.For just over a year, the hardware design team at Google have been working inside a new, highly classified design studio. Only a small fraction of Google’s employees are permitted inside this beautiful, birchwood-framed space. A team of around 150, who are hard at work designing the next Pixel phones, Google Home assistants, and all sorts of other things the public (and Google’s competitors) haven’t seen yet.

As you can read in our exclusive first visit here, the Design Lab has areas devoted to every aspect of the design process, from precise colour evaluation to a materials library that allows team members to handle over 1,000 material swatches.

As this dedicated design lab was being developed, Google vice president and head of hardware design Ivy Ross also had another request for the design team. A library, with actual paper books that her designers could grab and read.

Each designer was asked to bring in six of the most influential books in their lives. They were then asked to write a line inside the cover about it. Some are rare art and design tomes. Others are children’s storybooks and pieces of literature. We asked Google to share a small selection of the library’s offerings with us.

Think of it as your summer reading list, presented in no particular order.

SUPER NORMAL BY NAOTO FUKASAWA AND JASPER MORRISON

“Timeless designs are all around us, and it’s not only the ones you see on design books. Objects that last a long time need to have a meaning for people, make them think, and bring them feelings.” [Link]

FROM HERE TO THERE—A CURIOUS COLLECTION BY THE HAND DRAWN MAP ASSOCIATION

“A collection of hand-drawn maps that blurs the lines between reality and imagination. A fun glimpse into each person’s unique experience in this world.” [Link]

WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? BY SPENCER JOHNSON

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” —Spencer Johnson

THE DESIGN OF EVERYDAY THINGS BY DON NORMAN

“One of the first books to examine the psychological interaction of design and functionality.” [Link]

THE STORY OF FERDINAND BY MUNRO LEAF

“A short story about finding happiness via ‘doing your own thing,’ even when it might go against perceived social conventions and norms.” [Link]

ANALOGOUS AND DIGITAL BY OTL AICHER

“The digital, abstract is not higher or more important than the analogue, concrete.”

“Read this book while I was in college. Not an easy read (even in German), this book is a collection of philosophical essays dealing with topics of reason (analogue) and action (digital)—quite relevant today.” [Link]

DESIGN NOIR: THE SECRET LIFE OF ELECTRONIC OBJECTS BY ANTHONY DUNNE AND FIONA RABY

“Despite being published almost 20 years ago, I found the way it questioned the role of technology and design in everyday life [to be] very impactful—the themes of object, space, and behaviour are still relevant today.” [Link]