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design by the book: finale episode and final products

by Grace Bonney

last thursday night a few hundred of us gathered to celebrate the final episode of design by the book, and to see the finished projects created by julia rothman, rebecca kutys, john pomp, lorena barrezueta and mike perry. to say the night was magical would be the best way i could describe the feeling of the event from start to finish (more photos here).

the nypl was kind enough to let us use celeste bartos forum, which was one of the most beautiful historic spaces i’ve ever seen in nyc. combine that with delicious cupcakes from baked (thanks renato and matt!), beautiful artwork and design and hundreds of happy faces and you’ve got one heck of a fun evening.

so today its’ bittersweet to be posting the final episode of our 4-part series, design by the book. i’m so thrilled to share the gorgeous final products that everyone made, but i’m sad to say goodbye to what has easily been the best project i’ve done with d*s in the past 4 and a half years. i’ll miss my library friends and spending time with each artist, but thankfully the library is always open to the public so hopefully we’ll meet again among the stacks.

i just wanted to say a special thank you to amy azzarito, james murdock, jessica pigza, the nypl, julia rothman, lorena barrezueta, rebecca kutys, mike perry and john pomp for being a part of this process. i had so much fun and i’m so proud of the work everyone did.

after the jump i’ll be sharing all of the final projects, as well as all four episodes of design by the book. if you’d prefer to watch them on youtube together, just click here.

CLICK HERE to see more final projects from the artists and to watch the first 3 episodes. want to skip straight to the product photos? click here to see them all on flickr.]

ps: a big thank you to wnyc for covering the event!

[FINAL PRODUCT: pages from Mike Perry‘s zine. Available on Mike’s site soon, email him to pre-order]

[FINAL PRODUCT: Lighting by John Pomp, inspired by the NYPL’s hallway fixtures.]

[FINAL PRODUCT: Prints by Rebecca Kutys of Moontree Press, inspired by the library’s collection of antique maps. Click here to shop these prints online!]

[FINAL PRODUCT: Patterns by Julia Rothman, inspired by a book on international navy uniforms and symbols]

[FINAL PRODUCT: Porcelain skeleton figures, vases and bud vase by Lorena Barrezeuta. Send Lorena a note right here if you’d like to pre-order]

[image above, left to right: mike perry, julia rothman, lorena barrezueta]

[image above, left to right: grace, julia rothman, rebecca kutys, mike perry, john pomp, lorena barrezueta]

design by the book: episode 1

design by the book: episode 2

design by the book: episode 3

design by the book: episode 4

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  • the final products are SO cool! i love that everyone puts their own spin on things-libraries are such an overlooked resource these days, im truly inspired by this series! great great work, im hoping you have something else like this coming up in the near future.

  • Again, tks for the lovely night! I asked my kids which product do they like the most, and the design with navy symbols won! I loved everything, all the pieces are so wonderful! Love to see we are in some of the pics, gotta link on my blog… tks again, Grace! And Tks NYPL!!

  • Loving this ! Let’s hope I can afford the paper-like vase when it goes on sale at Etsy !

    Just wanted to say ythat I checked the nypl dgital gallery, and it’s one of the coolest inspiration source that I know of. I’m so happy !

  • since i’ve started watching this i’ve used my own library as my new source for (FREE!!) inspiration!


  • Many congratulations to all of you on such a terrific collaborative project! I was thrilled to be at the NYPL screening last week. The entire production was so impressive and inspiring. The five artists produced such fabulous projects and the episodes really got my creative urges fired up! Thank you so much for, as you said, a magical night!

  • It was so nice to see you, Grace, and the party was absolutely fabulous, inspiring, and filled with creativity!!

    Thank you soooo much and congratulations on this amazing project!!!

  • such a great collaboration. i can’t wait to check out the library’s pictures resources. informative, inspiring, bravo!

  • Please, please, keep doing this kind of project! It was awesome, very interesting. Maybe search for other inspirations, nature, construction, supermarket, I don´t know… Keep up!

  • Thanks so much for such an inspirational project! Loved those paper vases… beautiful!
    I’ve just been browsing thru the NYPL digital gallery and I’m hooked! What a great resource for those not close to NY.

    Thanks again…so, what’s next LOL?

  • it’s amazing where inspiration will take a person. I like that the outcomes by each artist reflects their individual aesthetic AND can totally see the library’s influence/inspiration. what a great project. I can see some of these items being sold in a venue such as moma’s shop — or NYPL’s gift shop ;) you get the idea.

  • Oh my god. Great design, creative people AND sweets from one of my favorite bakeries!? Pleasure overload. Wish I could have been there!

  • Bravo!!!
    The entire series was fantastic…
    So much talent and
    so much inspiration!
    We need a “Design Sponge”
    television show!!!

  • This series has been one of my favourite things ever. I love the spirit of it and I love the good-natured sincerity. I wish I lived in New York!
    From an English fan x

  • I absolutely loved this series! Thank you Grace and NYPL for doing such an awesome piece. It re-inspired my creative spirit to see the library as yet another great source of inspiration and great design. And BTW, I am now obsessed with Lorena Barrezueta’s work. I hope you don’t mind but I posted all four episodes on my blog as well. Hooray for the wide world of design!

  • Grace, This was a fantastic idea and it was executed so beautifully. I was so interested in all aspects…meeting the artists, hearing them discuss their process and their results. It would be great to go to other NYC sites to inspire projects. You are so comfortable in front of the camera and such a wonderful “host.” Bravo! More, more!!

  • I really loved your video’s and found the work produced by the designers really inspiring. As was said in one of the video’s, you never know what is going to inspire you!

    Thanks for sharing this project.