Design Library: 5 San Francisco Books You Should Read this Summer

May 30, 2014

(1 comment)

We love sending you into the weekend with something good to read in design, art and culture.


Today’s installment of Design Library is extra special, because we’ve got not 1 but 5 book recommendations for you! Sticking with the theme of the week – San Francisco – we’ve compiled a list of books covering SF culture and curiosities. We’re excited to work our way through the list, and hope you are too!



Cover of Meanwhile in San Francisco, Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton





Design Volume 09.1: Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in It’s Own Words

Year: 2014

Category: Art, Culture

Author + Illustrator: Wendy MacNaughton

Publisher: Chronicle Books


This one is at the top of our list for a reason! In her book, Meanwhile in San Francisco, renowned San Francisco based artist Wendy MacNaughton takes readers on an illustrated stroll through the City by the Bay. The book is a collection of illustrations from MacNaughton’s own sketchbook, and captures the city’s culture in everything from farmer’s market vendors to San Francisco’s beloved Golden Gate Bridge. Bonus: the book jacket unfolds into an illustrated poster!


Meanwhile in San Francisco just hit shelves in March of this year and it’s already sold out! It might be tough to get your hands on a copy today, but you’ll be able to get your reading fix soon. Wendy says the new edition should be out any day. See you at the bookstore?!





Design Volume 09.2: Why is that Bridge Orange? San Francisco for the Curious

Year: 2013

Category: Travel, History, Culture

Author: Art Peterson

Publisher: Inquiring Minds Productions


Finally, a city guide written by someone who knows and loves the city! In Why is that Bridge Orange?, author and lifelong Bay Area resident Art Peterson looks at the everyday sights and eccentricities that make up San Francisco, and answers 86 questions you may have wondered about them. Questions like Why is that Bridge Orange? or Why is Lombard Street Crooked? It’s a tourist book for the local and the guest, alike.



Design Volume 09.3: Donald Olsen: Architect of Habitable Abstractions

Year: 2013

Category: Architecture, History

Author: Pierluigi Serraino, with Introduction by John Winter

Publisher: William Stout Publishers


In his book, Donald Olsen: Architect of Habitable Abstractions, author Pierluigi Serraino documents the post-war, purist houses of San Francisco based architect Donald Olsen. Serriano uses richly illustrated drawings, plans and photographs to highlight examples of Olsen’s modernist work, which was greatly influenced by the Bauhaus School of Design’s modernist movement.



Design Volume 09.4: Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco

Year: 2013

Category: Travel, History, Culture

Author: Gary Kamiya

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA


Part history, part reporting, and part lyrical prose, Cool Gray City of Love offers a portrait of San Francisco that sounds as eclectic and unpredictable as the city itself. Fourty-nine chapters tell the story of 49 specific sites or intersections in the city. A collection of 49 hand-drawn maps completes the beautiful depiction of the City by the Bay.



Design Volume 09.5: Mid-Century by the Bay

Year: 2010

Category: Architecture, Photography, History

Author: Heather M. David

Publisher: CalMod Books (California Modern)


Mid-Century by the Bay is a celebration of post Word War II architecture in San Francisco. Author Heather David brings us back into the past with vintage ephemera, including some of her own photography, of the post war suburbs to the futuristic commercial architecture of that time.


Image Source: Book cover illustration used with permission by Wendy MacNaughton

1 comment :

  • bev

    Wow! Wouldn’t have imagined so many books about a city. I’m especially intrigued by the “49 Views” one.

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