Simon Pemberton's Favourite Design Books

Simon Pemberton is widely recognised as one of Australia's leading visual communication designers with extensive experience in the creation, development and implementation of brand identities and cultures. He has won Gold and Silver awards both here and in the UK. Simon also has significant experience in design education having successfully run three leading design schools. His experience brings a unique blend of both creative and management skills at the most senior levels which includes having run his own successful design consultancies (Isis Design and Graffiti Design).


1. A Smile In The Mind
Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart

A Smile In The Mind

First published 20 years ago and as relevant now as it was then, this creative bible reminds us that humour and wit are the best messengers. Loaded with interviews and examples of how to communicate in ways that few would be able to resist, it’s a seminal book for all visual communicators. Simon Pemberton

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2. The Art Of Looking Sideways
Alan Fletcher

The Art Of Looking Sideways

How is it possible to ignore a book whose cover offers the reader how to make twinkles in the eye and colours agree in the dark? A cover that asks if you’ve seen a purple cow…a cover that asks if androids dream of electric sheep? Arguably the best book ever produced that helps open the mind to alternative views of our world. It’s humorous, easy to read, thought-provoking, inspirational, practical and satisfyingly big. Simon Pemberton

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3. Le Modulor
Le Corbusier

Le Modulor Le Corbusier

My copy is the second edition, which was published in 1968. This is relevant because much of what I love about the book is its design. The layout and typography are seriously important factors in giving a book its character. I’ve chosen this book because it continues to fascinate me. I love the connections Corbusier’s Modulor makes with human scale and proportion. I enjoy the way it’s written, which often feels like a conversation. The first edition of the book was published in 1948 and threaded through its pages is the theme of peace and harmony, clearly inspired by a world trying to re-establish itself after the second world war. There’s nothing prescient about Corbusier’s writing but his themes of humanity and harmony blended with the idea of human experience still resonate strongly today. Simon Pemberton

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