14+ Inspiring Reads, Listens and Videos to get you through January

January 12 , 2021

Want to learn more about design? Here are our top picks of what to Watch, Read, and Listen to.

With the recent debut of Vancouver’s snowfall, we’re searching for stimulating activities that we can do while hibernating at home. Why not take this time to learn more about the impact of design? Whether it be interior, graphic, or sociological, we think our suggestions will provide wonderful insight for you during this unprecedented time.


Informative and visually beautiful, Abstract: The Art of Design, an Emmy-nominated documentary series, showcases great designers from every discipline. Tiny House Nation and Interior Design Masters are two very entertaining series that keeps you hooked with their design process and final products. And the hosts of Tiny House Nation play architects, interior designers, and therapists for clients of under 600 square foot homes on wheels. In Interior Design Masters, designers from all over the UK compete in one or two-day design challenges to see who will be crowned design master. The documentary, Minimalism, presents a simple lifestyle that everyone can achieve and asks us to question our pattern of wants and needs, quite relatable during this time and highly recommended for anyone feeling overwhelmed. All these can all be watched on your friendly, neighborhood Netflix! Lastly, a Youtube channel dedicated to small footprint design and living, Never Too Small, shares 7-minute videos of living spaces from around the world. It’s the perfect break from work with its brief, peaceful, enlightening episodes that show how space can be used creatively.


Books that help us question, create and reinvent design include Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, considered one of the most important environmental manifestos of our time. It highlights the sustainable design and how art and science can eliminate waste altogether and is a perfect follow up to our November blog post. If you left our Mid-Century Modern post itching for more, read From A to Eames: A Visual Guide to Mid-Century Modern Design, with its facts and photos on the design style, it’s a picture book for adults! Another resource is Cause and Effect: Visualizing Sustainability, focusing on the way sustainability is visualized and communicated by providing international examples that challenge and inspire us. Similarly, in The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell looks at the various routes in which ideas, concepts, and trends are disseminated. This book focuses less on tangible design and more on the invisible structures that were designed to spread information.


Speaking of invisible structures, the podcast 99% Invisible”is all about the unnoticed architecture and design that shape the world around us. Ever wonder about the design of highway signs? The history of the safety card on a plane? Where the song “Who Let the Dogs Out” really came from? 99% Invisible shares with you everything you didn’t think you needed to know but now you’re glad you know. This is one of our favorite walking, cooking, and driving podcasts. To take you back to the beginning of design, listen to Design Matters with Debbie Millman, which has been running for over 15 years. Millman explores design in conversations with writers, artists, musicians, and others. As our pace of life fluctuates with the pandemic, the Slow Your Home podcast is a reminder that it’s okay to live simply, slow down, or opt-out. The host Brooke McAlary and guests validate our feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and stress while providing positive solutions on redesigning our lifestyles to navigate this time. This podcast is as close to a hug as it gets.

We hope you find learning about design to be as calming and as eye-opening of an experience as we do. We plan to start 2021 with decluttered spaces, increased knowledge of sustainability, a more positive outlook, and a healthier environment overall. Design is all around us and we look forward to a complete redesign for 2021! What are you looking forward to redesigning in the new year?

Have more recommendations for the Abacus community? Or would like to share your thoughts, musings, contemplations, daydreams, or dreams? Go ahead and share with us in the comments section below, we would love to hear.

Rebecca S


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