Upcoming design books to look out for

Spotlighting marginalised women designers, “heads on” design solutions to environmental issues and more – these are the anticipated design books we think you should read.

Woman Made, by Jane Hall

It’s no secret that globally women working in design have been marginalised. Phaidon’s upcoming book brings the work of Great Women Designers from around the world to the fore and covers many disciplines.

Written by founding Assemble member Jane Hall, Woman Made will feature more than 200 designers from more than 50 countries. The aim of the book, the publisher says, is to “record and illuminate” the stories of these women, who have been overlooked in their field. Readers will be introduced to each woman alphabetically, and every entry into this 264-page book will be focused around a “key product” from their collection or portfolio.

While it is intended to be a celebration of work from women, Phaidon says Woman Made “more importantly, offers a compelling primer on the best in the field of design”.

Woman Made is published 2 September, by Phaidon. Pre-order on the Phaidon website now.

The Green Imperative, by Victor Papanek

The first edition of Victor Papanek’s call to arms The Green Imperative was published at the close of the 20th century. It advocated for “heads on” design solutions to the environmental issues of the day, from litter on the world’s beaches, to the melting of the polar ice caps.

A lot, as you may know, has changed since then. But as Thames & Hudson explains, the lessons sustainable design pioneer Papanek imparts are as relevant in 2021 as they ever have been.

With the release of this B-format paperback of The Green Imperative, it is hoped Papanek’s words will reach a new audience of designers looking to save the world. With the world increasingly more aware of the climate crisis, the publisher says the new edition of the book can “give today’s reader both a fascinating historical perspective on the issues at hand and blueprint for how they might be solved”.

The Green Imperative is republished in August by Thames & Hudson. Find ways to pre-order the edition on the Thames & Hudson website.

The Complete Kengo Kuma, by Philip Jodidio

From the V&A Dundee, to the Japan National Stadium, Japanese designer and architect Kengo Kuma has pioneered a truly sustainable approach to the built environment. From utilising local craftsmanship and resources, to developing innovative structures and materials, his is a practice that “reconnects people with physicality”, Taschen says.

In an upcoming XXL, 460-page hardcover tome, editor Philip Jodidio explores all aspects of Kuma career – from 1988 all the way until today. The book will contain some 500 illustrations, photographs, sketches and plans, alongside Kuma’s own words about past milestone projects and even ongoing works.

Of the designer, editor Jodidio says: “This man looks at the earth and the shadows and sees the here and now.”

The Complete Kengo Kuma is published by Taschen on 3 August. Pre-order via the Taschen website.

Power of Play, by Paul Pethick

Power of Play is the “first book to travel the complete landscape of play”, according to PlayLab. PlayLab itself is a consultancy focused on play-informed interventions for creativity. Its founder Paul Pethick is also the author behind Power of Play.

Pethick’s book is the summation of years of interviews, research and work in the field of creative play. He calls it a “deep exploration into a small world with huge effects”. Because while many people will think of playing as childish, Pethick says it’s a fundamental element of creativity and that without it, imagination and culture itself wouldn’t exist.

As well as an interesting and often challenging subject matter, the book itself is designed to be spirited. Null Zero studio creative director Craig Sinnamon, the team behind the design, says Power of Play is a mix of “classical” and “playful” elements – while the cover itself is more traditional, for example, the edges are colourful and the imagery is “loose” he says.

Power of Play is published by PlayLab Publishing. Find out more information via the Power of Play website.

Marvel by Design, by Liz Stinson

Since its inception, the Marvel brand has spawned multi-billion-dollar film franchises, toys and merchandise lines, alongside the comic books that started it all. Celebrating more than 80 years of the popular comic book publisher’s visual language and branding, Marvel by Design will be available for purchase in September 2021.

Less focused on the drawing style itself – which has been taught and broken down in several books before – Marvel by Design will look at some of the most recognisable graphic elements which make up the brand. Think logos, lettering, colour palettes and editorial design.

Alongside a closer look at these elements, you will also be able to see how they’ve permeated pop culture and history as we know it. Far beyond just toys and comics, Marvel and its graphic language has touched everything from 1960s pop art, to vintage ads and present-day digital culture. Publisher Gestalten says the book will “connect the dots between comic culture and its undeniable influence in every creative field”.

Marvel by Design will be published by Gestalten in September. Get notified when the book goes on sale on the Gestalten wesbite. (The book cover is yet to be revealed).

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