The New Design*Sponge Book

by Grace Bonney

A few years ago, after our first book came out, we sat down with our publisher to plan the second. The idea was to do something about crafts or DIY. Then a few months went by…and then a year. I found myself putting it off over and over until I realized that something just wasn’t right. The concept wasn’t clicking and it wasn’t triggering that part of me that can work nonstop if I feel passionate about something. The internet is flooded with craft ideas (we have a lot of them here already) and I felt like what I really wanted to do was devote myself to creating a book that would make a difference. Something that would inspire creative people to start their own businesses, get through tough times, and show readers examples of people who reminded them of themselves, no matter their age or stage of their career. So I pitched a Hail Mary and proposed, at the last minute, a completely new book to my editor. And then the greatest thing happened: she agreed.

So for the next three months, Kelli (our trusted team manager and copy editor) and I are working together on what is, without a doubt, the most important project I’ve ever done in my career — maybe even my life. This book, which will be out Fall 2016, will deliver inspiration and advice from 100 creative women and their workspaces. We will be traveling to photograph 100 women in their chosen workspaces (from movie studios and TV sets to artist lofts, home offices and cubicles) to talk about how they do what they do, why they do it and what advice they want to give to the next generation of women in the creative community.

Why women? There are a lot of reasons, but mainly because under 30% of the companies in the US are owned by women. And I’d like to see that change. I want to see women following their dreams, their passions, and leading the way for other young women to see that starting your own business and paving your own path is a real and viable option.

But this book won’t be a traditional business book. For starters, this book aims to showcase and represent the true diversity of our community. Over 60% of the book will be comprised of women of color, women of the LGBT community and women over 60 — all of whom are grossly underrepresented in traditional lifestyle and business books. My goal is to have every person who opens this book be able to see someone they can relate to. So today I wanted to make this exciting announcement and give you a little preview of some of the amazing women who will be in these pages. I know it’s no fun to hear about something you can’t see or hold yet, so I won’t be updating here again until the book is available for pre-order. But if you want to follow the photoshoots and get behind-the-scenes peeks, you can follow me on Instagram as we spend the summer traveling to meet some of the most incredible women. Thank you so much to Artisan Books for supporting me and allowing me to follow my dream. And thanks to Kelli and all of the women who’ve joined on to help in this project. It’s going to be amazing. Until then, have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you on Monday! xo, grace



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  • Fantastic news! So glad you listened to your gut, and came up with an alternative that was more meaningful for you. Can’t wait to get a copy!

  • OMG, this is the bestest news ever. You and Julia have books out next fall, and my collection will for sure grow by two!! I LOVE you’re including so much diversity and I LOVE having women role models. What an EXCELLENT idea. Don’t be afraid of success, cause you’ve got this!! So many congrats and love and support from my tiny corner of the world. Thanks for everything you do!

    (p.s. I LOVE updates too, even if there’s nothing to hold or order, so even though I’ll be obsessively following on IG, if you want to do a few updates here too, I wouldn’t mind in the slightest)

  • This. This is exactly the type of book I crave. I loved the short films you linked to at The Design Files and as a 40 year old creative woman struggling to find my place in a world so saturated with youth and “lifestyle” content I want nothing more to learn about other creative women and their processes. I am really glad that you are using your position in the design community to make a book like this happen. I cannot wait for the book and I am jealous that you will get to meet so many interesting women in the process of writing it.

  • Based on some of the amazing women pictured above (and the fact that I loved your first book), I know what I’m going to be reading in 2016! Congratulations! Can’t wait to read it!

  • wow!!! I’m excited to hear what Nikki Giovanni has to share and can’t wait to see her workspace. This is an epic undertaking and I can’t wait to see the final results. thumbs up,

    • Yes Indeed sign me up for Nikki G. and Jenji K. ! God Bless you Grace for the inspiration I just received from the 10 seconds it took me to read this entire post. The room divider idea brought me here but because of this post and the anticipation of your book I will definitely be back! O h yeah and I haven’t been on instagram in months (i’m 32 go figure) but I will pop on follow you and check back for my fix! Thank you for being who you are. Our girls need you.

      • thanks so much gio! :)

        our girls (and everyone else) need these amazing people so much. i can’t wait to see them all together in the book!


  • This is fantastic. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy when it’s out in Fall 2016. I’m just curious if it will only feature women from the US or if it will feature women from all over the world? Either way looking forward too it! Great concept and much better than another diy book.

  • I’m SO excited that you’re doing this. We don’t need another crafty guide book on the market. THIS, this is needed and I can’t WAIT to pick up my copy. Thank you Grace!!!

  • I wish I could pre-order this book right now. Exactly what I’m been looking and hoping for. Can’t wait!

  • The new book sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it. Kudos to focusing on marginalized voices. This will be a valuable read for everyone!

  • My goal is to have every person who opens this book be able to see someone they can relate to.

    Yaaaay!!! So glad your publisher is on board for this.

  • Nice one Grace. Really appreciate you putting your heart and soul into a work which will go towards righting the balance.

    • Caitlin

      If you have any women in that area you’d like to suggest, feel free to comment here or drop me a line at designsponge at gmail dot com :)


  • This sounds like a fantastic book idea. I am really looking forward to its release and will keep an eye out on instagram for sneak peeks along the way!

  • Hi Grace! This sounds like a really interesting book! Will it be just women in America or are you travelling the world? Hannah

  • Hot damn I’m excited for this book! Brilliant idea, Grace. Thankful to have someone in the creative business community who is so considered and passionate about her work. Thank YOU!

  • Sounds amazing Grace – where is the ‘pre-order’ button :-)

    Please let me know if your adventures take you to France!!

    Wishing you so much luck (and heaps of fun) making this happen


    • Colleen

      Thanks! At least 60% of the book will be women of color, women of the LGBT community and women over 60. I’m tired of business and lifestyle books that only showcase young white women.


      • Hope you have Mary Going on your list. Entrepreneur, social activist and founder and CEO of Saint Harridan–a company that specializes in classic men’s suits tailored for women–butch lesbians, transgender men, the androgynous and tomboys!

        • Hi Tina!

          I was always under the impression that Mary identified as gender-queer. If not, I’m happy to invite her, I’m a very big fan. Because this book is for anyone who identifies as a woman, I don’t want to pressure anyone who does not to identify that way.


  • That sounds exactly like a book I always wanted to read! There are so many inspiring woman out there with amazing stories to tell and ideas to share, but somehow their story is never told. Well done Grace can’t wait to read it. Shame we still have to wait more then a year ;)

  • This is sooo exciting!! What a beautiful, wonderful, ambitious goal. I know what all the women in my life are getting for Christmas 2016. And hell… I know what all the men are getting too! Women read about men all the time… I’m going to challenge the men in my life to read an inspirational book about WOMEN! Good luck Grace!!

  • This is an EXCELLENT book idea, Grace!! So excited for you and I know there is no one who could pull it off better than you. Congrats!

  • Grace, I could not be more excited for this! I have loved seeing DS evolve into such an influential and authentic space over the years. This book sounds like the perfect extension. I always look forward to the business features you do and can honestly say they’ve changed my perspective on what is possible for me. Looking forward to this book!

  • Oh Grace this sounds just perfect for you guys!! I’ve been listening to all your podcasts (from the start) for months and I love your message of empowering women to chase and fulfil their dreams. On a side note, I’m gutted I missed you at Blogtacular. My best mate was there though (Aby from You Baby Me Mummy) and got a lovely photo with you and confirmed you are as brill as I thought. Gush gush ;) Good luck with it all!

  • Can we put in requests? I’m really hoping Lisa Congdon is included. :) Also you and Julia, pretty please.

    • thanks julie :)

      our list is all set, but those are some of my favorite people. i’m not including myself, but thanks for the vote of confidence ;)


  • YES! It’s so important to see women in business, and a diversity of women makes it even better. I can feel the empowerment already. I can’t wait!

  • Hello Grace,

    I just read your piece about your forthcoming book – am I am completely excited! DesignSponge is one of my daily favs for beauty and inspiration and I cannot wait to pre-order. I LOVE the first book as well. I would like to humbly suggest – in the event that you may be looking for some additional women for your book:

    Dr. Yaba A. Blay: Her work is uplifting, creative and represents and speaks to a huge overlooked demographic. If not for your book, I am sure you will enjoy her work just the same: http://prettyperiod.me/ and http://yabablay.com/1ne-drop/

    Maori Karmael: She started the BlackStar film festival (July30-Agust 2 2015) in Philadelphia and is an amazingly creative women of color who continuously finds creative ways to give back to her community through arts, culture and film: http://blackstarfest.org/

    Dr. Kaila Story: is a professor at the University of Louisville who teaches race, gender, class and sexuality studies: http://louisville.edu/wgs/kaila-story.html

    These are outstanding women, who touch and inspire many through their work and dedication to representing women of color in various fields. If for nothing else, check them out for yourself.

    Thank you for your time,

    • Bravo! Love the diversity part! Hell, I love it all! If you need an art teacher in the public schools drop a line my way ;)

  • PLEASE interview Ana White and Ariel Alasko for us wood lovers out there! A fan and future buyer of your book from Europe

  • Can’t wait to read this! Am always looking for role models around business and creativity. Woo-hoo!!

  • I can’t wait to read this book…Design Sponge has been this huge source of inspiration on so many levels to me, long before I started my business I was a reader. And, your podcasts with business owners and particularly women have always resonated so deeply with me, I sometimes listen to them more than once to hear every nugget of truth. I think bits of design sponge have woven their way into my life, in the design of my store, in the design of my home and in the design of operating my business. I’m so excited to see this project come to fruition.

  • I’m THRILLED that this book is being published. AND that it’s focusing on all of our unseen heroines. I’m working on a very similar project. It’s time for the next wave of female heroes to be recognised and elevated for their work. Thank you for doing this.

  • Hi Grace! I’m so excited to see this book. I’m slow to get on the bandwagon but it’ll be amazing – can’t wait to read and discover some more of these amazing women! Do you have a list of the women from Australia included in the book?
    Thank you so much, Helen x

    • thanks helen,

      we’re not revealing any more names from the book until it’s out, but there will be someone from australia in the book.


  • grace,

    this is SO exciting!

    i am a woman in my 50’s working at growing a business, with the stresses of a multi-generational household, a disabled husband and the typical daily stresses of life and solo entrepreneurship (is that a word?!).

    i crave the encouragement and community of like-minded women, especially women of a more ‘mature’ age and can’t wait to get my hands on this book and devour these stories!

    love you and the design sponge community!

  • Who is the woman in the left-hand column third row down with the dog? She looks so familiar!

  • “The concept wasn’t clicking and it wasn’t triggering that part of me that can work nonstop if I feel passionate about something.”

    I so totally relate! Congratulations on the new book! -Karen

  • Fabulous idea Grace! Good for you. There should be more books like that and it’s great that you’re doing one. Can’t wait to see it!

  • Grace, you and your team are a constant source of inspiration for me! I’m am interior designer specializing in inspirational live/work spaces for creatives working from home. Can’t wait to get my hands on your book!! Congratulations and thank you!

  • This is wonderful! I’m looking forward to the new book. As a freelance writer/author, a woman, and a member of the LGBT community, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The more voices are raised in protest, the more shall be raised in triumph. Huzzah ladies!