As well as being a staff designer at New York Times Magazine, Hilary Greenbaum is also a freelancer and collaborator on a number of excellent looking art direction and graphic design endeavours. She has been recognised on her own and as a team member by a number of respected clubs, Art Directors and Type Directors being notable name drops. She’s also a professor at NYU’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies and yet somehow has found the time to put together a very nice looking Bookshelf. Must be something in the water.
Graphis Diagrams Edited by Walter Herdeg. Published 1974
The preface of this book states, “Selected with the graphic designer in mind who is often faced with the difficult task of having to present a body of information in diagrammatic form, this international review will serve as an abundant source of inspiration.” That it does. I had seen bits and pieces from this book online over the years without knowing that the lovely vintage graphics I kept stumbling across were compiled in one book. As soon as I heard about it, though, I tried my best to track a copy down. It took a couple years, but I finally found a copy in decent condition that didn’t cost a fortune. Filled with charts, graphs and diagrams of all forms, it’s a nerdy designer’s dream.
The Substance of Style Viriginia Postrel. Published, 2003
I haven’t read this book recently, but think of it constantly. This was the first book I read that really spoke to the value of design, beyond straightforward functionality. Postrel writes eloquently about how our culture interacts with aesthetics, and how delighting the senses can be a function in its own right. I thank her for helping me escape modernism.
Tree Weekend Kim Hiorthøy. Published, 2000
This book is a beautiful and spontaneous eruption of color, process, drawing, reflection, nature, and the pure joy of making. It is a bound volume of happenstance, and for me, the printed equivalent of coffee beans in a perfume store. Book design is usually such a careful art, but this book is absolutely lovely without seemingly trying. I don’t have a strong reason for being so attached to it. I just am.
Visionary Cities: The Arcology of Paolo Soleri Commentary by Donald Wall, Graphics by W. Borek. Published 1970
While working on my thesis at CalArts, which revolved around maps and various representations of space, one of my professors, Michael Worthington, recommended this book. It has served as an inspiration from then on. The introduction describes Soleri as, " one of the few architects in the world who advocates an unrestricted use of the third dimension in the design of cities," and the form of the book pays homage to his radical thinking. The black and white pages are filled with nothing but photographs and type, but the scale and orientation shifts are striking in their simplicity.
The Gemstone Identifier Walter Greenbaum. Published 1983
Chances are, no one has heard of this book. My grandfather, a gemologist by trade and an artist at heart, wrote and peppered the volume with his own illustrations. Mainly, the book is a reference guide to testing and distinguishing precious stones, but for me, it reminds me where my creativity comes from. The dedication, “To the one gem I identify with … my wife Henrietta,” also reminds me where I get my affinity for puns.