Holiday Shopping Guide 2014: Five Books About Graphic and Industrial Designers

by Lynne Rostochil

Looking for the perfect gift for the architecture and design lover in your family?  Last week, we suggested several books about architectural photographers, and this week we’ll talk about books devoted to graphic and industrial designers.  One of these books would certainly make a great addition to anyone’s art book collection.  I’ve included links to Amazon for more information about the books, price, etc.

1.  Raymond Loewy: Industrial Design by the man himself

When I first picked up this treasure at a book sale about a decade ago, I knew that Raymond Loewy had designed one of my favorite cars, the Avanti by Studebaker…


… but I had no idea he was responsible for some of the most beautiful streamlined trains that were ever produced or that he designed so many iconic American logos:


Because it’s authored by the designer himself, there are a lot of great stories and insights in this book that may have been lost had another person penned it.  It’s a must have for any design lover, for sure.

2.  Paul Rand by Steven Heller

Like Loewy, graphic designer Paul Rand created about a million very recognizable corporate logos that you still see everywhere today, and I don’t think that’s much of an exaggeration, either.  Think IBM, Westinghouse, and UPS among many, many others:

Rand - logo

Because his career spanned nearly seven decades, Rand’s work, while always modern, encompassed many art movements and trends, but his output always seems amazingly fresh and timeless no matter when he created it.  I especially love his magazine cover and book jacket designs from the ’40s and ’50s:



Rand_stork book



3.  Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover by Kevin Reagan

If you’re looking for a book that provides a lot of heart palpitating, graphic design eye candy, this is definitely the one for you:


You may have never heard of Steinweiss, but if you’ve ever admired an enthusiastically drawn and very colorful vintage album cover, it’s likely you’ve been enjoying a piece of his lively work:


I love this book about the brilliant Steinweiss so much that it occupies a permanent spot on my coffee table and will likely never cede its throne to another.

4.  Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design by Jennifer Bass

Let’s turn from album covers to movies.  It’s impossible to think of the best movie posters of all time without an image of one of Saul Bass’s eye-catching delights entering your mind.  In fact, your brain will probably be flooded with such iconic posters as his fractured creation for “Anatomy of a Murder”…



… or his dizzying design for “Vertigo.”


While he’s definitely best known for his movie work, Bass also created a ton of great and easily recognizable corporate logos, such as these beauties:


While the Steinweiss book lives on my coffee table, this loving tribute to Saul Bass and his work by his daughter, Jennifer, is such a gem that I keep it in an easily accessible location on my dresser.

5. Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig by Steven Heller

This is such a great book and is one of those that you look at and can’t wait to turn the page to see what’s next.  But all of that anticipation and excitement comes with a bit of melancholy when you realize that Lustig was at his creative prime when he died from complications of diabetes at the young age of 40 in 1955.  He must have known that he wouldn’t be around for long because he started receiving design commissions in high school and had his own business soon after graduation.  He is perhaps best known for his dramatic book jacket designs for New Directions Publishing:

lustig_three lives

1993-31-165-Matt Flynn 029

Lustig may not be as commonly known as the other designers mentioned above, but he was certainly a pioneer whose work looks as fresh and innovative as it did when he created it over 60 years ago.  If you don’t know of his work, you will flip when you get this book and ogle at all of the great design it holds.


And that’s it for this year’s shopping guide.  Hope you’ve found a treasure or two for a loved one or maybe even a goodie for yourself.  Happy holidays!