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Amy Antonio's Picks


Amy Antonio is's in-house graphic designer. We stole her from our main store where she was responsible for the (some say impossible) task of beautifying the vast, dusty labyrinth that is the City of Books. Soon you will see the result of all her hard work and incredible talent after we've incorporated her new look onto the site. Amy lives and breathes design, putting us all to shame with her immaculate outfits and fancy desk adornments. She will be largely responsible for emerging butterfly-like from the cocoon that is our current site. We just hope that she won't use too many more meaty icons!


Books on design, design, and more design...

Hello World: A Life in Ham Radio
Hello World: A Life in Ham Radio
by Danny Gregory

There's a good possibility this book will get picked up by actual card-carrying Ham operators. If it does, I salute you, masters of an underground, charming, yet somewhat geeky hobby. If I could break into your 60 year-old, headphone wearing, late night basement, knob turning world, I would. But you seem a dying breed - with no one to continue the tradition. Hopefully the Hipster crowd will be intrigued enough to put down their Ataris and pick up HAM! Graphically speaking, this book is very thorough, fun, and beautifully designed.

Design for Impact
Design for Impact
by Eric Ericson

I've always thought about collecting these but my slight fear of stewardesses and being scolded by an observent one has always kept me from slipping safety cards into my carry-on. Is its stealing if you just paid $500 for a cramped eight hour space on a 747? Are they complimentary like the in-flight magazine? Or if I take one, will the next person who sits in my seat have an unsafe experience if they don't have it to reference? Regardless of my phobias, collected here is a wonderful international history of these laminated jems, dedicated to save your life and that of the child sitting next to you. Very informative with great illustratations throughout.

Lost: Lost and Found Pet Posters From Around the World
Lost: Lost and Found Pet Posters From Around the World
by Ian Phillips

A couple of years back, I started gathering pet posters and thought I might make a book out of them as well. But I couldn't have done any better than Ian Phillip's international collection of the sad yet funny flyers seen here.
by Allison Arieff

Not quite yet available from the Ikea catalog, prefabricated homes are the hottest item on your convenient yet simple/cheap list. So with only $50,000 and belief in the powers of Scandinavian architecture, you too can walk away with a very smart and very hip dwelling.
Climbing Out
Climbing Out
by Brian Ralph

Summary: Monkey man jumps into hole in the ground. Monkey man goes on an adventure and questions his existence and role in the universe. Brilliant! Here is Giant Robot contributor, Brian Ralph's next installment in his series of beautifully designed and executed books. Charming and sad, this story follows Cave-in one of my all time favorites. Keep your eyes open for Crum Bums due in June of 2003.
The Russian Avant-garde Book 1910-1934
The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934
by Deborah Wye

I saw this amazing show at MOMA in New York last year and was simply amazed. This edition, printed to compliment the show, excellently showcases the often hand-made and hand-printed examples of art, literature and political propaganda of this amazing and talented group of artists.
Street Market
Street Market
by Barry McGee

A fiction version of Sensacional: Mexican Street Graphics, one of my other favorite books of this sort, these urban street images showcase store signage and raw graffiti street graphics and as the new art. A reproduction of an open-air market, this book collects images of the art exhibit featured in Philadelphia, New York and Milan.
Cuba Style: Graphics From the Golden Age of Design
Cuba Style: Graphics From the Golden Age of Design
by Vicki Gold Levi

Heller's latest collection is a time capsule of Cuba as it was in its hey-day as a lively tropical resort colony for those in search of music, liquor, gambling and hot Cuban romance. Capturing the ideal golden days of their prosperous country, Cubano graphistos from the 1920s to the 1969 revolution are now beautifully represented.
In Almost Every Picture
In Almost Every Picture
by Erik Kessels

These visual snippets from a husband and wife's vacations attract me in the same way anonymous vacation slides and estate sale-acquired photo albums do. I love them! Who was this stylish woman pictured again and again over a decade of time? It is a mystery to even the author. If she's related to you, he'll return your photos.
Fotographica Publica Fotografia Publica
by Horacio Fernandez

Fotografia Publica is more than a fantastic documentary of the history of photography in print from 1919 to 1939. Printed on an uncoated stock, it's also one of the most beautifully designed and printed books I've seen in a long time. As a graphic designer and book collector, I've found that the successful marriage of quality of content and quality of design is rare. The photomontages and typography represented here document one of the best periods of design and the worst periods of political strife. Propaganda art, magazine/book covers, and exhibition posters from Europe, Asia, Mexico and the United States are engaging and wonderfully organized. A detailed and informative essay by Horacio Fernadez completes the history and makes this my favorite book of the year.
Wash Rinse Spin: Tolleson Design Soak Wash Rinse Spin: Tolleson Design
by Steven Tolleson

As a graphic designer and book store employee, I pore endlessly over design books. This is one of the few designer's books that I can't help but recommend. Not only is it visually engaging and well designed, it explains projects in a concise manner with the concept in mind, not mere style. It's not obnoxiously self-promoting like most design books and it helpfully covers interactive design, branding and signage as well. I highly recommend this book.
Firecrackers: The Art and History Firecrackers: The Art and History
by Warren Dotz

As stated on the last pages of this book, firecrackers have become politically incorrect. They've wreaked havoc on the fingers of those incapable of understanding the simple dynamics of explosives and have forever ruined the fun for the rest of us. This book shows great insight into the history of the firecracker and the intricate artwork involved with the packaging of them. If you are a designer, art lover or pyromaniac you will think this book is a bang.
Designer's Lexicon Designer's Lexicon
by Alastair Campbell

Finally! A comprehensive illustrated dictionary of design, printing and computer terms. Put it on the shelf next to your dictionary and thesaurus. Buy it as a gift for a budding designer or use it to sling internet lingo with the best of them. Very helpful sections on prepress and printing also.
Hillbilly Hollywood Hillbilly Hollywood
by Debby Bull

Complete with rhinestones and a specially designed die-cut cover, Debby Bull's Hillbilly Hollywood is a tribute to a bygone era not completely forgotten and it's stars; the country-western artists of the '40s. It was a time when you believed cowboys with white hats were pure cool. You belonged to their fan club and played cowboy yourself. In 1949 when Nudie Cohen established the infamous Nudie's Rodeo Tailors in Hollywood, he glamorized the likes of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans with rhinestones, embroidery and sparkling fringe. The distinct flair of country-western clothing resulted in stong relationships between the Nashville musicians such as Buck Owens, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline and their tailors. Debby Bull explores this and captures the spirit of a glamorous era with a fun and beautifully designed book.
A Smile in the Mind A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design
by Beryl McAlhone

Smile in the Mind goes beyond the typical eye candy that is the focus of so many design books – and actually shows the possibilities of concept with intelligence and wit. The text is also informative and worth reading, discussing work from over 300 designers in the USA, Britain, Europe and Japan. Documenting the power of intellectual playfulness, it is interesting and even a bit inspiring.
Fortune: The Art of Covering Business Fortune: The Art of Covering Business
by Gibbs Smith

The illustrated covers of Fortune magazine from 1930 to 1950 are amazingly beautiful pieces of commercial art concerning modern industrial civilization. Artists like Diego Rivera, Ben Shahn, and Ralston Crawford capture more than the assembly lines and smokestacks of industry. If you are at all interested in ephemera from this era, this book is a must for your library.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
by Michael Thibodeau

I'm not a smoker, but I'm a sucker for vintage packaging design (see also Firecrackers recommendation). This book is well produced and would be an inspiration to anyone interested in graphic design, typography, advertising, and/or smoking. It's a sad thing that you don't find such sumptuous art on cigarette packages anymore – this book shows that the golden age of cigarettes (and also of product design) is long gone.
(un)Fashion un(Fashion)
by Tibor Kalman and Maira Kalman

Whether you like the late Tibor Kalman's work or not, this book is a delightfully unconventional view of contemporary fashion, demonstrating the creative and similar ways that people around the world adorn their bodies at work and play. Done without text (and therefore without analysis), (un)Fashion scans the globe to show how people dress through dynamic images by some of the world's foremost photojournalists.
Six Chapters in Design Six Chapters in Design
by Philip B. Meggs

Great works by the great designers, including one of my favorites, Saul Bass, along with Ivan Chermayeff, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand, Ikko Tanaka, Henryk Tomaszewski. Their work has influenced our entire culture. This dynamic summary is a smart resource for designers and artists. With over 300 full-color illustrations, this is a great deal for the price.
Fresh Dialogue One Fresh Dialogue One: New Voices in Graphic Design
by Nicholas Blechman, et al.

Each year, the New York chapter of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) shines the spotlight on a few emerging artists and invites them to speak on what tomorrow holds for graphic design. This issue, the first in the series (with the 2nd due out in April) features art director/illustrator Nicholas Blechman, illustrator/designer Christoph Niemann, and designer Paul Sahre as they present their work through an informal conversation about the creative process, sources of inspiration and client relations. An inspiring set of visuals and dialogue from which any graphic designer would gain insight.
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