Book we love 

lawsOfSimplicityThe Laws of Simplicity, By: John Maeda

In August, while teaching a pilot material course with Pensole at MIT this summer, I had a chance to tour  campus and explore the campus store. Initially I thought I was in Barnes and Noble where shelves are filled with cookbooks and best sellers. I found a small section of alumni’s books and John Maeda Laws of Simplicity.What I love about this book is that it measure  critical thinking that is applicable to our daily lives, but offers up a simplistic lens that is important for every creative to know.  Here are a few of the laws for your reference!

Law 1- Reduce, Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Law 2 Organzation makes a system of many, appear fewer

Law 3 Time

Law 4 Learn Knowledge makes everything simpler

Law 5 Differences Simplicity & complexity need each other

Law 6 Context  What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral * nothing is something


15811497Drunk Tank Pink:  By: Adam Alter

How does the name you give a child affect what other people think about them? What do weather patterns have to do with our thoughts, feelings, and actions? Science speaker Adam Alter has the answers—and they’re all contained in his fascinating “must-read”  book.  Alter analyzes the way judgment, behavior, and decision-making intersects with behavioral economics and marketing. His research is fun to read and practical in application. When we discover what external forces are driving our actions we can then adjust to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.

9781584797524_p0_v1_s260x420ccnews11_doc_01a_02Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots, By: Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke

Hidden in Plain View: A secret story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, by: Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Ph.D.

(ISBN 0-385-49137-9)

Telling stories is an essential part of design.This book reminds me of one of my favorite storytelling projects at Jordan. Brandis Russell (aka: the amazing PLM) incorporated the story of African American quilts with patterns that conveyed messages.  These patterns, in fact, provided essential tools for escape along the Underground Railroad.  “There are five square knots on the quilt every two inches apart. They escaped on the fifth knot on the tenth pattern and went to Ontario, Canada.  The monkey wrench turns the wagon wheel toward Canada on a bear’s paw trail to the crossroads …”  Had it not been for these quilts, many slaves would never have made it to the lives they deserved as Americans. Quilting is a apart of the American design conscience.  These books tell stories about design,color, culture and pattern.


Practical Leather Technology by Thomas C. Thornstensen

ISBN: 0894646893

 One of my favorite classes to teach is my Leather Master Class.  I incorporate the basic knowledge of how leather is manufactured with recent trends in leathers and exotics.   The trend portion is informed by the pigments, finishes and textures in the leathers. However, if you cannot take advantage of my leather class right away, investing in this book will serve you well.  This book teaches you the basics of how leather is made, the different leather classifications and the processes that determine how to work with this highly coveted material.  Knowing the basics will empower you and help to distinguish your product.  Recognizing the difference between heavily pigmented leather and full grain leather, for example, will make you a more efficient designer.  In short, Practical Leather Technology is a great place to start for material design novices.


Pasta by Design by George L. Legendre

This book is a beautiful display of how design applies to our daily lives.   The reader is introduced to the art of the culinary world, as defined through math.  Whether it’s a pasta designed like a small bowl to cradle a red sauce, to twist and fold around melted cheese, or to hold it’s structure while stuffed, It is revealed that every form of pasta is designed for a distinct purpose.  This book is an inspirational dream from the design language, which wraps a romantic story around the formulas, to the descriptions of the steps involved in the dough process.


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