Suggested reading list for Masters students at IDC -II

So, I am back here. I was away for a bit. The reasons were described in the previous post. I had already written a part of the post an year back. Since then, I did manage to read a few more books and reflect on what could have been more useful for IDC students. Things that could have provided a better understanding of the “design” industry. I have, hence, updated the list.

Let me know what you think about the list.

This list is probably more useful during the other half of your time at IDC (P2,P3, and Placements). The second part of the list concerns with ‘nature’ of design as a practice in the industry and how to take it. Fortunately (and also in a quite palatable way), most of the students get their first job through campus placements at IDC. So the struggle is minimal anyways. But the books, will anyhow help you to get out there.

  • Design for the real world — Victor Papanek
    This is a great book to read on the nature of design that impacts the real world (outside the fastest new gadget out there). A book that greatly helped me develop the ‘designer’ ethos and avoid the ‘cool and indifferent designer’ trap. The book discusses various ways to think about design and could be helpful in finding possible opportunities and processes to follow for projects and life.

“Design is basic to all human activities - the placing and patterning of any act towards a desired goal constitutes a design process.”

  • Siddhartha — Herman Hesse
    This is probably the book I have gifted the most. I just love it. This is not a counter-top mindfulness pill but rather a book that teaches the value of struggle and patience. Design could be better with a more patient mindset.

“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

👆🏽 That is why I ask you read these books and discover it yourself. It is a pretty small book and easy to read.

  • Design Methods — J. Christopher Jones
    The perfect design methods to get you unstuck. Forget Design Thinking, this is pure gold. The library has a heavily contested copy.

  • Elements of style — Zinser
    Excellent book to keep handy while writing reports. I am grateful to my guide, Prof. Girish to have recommended it back then.

  • Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It — Adam Savage
    If you are product designer or build anything physical, please do not graduate without reading this. Adam Savage, is one of the Mythbusters (TV Show). He has been an inspiration for me and got me excited about making and crafting things. In this book, he condenses his cognitive processes and talk about various hacks and stories from his time at ILM and beyond. It will make you feel good. Trust me !

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a model maker, a potter, a dancer, a programmer, a writer, a political activist, a teacher, a musician, a milliner, whatever. It’s all the same. Making is making, and none of it is failure.”

  • Brave New World — Aldous Huxley
    A classic to read and reflect. Get a class buddy to read it with and then talk over some chai or whatever you people are drinking now ;)

  • Technopoly - Neil Postman
    As the nature of design industry in India (and maybe globally) is very technology driven, it is important to avoid getting too stuck with what technology ‘can’ do and rather how technology can be used as a tool. Design is not problem solving and please don’t get too enamored by that new tech thing. This book can help you by providing a counter opinion and balance your influences.

  • Candide — Voltaire
    Probably shorter than this blog post. Please do read it.

  • Show Your Work — Austin Kleon
    Showing your work in very important. Keep things under wrap is not a good idea . This book can be a great guide to get out there with your work. Writing is a great tool to think. Many of my friends did get new ideas when the wrote their reports. Please do read this book. Another thing to do could be to start making a portfolio way earlier than you sit for placements/apply for jobs. Ideally six months early. Putting a blog up is very easy. It is even easier if you don’t know how to code. Use tools like webflow to get your things out and presentable to general public. Seek critical feedback from strangers and internet beings. (Reddit🤭)

  • Antifragile - Nassim Taleb
    My friend, Paco, suggested this to me. This book is a dense one. I took about 4 months to read it. But I am a terrible reader so don’t trust me on time. The book teaches a ton of lessons around idea of antifragility. Most natural systems tend to be antifragile i.e when the stressor is removed they come out better than before. It a great book to read when living in times of uncertainties (like near your jury 😜) and provides various cognitive tool to understand and reflect on what happens around you.

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

  • Design Is a Job - Mike Monterio
    Ok. So, you are passionate about design. You got a job as a designer. And it is a company that starts with M, A, G or B. Wow. Must be great. The salary is amazing 🤑. You are stoked. 🙀 On top of that, You give everything to get things out. You are good. But sadly, the world is not always. This book helps you develop the skin, hard skin, especially if you freelance or run your own shop. I wish I had read it earlier. 🥲
    Mike writes very well for designers. Do check him out on Medium. His series, ‘Dear Designer’ will help you develop some criticality.

  • Spectacle Society — Guy Debord
    Not the last book, but a good one. Guy is one of the early situationists. This book provides a thought provoking insight into the current world mediated by images and what truly is behind these images. If it is too heavy, you can also watch the youtube video documentary of the same here. If these things interest you, be sure to check out works by McLuhan, Baudrillard, and Lacan.

“The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

Here are some other books that is worth taking a look at.

Extra :

  • Wabi Sabi — Leonard Cohen
  • 44 letters from a liquid modern world — Zigmut Bauman
  • Shaping Things — Bruce Sterling
  • Amusing ourselves to death — Neil Postman
  • How to Walk — T.N. Hann

Now the new tweet ritual :

Cheers y un abrazo,
— Rohit

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