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This year was a good year for books on art and design. It’s hard to choose just five, but here’s a list that’s sure to cover all those design savvy folks on your holiday gift list:
Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Books Jason Godfrey has put together a fun and thoughtful compilation of design books from the last century which works to give readers real insight into the evolution of graphic design through the 20th century. Sure to provide the graphic designers on your list and those design aficionados with lots of inspiration.
New York Times Magazine: Photographs Journalism and photography, both as an art and journalistic endeavour, is certainly changing and changing fast. This volume, edited by Kathy Ryan, former editor of the Magazine, is a collection of some of their finest commissioned photographic work over the last 30 years. Divided into 4 section covering reportage, portraiture, style, and conceptual photography, The New York Times Magazine: Photographs also includes behind-the-scenes interviews and anecdotes that highlight old and emerging tensions that surround photojournalism.
I’ve written about this book before, a clever design book full of hope for the future by Michiel Schwartz and Joost Eiffers. Modernism is dead, posit the authors, and the new ‘ism’ needed to think about the world is Sustainism. Sustainism is responsible: ethically, socially and environmentally so; it shifts the global versus local discussion to understand it as “all locals are globally connected”; Sustainism celebrates open source information and a networked, collaborative approach to innovation, technological and otherwise. This is a neat little book, full of quotes from historical figures who’ve discussed the concept the authors have named, as well the authors’ vocabulary and symbolic language to start thinking about the world in a new way.
For all the fashionistas on your list, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton is the gift for them. McQueen was a maverick who pushed fashion’s boundaries with fierce intelligence, cultural commentary, and humour. This book, released to coincide with an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, examines the full breadth of his creative work and offers real insight into his artistic process. Oh and the photography of the fashion is extraordinary too.
Simon Garfield’s book is about fonts. And it’s very very entertaining. Whether you work in the field or are a layperson who’s wondered why we are surrounded by so many different fonts everyday and at every turn, this book takes you through the rich history and subtle powers of type. Plus it answers the question you never thought to ask: what does your favourite font says about you? You might be surprised.
Okay so this one isn’t a book, it’s a movie or documentary depending on your interpretation and it’s now available on DVD and BluRay. For all of the street art lovers on your list and perhaps even more for those who aren’t, this irreverent film will start a dialogue about what constitutes art in the modern age. Gift it to hipsters who won’t know if you’re mocking them.