Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Design Your Life

Design Your Life

The Pleasures and Perils of Everyday Things

Ellen Lupton and Julia Lupton

St. Martin's Griffin




Design Your Life is a series of irreverent and realistic snapshots about objects and how we interact with them. By leading design thinker Ellen Lupton and her twin sister Julia Lupton, it shows how design is about much more than what's bought at high-end stores or the modern look at IKEA. Design is critical thinking: a way to look at the world and wonder why things work, and why they don't.

Illustrated with original paintings of objects both ordinary and odd, Design Your Life casts a sharp eye on everything from roller bags, bras, toilet paper, and stuffed animals to parenting, piles, porches, and potted plants. Using humor and insight Ellen and Julia explore the practical side of everyday design, looking at how it impacts your life in unexpected ways and what you can do about it. Speaking to the popular interest in design as well as people's desire to make their own way through a mass-produced world, this thoughtful book takes a fresh and humorous approach to make some serious points about the impact of design on our lives.

Find out what's wrong with the bras, pillows, potted plants, and the other hopeless stuff you use, buy, clean, water, or put away everyday. Discover how to secretly control the actions of those around you by choosing and placing objects carefully. Find out how roller bags are threatening civilization, and how the layout of your own house might be making you miserable. Use the tools of self-publishing to take the power of branding into your own hands.

Taking a fresh, funny look at parenthood, housekeeping, entertaining, time management, crafting, and more, Design Your Life shows you how to evaluate the things you use, and how to recognize forms of order that secretly inhabit the messes of daily life, be it a cluttered room or a busy schedule. Use this book to gain control over your environment and tap into the power of design to communicate with friends, family, and the world.


Design Your Life

I found myself in a narrow room. Two vinyl-covered armchairs faced the foot of my bed; a small steel table on wheels was stationed in a far corner. Was it a minimum...


Praise for Design Your Life

“Lupton's writing about design is itself an art. She's exceptionally adept at both the verbal and the visual, which is not to be taken for granted in this new era of ‘designer as author,' an era that she so skillfully pioneered and has inspired many of us to follow suit,” —Chip Kidd

“I was truly excited by the prospect of working with Ellen, and I remain captivated by the ‘Skin' exhibition. She is a beautifully expressive writer, an eloquent and engaging speaker, a remarkable designer and design thinker: a true polymath.” —Paul Warwick Thompson, director of the Cooper-Hewitt

Design Your Life is an utter pleasure, like a delicious tray of warm brownies that also happen to be nutritious. I've never encountered a book about design so smart and fun and unpretentious and easy to love.” —Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday and Turn of the Century

“Finally, a how-to book for contrarians. It is at once an homage to the thingness of everyday things and a meditation on how those things--despite our best efforts to design them--fail us.” —Shoshana Berger, editor in chief, ReadyMade magazine

“With their marvelous compendium of the furiously ordinary objects that float through our daily lives, Ellen and Julia Lupton have captured the wonder of design in all its off-kilter glory.” —Debbie Millman, author of How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

“Ellen Lupton could write and design a book on a paper bag and I'd order one sight unseen and expect genius. Design Your Life is a quirky, smart, fun, cool book that makes you think about your things in a new way. ” —Rebecca Walker, author of Baby Love

“A funny book about random stuff.” —Ruby Miller

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Ellen Lupton and Julia Lupton

ELLEN LUPTON is curator of contemporary design at the Cooper- Hewitt Museum and director of the MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the author of Thinking with Type and D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself.
JULIA LUPTON teaches at the University of California, Irvine and is co-chair of the Design Alliance. She is the author of several books on Shakespeare and co-authored D.I.Y. Kids with her sister Ellen.

Ellen Lupton

Julia Lupton

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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