Looking to highlight both the rise in consumer awareness of design and the importance of books to the design professions, Steve Kroeter, founder of the Designers and Books Web site, is launching the Designers and Books Fair 2012 slated to be held October 26-28 on the campus of the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. The inaugural fair will highlight titles across a wide-range of design categories including graphic, architecture, fashion and product design with more than 40 exhibiting publishers and a distinguished list of speakers and ticketed programming.
The Designers and Books Fair 2012 has been organized by Kroeter, a marketing and advertising professional, who launched Designersandbooks.com in early 2011, a site used to highlight books that a wide range of professional designers consider influential to their careers and to the profession. To date the site has approached 117 designers of all kinds and compiled a listing of 1,431 books. The site breaks the list down by contributors, publishers and retailer lists as well as noting forthcoming titles and notable books of the year. The site also offers a blog, interviews and essays that feature top designers in a variety fields discussiong the importance of books.
In a phone interview, Kroeter told PW that when he began working in design in the 1980s, “it was important only to a small number of people.” But the profile of design has changed, he said, thanks to reality TV shows like Project Runway and design of all kinds has become a popular topic of interest to everyday consumers. He pointed out that when you “walk into a designer’s office the first thing you see will be a wall of books.” Kroeter said, the idea for design book fair came naturally. “There’s lots of design in New York and we know the design book world, from editors, to retailers to writers, so we connected the dots and decided to throw a big party.”
Kroeter said the design industry is interdisciplinary and involves, graphic design, architecture, product design, fashion, interior design, landscape architecture and product design as well as industrial design. “A lot of organizations don’t get a chance to mingle so we thought a book fair would be appealing,” he said.
Programming will include ticketed events featuring such speakers as New York Magazine design editor Wendy Goodman in conversation with designer Todd Oldman; design educator/commentator Debbie Millan in discussion with designers Steven Heller and Louise Fili on books they have read, written and designed; and Michael Beirut, partner at the noted design firm of Pentagram, along with the editors of the Design Observer will discuss “Information Overload: books that address the design of data,” and much more.
In addition to programming, the fair will feature an 8,000 squre foot exhibition hall with more than 40 book publishers and rare book dealers showing off their titles. Kroeter said the fair will “ be a platform for publishers to launch titles for the 2012 holiday gift season.” He also emphasized that the fair is a “selling show” and said “selling books is the point. There will be wi-fi in the hall, so retailers can take credit cards and there will be special offers and show prices. People will be able to talk to publishers, authors and get autographs.”
Kroeter said the show is aimed at “three audiences. Design students here in New York city; practicing designers and professional organizations; and design fans and anybody interested in home and lifestyle design.”