My Favorite ‘Non-Design’ Design Books

I thought I’d share another ‘old’ video with you today.

These are books that got me excited because I thought these were good books to introduce how a designer/creative mind works that was not through a textbook.

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki

I shared this yesterday and made a video for that a few years ago.
I like this book because it reminds us to focus on the essentials. Design is about essentials–just the right amount of communication, function and personality to serve its user. Think Dieter Rams for Braun.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

I absolutely love this book that I ended up buying it so I could take notes. It’s about a young architect who doesn’t bend towards others’ expectations and stays true to himself even when people mock his designs (that’s what I got out of it). I have found a lot of it very motivating. We can’t keep pleasing other people because of their expectations.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

This is a thriller and that’s why it was so much fun to read. The core of this book is not about design, but I love that the author got all those design details right. He gave this beautiful example about how design can change our behavior through a staircase. He explained how that staircase has not handle so whoever is walking had to slow down and be extremely cautious as they head down the stairs. I love this because that is exactly what design does. It affects how we behave and definitely has the power to encourage us to act a certain way.
Anyway, I got carried away, but I believe those who love design will enjoy these bits of detail.

I hope you enjoyed this selection. Have you read any of these mentioned books before? I have included links to the books if you were interested.

I am reading the first two for the second time right now. I am also considering purchasing Goodbye, Things so I can take notes. Do you do that?

Creatively Challenged

Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

If I hadn’t already mentioned it, I am an industrial designer. I am trained to problem solve with 3D, experiential solutions. It is quite interesting. As much as my education challenged me and developed my design process, I must say I have lost my ability to daydream.

Industrial design is not the same as product design. Product design is about designing a ‘product’. Industrial design is design products that can be mass produced. That is the criteria. The beauty of that is accessibility in terms of production time and reduced cost. Most of us are not rich.

You see, industrial design is a combination of engineering and visual arts (traditionally speaking). With that said, it still relies on logic. The difference it has from pure engineering is that it must also emotionally connect with humans–not just function.

An obvious example of this combination is automotive design. It is the combination of exciting features, how the engine revs, the visuals of the exterior and the allurement of the inside that makes you want the car. You don’t merely want it because it gets you to places, but it speaks to you and it feels right to you.

I think automotive design is one of the few fields that still values creative design. As for the rest of the industrial design sector, well, it seems we have become caught up in trends.

I personally have designed only for mass retail and the most depressing part about all this is that we copy. We copy because it is faster. We copy because it costs less. We copy because we know what works.

It’s become this competition of who copies well enough to not get sued and make the biggest bang for the buck (not sure if I said that right).

So, after years of copying, I feel like I have lost my ability to create. I have gotten use to getting my inspiration from someone else’s design. I know we’re not meant to reinvent the wheel, but I have been feeling disingenuous.

I am admitting my inability to problem solve creatively and this has troubled me for years. So, I am dedicating the rest of my life to explore my daydreams, to free my mind.

I am not a very good writer but I hope my sharing has given you some insight, some questions, and more curiosity.

Thank you for reading.