Summer reading list

by whitewirestudio

Ok, so perhaps we can’t all knock these out in the next month. BUT. I am pretty excited to have come across this reading list from University of Washington. It’s brought to all of us on the internet from their Visual Communication Design MFA program. This is exciting to me for a few reasons:

1) Reading lists (from people/places you can trust) are great as all the curating is done for you.

2) The tired old saying that “designers don’t read” is, well, true for the most part. We were encouraged to read and told we should be reading in undergrad, but weren’t given a great deal of assistance on where to turn. (Which meant any reading we sought out on our own was likely limited to the usual suspects—Lupton, Heller, Meggs, etc…) I think most undergrad design programs are similar in their emphasis on concept and/or production. While it’s probably safe to say this is what most 19-year-olds are looking for and need from school in order to participate in the practical job market, it can leave you hungry after graduation (and also after entering into said practicality).

3) Hooray for sharing the wisdom! I love when I come across someone’s list like this or class syllabus online. They don’t even need to publish the actual articles like these folks. Just sharing the knowledge of where to go is super helpful.

Ok, three’s enough. The suggested reading list from UW is as follows:

The Poetics of Space Gaston Bachelard

The Pleasure of the Text Roland Barthes

For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign Jean Baudrillard

Flesh and Machines Rodney Brooks

A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful Edmund Burke

The Meaning of Things Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton, E.

Society of the Spectacle Guy DeBord

Archive Fever Jacques Derrida

“Diacritics” Umberto Eco

Essays: First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson

Madness and Civilization Michel Foucault

The Uncanny Sigmund Freud

“A Cyborg Manifesto” Donna Haraway

Weird Tales E. T. W. Hoffman

The Philosophical Works of David Hume David Hume

“Download distractions: New, Pneu, Gnu, and Newed” Wes Jones

Flying Dutchmen Motion in Architecture Kari Jormakka

The Critique of Judgment Immanuel Kant

Love, Guilt, and Reparation and Other Works Melanie Klein

“The Social Life of Things” Igor Kopytoff

Écrits Jacques Lacan

Capital: A Critique of Political Economy Karl Marx

The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies Marcel Mauss

Genetic Epistemology Jean Piaget

The Savage Mind Claude Lévi-Strauss

Course in General Linguistics Ferdinand de Saussure

On Photography Susan Sontag

The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual Victor Turner

Playing and Reality D. W. Winnicott


Another promising source I came across the past few months is Helen Armstrong’s site. She used to teach at MICA in the Dept. of Art History, Theory and Criticism while pursuing her MFA, and is currently an assistant professor of design at Miami University in Ohio. Oh, and she wrote Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field (which was great). She shares student projects, blogs, reading lists, syllabi, the works.

So with that said and shared, I send a big giant thank you to all the generous people out there!