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The Best New Coffee Table Books Celebrating Art and Design

After more than 15 years running San Francisco-based custom letterpress and graphic design studio A Day in May, Lesley Hathaway and Eve Weinsheimer are indisputable experts in their field. With a shared love of visual arts and an abundance of creative energy, these friends tackle projects from logo development to wedding invitations. Here they recommend their favorite new coffee table books.

Mid-Century Modern Women Book

Mid-Century Modern Women in the Visual Arts

“I adore the theme of fabulous, artistic women, and the graphics are simply stunning,” Weinsheimer says of the vibrant collection featuring real-life heroines of the art, fashion, and design industries. “Lesley and I have had a book idea in our heads for years, and this is how I want ours to look.” By Gloria Fowler and Ellen Surrey; available at amazon.com, $20.

A Designer's Universe Book

Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe

The glorious work of modern textile and interior design visionary Alexander Girard is presented in this richly illustrated collection. “Girard’s work is so inspiring to me,” Weinsheimer says. “There seems to be no field of design that he didn’t touch, from fabric to wallpaper, logos to architecture, lighting to murals; and this book highlights how joyful his work is.” By Alexander Girard, Susan Brown, Jochen Eisenbrand, Barbara Hauss, and Mateo Kries; available at amazon.com, $65.

Visionary Women Book

Visionary Women 

“I have given this book as a gift to many female friends,” Hathaway says of the title that highlights the achievements of 20 forward-thinking women through illustrations, photographs, and essays. “A Day in May is a business run by women, so I am constantly looking for empowering examples of other women, whether they are historical figures or present-day treasures.” By Angella Nazarian, available at assouline.com, $50.

Selldorf Architects Book

Selldorf Architects

“My husband and I were married at Dunton Hot Springs outside of Telluride, Colorado,” Hathaway says. “The boutique hotel is made up of old gold rush cabins and nestled in the trees. Next to the cabins is the owner’s fabulous modern residence designed by Annabelle Selldorf. The home left a lasting impression on us, so we’ve been following Selldorf Architects ever since.” The comprehensive volume features many of the Selldorf firm’s projects both public and private. By Annabelle Selldorf, available at phaidon.com, $80.

A Life in Lettepress Book

Alan Kitching: A Life in Lettepress

This book follows the 50-plus-year career of designer, typographer, and letterpress master Alan Kitching with 350 illustrations of his work. “Utter joy for a letterpress font geek like myself, this book is gorgeous and comes in a really cool box, too!” Weinsheimer says. By John L. Walters, available at laurenceking.com, $70.

Beguiled by the Wild Book

Beguiled by the Wild: The Art of Charley Harper

“[Charley] Harper’s ability to capture the essence of animals in the simplest manner possible is truly gorgeous,” Weinsheimer says. The book is a captivating compilation of silk-screen prints accompanied by witty text in the artist’s own words. By Charley Harper and Roger Caras, available at amazon.com, $50.

A Smile in the Mind Book

A Smile in the Mind

This picture-perfect collection from more than 500 designers in the art and advertising fields is quite amusing. “Beautifully executed design that also makes you laugh — what’s better than that?” Weinsheimer asks. By Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart, Greg Quinton, and Nick Asbury; available at phaidon.com, $40.

Do You See What I See Book

Do You See What I See?

“I just discovered the reprint of this 1960s classic,” says Weinsheimer, who loves reading this book with her youngest daughter. “It’s a beautiful way to explore how everyday shapes and lines around us are the building blocks of art.” By Helen Borten, available at amazon.com, $13.

For more design picks from Lesley Hathaway and Eve Weinsheimer, go to adayinmay.com.

Photos: Courtesy of AMMO Books, courtesy of Vitra Design Museum, courtesy of Assouline, courtesy of Phaidon, courtesy of Laurence King, courtesy of Charley Harper Art Studio, courtesy of Phaidon, courtesy of Nobrow US/Flying Eye Books

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