Name of Collection: Design

School Name: Seward Park Campus Schools

Address: 350 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002

Phone: (212) 475-4148 x435

Fax: (212) 674-2128

Librarian: Rena Deutsch

Librarian's e-mail:


Design is behind everything we use in our daily lives. Your toothbrush, cellphone, the newspaper you read over breakfast, even the jar your peanut butter comes in and the sponge you use to clean up after yourself -- everything has been designed by someone (or many someones) for a particular purpose. No matter what field you can think of -- from the automobile industry to logging companies to pharmaceuticals to bathtub makers -- designers work there to make their products or processes better. Graphic design, advertising design, packaging design and product or industrial design are just some specialties in the field of design. The materials in the design collection at the Seward Park Campus have been chosen to complement the design program at New Design High School, one of the five schools on the campus, with an emphasis on books that students can explore for inspiration, those that explain the design process and how designers think, and books that offer students "exercises" to develop and broaden their design literacy.

Questions for Inquiry:

How do design decisions shape our everyday life?
What is the process behind product or industrial design?
What is "ecodesign" or "green design"? What are some technological and engineering innovations used in such design and what environmental issues do they address?
How are designers working to design products that attack poverty at its roots in third world countries?
Research both the design and the psychology principles underlying packaging design.


  • Graphic design
  • Typography
  • Packaging
  • Green design
  • Sustainable design
  • Industrial design
  • Product design

Subject Headings:

  • Graphic arts
  • Graphic design (typography)
  • Commercial art
  • Design
  • Design, Industrial
  • Packaging – design
  • Book design
  • Sustainable architecture

Dewey Decimal Classification(s):

658.564 (packaging design)
686.2 (type, layout)
720 (architecture)
741.6 (graphic design)
745.2 (industrial design, product design)
745.4 (design)

Key Books


Heller, Steven. Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design. Allworth Press, 2004.
This book, by a former art editor of the New York Times and professor at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, explores the elements of good design through an analysis of classic ads, posters, and other design objects that are familiar to all of us.

Woodham, Jonathan. Dictionary of Modern Design. Oxford University Press, 2004.
A one-volume reference book covering design history from the mid-nineteenth to the early twenty-first century; includes biographies of designers, information on design styles, materials, design companies (e.g., IKEA), timeline and a bibliography for further reference.


Design fundamentals
Williams, Robin. The non-designers design book : design and typographic principles for the visual novice. 3rd ed. Berkeley, California : Peachpit Press, 2008.
What makes for good design? In this book for the lay person, basic principles of design are explained and illustrated, with lots of before-and-after photos and many "aha" moments for the reader. The librarian's favorite design books!

Design and society
Design Like You Give a Damn : Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises. New York: Metropolis Books, 2006.
Architecture for Humanity is a volunteer organization involved in seeking "architectural solutions to humanitarian crisis" and bringing "design services to communities in need". This book, edited by the organization, is a "compendium of innovative projects from around the world... showcasing 80 contemporary solutions to such urgent needs as basic shelter, health care, education." (quotes from

Smith, Cynthia E. Design for the other 90%. New York: Editions Assouline, 2007.
The companion book to the the exhibition of the same name at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in summer of 2007, this book provides background information on the issues of designing for the third world, and profiles some of the innovative products designed to alleviate problems endemic to poverty-stricken areas, e.g., lack of clean, cheap water, food, fuel and/or shelter .

Ecodesign ("green design" or "sustainable design")
see also Design and society (above)
Fuad-Luke, Alastair, ed. Ecodesign: The Sourcebook. New York: Chronicle Books, 2006.
Over 700 environmentally-friendly products, including furniture, appliances, electronics, and vehicles and prototypes from around the world, are profiled in this sourcebook. Each entry includes a photograph and a brief description, including information about the various components of the product. A resource guide lists organizations, designers and manufacturers involved in "green design."

Stang, Alana and Christopher Hawthorne. The Green House : New Directions in Sustainable Architecture. New York: Chronicle Books/Princeton Architectural Press, 2005.
Thirty-five homes around the world are profiled in this book; included for each are photographs, plans, drawings, and descriptions of "green" features.

Game Design
Simons, Ian. Inside Game Design. London : Laurence King Publishing, 2007.
Interviews with game designers reveal their influences and contain practical advice for those interested in this career field. This book has great illustrations (photos and sketches) of the process, from production to finished games and advertising campaigns.

Packaging Design
Fishel, Catharine.
Design Secrets: Packaging: 50 Real-Life Projects Uncovered. Glouchester, MA: Rockport, 2003.
Gordon, Stacy King. Packaging Makeover: Graphic Redesign for Market Change. Glouchester, MA: Rockport, 2007.
These two excellent books provide a behind-the-scene look at the process of package design (or redesign). Each project is illustrated in detail from concept to completion, and provides fabulous insights into the design process.

Magazine Articles

• Print:

• Online:

Aaronson, Lauren. "Geared for change: Products for the Impoverished." Popular Science. 19 Feb. 2008. <>
Profiles the company D-Rev, which collaborates with for-profit companies to develop new products that will help people in poverty-stricken countries to earn a living.

Web Sites:

Education: AIGA
From AIGA, the professional organization for design, resources for design educators and students, including information on design programs.

AIGA Design Archives
Winners from the 10 categories from the annual AIGA design competition. Browse the entire archive, or the current year (2008).

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Links to exhibits, educator resources, and the design blog.

Design and Society -- Sustainable design
D-Rev: Design for the other 90%
The official website of D-Rev, a non-profit whose mission is to "to create a design revolution by enlisting the best designers in the world to develop products and ideas that will benefit the 90% of the people on earth who are poor, in order to help them earn their way out of poverty."

Design for the Other 90% - Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Website of the exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2007. From the website: "Designers, engineers, students and professors, architects, and social entrepreneurs from all over the globe are devising cost-effective ways to increase access to food and water, energy, education, health care, revenue-generating activities, and affordable transportation for those who most need them". Visitors to the site can view products by the above categories, or use the map to find objects used in a particular geographical area. Under resources, there are links to organizations involved in the projects/products included in the exhibition.

Book Design
Jacket Whys
A blog related to children's and YA book covers.

The Book Design Review
A great blog about book cover design.


Video Tutorial Library of Visual Design Guides
Produced by instructor from Sessions Online School of Design, an excellent graphic design tutorial entitled Choosing Display Typography. Site registration necessary to view video.

Community Resources:

Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128
212 849.8400

Curriculum Standards Related to This Topic:

NYC Applied Learning Standards
A1. Problem Solving
A1a.. Design a Product, Service, or System: Identify needs that could be met by new products, services, or systems and create solutions for meeting them.
A1b. Improve a System: Develop an understanding of the way systems of people, machines, and processes work; troubleshoot problems in their operation and devise strategies for improving their effectiveness.