DesignStudio shares its favourite tomes in a transatlantic bookshelf

13 July 2016

Founded in 2009, DesignStudio was set up by Paul Stafford and Ben Wright, and some of the agency’s biggest projects have included the Premier League rebrand earlier this year and the Airbnb revamp in 2014, both of which echo the studio’s ethos of helping brands to exist across different platforms.

With offices in London and San Francisco this week we’re bringing you a transatlantic bookshelf as some of the team give us a run down of some of their favourite books. From a graphic design manual to a collection of ancient alphabets it’s a designer’s dream.

Domus: Domus Collection 1928—1999

This was a present for my 30th birthday. It’s an amazing collection of design highlights from around the world during the years 1928—1999. It’s a beautiful collection and an amazing catalogue of design trends over 70 years, which act as inspiration today as much as they did when they were first published.

After bringing this collection into the studio, my favourite issue, Issue VIII was taken and never returned. So you will have to imagine what it looks like, just as I have to. To whoever took it, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.

– Paul Stafford, co-founder and CEO of DesignStudio

Armin Hofmann: Graphic Design Manual : Principles and Practice

This is a first edition of Hofmann’s classic methodical look into design. Constantly helpful when thinking about grid systems, patterning, you name it. No more description needed.

– Ken Watanabe, designer, DesignStudio (San Francisco)

Karel Martens: Printed Matter

I picked up this book in the Rijks Museum bookshop in Amsterdam during a college trip in 1997. Aside from the fact that this book is an eternal reference piece for any designer, as you can see by the numerous Post-it notes sticking out of the side, it is also an absolutely beautifully produced book. Each page is french-folded perfectly to the millimetre, aligning with the grid. This OCD-level of attention to detail means that this book is very difficult to produce and therefore early editions are selling online for hundreds of pounds.

– Paul Stafford, co-founder and CEO of DesignStudio

Vic Reeves: Sun Boiled Onions

Besides being half of legendary comedy duo Reeves & Mortimer, Vic is also a prolific artist and painter. From the best drawing of Terry Thomas you’ll ever see (and the “first man in space” according to Vic), to his unusual interest in Elvis through the years, Sun Boiled Onions is a glimpse into a rare, peculiar but ever glorious mind.

– Jon Rowlandson, design director, DesignStudio (London)

Yukimasa Matsua: Zerro

I picked this up over a decade ago in Tokyo and I’m constantly referencing it – it’s a collection of 121 ancient alphabets, languages and codes. It’s great inspiration for iconography systems and understanding symbolism. Our favourites are baseball symbols, hobo signs, and ancient male and female symbols.

– Peter McLelland, creative director, DesignStudio (San Francisco)

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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.

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