.
posted by Theta States at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for those links, Theta States. In general I find brainpickings selections underwhelming (and, more off putting, so breathlessly hyped!) Agree with DU, there isn't much meat there.
posted by MrMisterio at 10:58 AM on December 3, 2012


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