I’ll be the first to admit that I am obsessed with coffee table books. In my dream home, I’d have a 20-seater sectional couch, and a coffee table the size of a double bed in the middle. On which would be each and every one of these books, plus more and I’m not even sorry about it.
The following list contains nine design books that were all published or re-printed in the past year. Many of these images give us gratitude for the world we have, help us to connect with one other, and celebrate the minds behind some of the most creative pieces. The entire collection is a kick-ass way to start 2017 by celebrating humanity; mishaps, processes, buildings, relationships, and all.
1. Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec
This unique coffee table book is composed of a special postcard project between designers Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec. Over the duration of a year, the two sent weekly illustrations to each other in the form of postcards. On one side, an intricate design, while on the other, tales of their daily lives. They wrote about complaints, and phone addictions, while living across the ocean from one another. This book is a stunning collection of human moments.
2. Failed It by Erik Kessels
A playful opposite to the popular phrase ‘Nailed It,’ Kessels displays a collection of mishap photos in this clever book. The purpose of this totally funny book is to show the power that mistakes have within a creative journey—a positive message we shouldn’t take for granted.
3. This Brutal World by Peter Chadwick
Chadwick curated a collection of the most moving brutalist architecture in the world, and created this stunning book. If you happen to be as much of an architecture junkie as I am, the images within these pages will leave your jaw slack. It features modern architects like David Chipperfield and Zaha Hadid, as well as several other leaders in architecture from the 20th century. Brutalist architecture isn’t for everyone, but I personally love the bold shapes and heavy design of these concrete creations.
4. Overview by Benjamin Grant
Grant has been collecting google drone images of earth from above for quite some time now. He posts these images to his Instagram account to show human impact on our planet. Overview is a coffee table book Grant released in October that displays many of these awe-inspiring photos. Not only did he choose singular images for the book, but also side by side, juxtapose images that truly show our effect on Earth—for better or worse. The before and after photo of Burning Man has to be my favorite.
5. The United States Of America by National Geographic
The United States Of America is the closest thing you can get to a cross-country road trip without ever leaving your couch. This book features 700 images from the National Geographic archives that span across 50 states. The beautiful images themselves are a collection of prints dating back to the 1920’s and include recent photos too. They capture the lives of people all across this country (as only National Geographic can), and in a time that the disconnection struggle is REAL, it is this book that will help create empathy, compassion, and true human connection.
6. Pretty Much Everything by Aaron James Draplin
If you’ve ever wanted to peek inside the mind of a super-talented graphic designer, this is your chance. Aaron James Draplin has designed for many things you have heard of (unless you actually live under rock). Think Nike, Burton Snowboard, and even the Obama Administration. His designs are sleek, simple, and unforgettable, but this book is more than just his imagery. It includes his process, sketches, random facts, and so much more. I didn’t think Draplin could be any more of a cool dude — I stand corrected.
7. Photoviz: Visualizing Information Through Photography by Nicolas Felton, Sven Ehmann, & Robert Klanten
Photography’s technical advances overtime have led to a huge difference in photo-journalism, as well as a change in graphic design and info-graphics. The ability to combine multiple photos to create a story-telling image, the use of long and multiple exposures, as well as other photography techniques have altered the way we see and use images today. This book takes a look at the stories told through images that show us the otherwise invisible. For instance, the cover of the book features planes that look as though they are all departing at one time, when in reality those images were taken throughout the course of a day. This collection also features an image depicting several selfie snapping behavior across an entire city. Who doesn’t love a good selfie?
8. The Earth And I by James Lovelock & Several Contributors
Learning about the Earth is always interesting, but the clear and colorful illustrations in this book make it fun, too. Lovelock teamed up with several scientists to break down science-dense information about our planet, how we started, and where we’re heading, and he put it into a book for all ages to enjoy. The Earth and I is gorgeous, smart, and it’s just waiting to teach us about ourselves.
9. Sunday Sketching by Christoph Niemann
Niemann practiced a drawing exercise every Sunday where he would sit and draw with a random object in front of him. This object, which ranged from a highlighter, a paintbrush, to pencil shavings, was then incorporated into his drawings. Sunday Sketching is a collection of these works, along with his creative process, his career, observations, and more.
10. Dali: Les Diners De Gala by Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali’s recipe collection is perhaps the most interestingly odd book on this list. Les Diners De Gala is a collection of 136 recipes with imaginative foodie images, and the musings of masterpiece creator, Dali. The original print is many years old, but Taschen re-printed it in 2016, bringing it back to life once again. If you are in search of a conversation starter, look no further than this quirky read!
“Les dîners de Gala is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of taste … If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once; it is too lively, too aggressive, and far too impertinent for you.”
~ Salvador Dalí
Which of these ingenious design books is your favorite? Did we miss any contenders? Let us know in the comments!
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