Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Design Your Self: Rethinking the Way You Live, Love, Work, and Play

Design Your Self: Rethinking the Way You Live, Love, Work, and Play

by Karim Rashid

Celebrated industrial designer Karim Rashid explains how to optimize all areas of life, aesthetic and spiritual, in this colorful, beautifully designed book.

Design wonderkind Karim Rashid, whose projects range from the Trump Towers apartments to Lacoste sportswear to the ubiquitous Umbra garbage can, prescribes an organizational and style overhaul in Design


Celebrated industrial designer Karim Rashid explains how to optimize all areas of life, aesthetic and spiritual, in this colorful, beautifully designed book.

Design wonderkind Karim Rashid, whose projects range from the Trump Towers apartments to Lacoste sportswear to the ubiquitous Umbra garbage can, prescribes an organizational and style overhaul in Design Your Life. In short, sharp chapters, he tackles topics as diverse as the wardrobe, office space, love life, and diet, answering perplexing questions like how to properly pack a suitcase, use colors to accent a room, and carve out free time in a busy schedule. Whether the reader is looking to redesign his physical space or spiritual life, Design Your Life offers comprehensive guidance that is straightforward and easy to follow.

Rashid's philosophies center on quality over quantity, space over clutter, clarity over complexity, and a marriage of form and function in every design. With each page in vibrant color and packed with his charming artwork and sketches, Design Your Life is an ideal gift book–and the very embodiment of Rashid's functional style.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Innovative industrial designer Rashid (Karim Rashid: Evolution) has designed buildings and interiors as well as a variety of packaging and consumer goods for companies like Prada and Umbra. His blob-shaped, pastel-colored, futuristic utilitarian designs-intended to be pleasurable, multifunctional, and recyclable-have been featured in permanent museum collections. In this foray into the self-help genre, Rashid explores his sometimes conflicting (e.g., addition by subtraction), sometimes commonsense (e.g., getting rid of the unnecessary) principles for living, covering such wide topics as workplace design, inspiration, fitness, travel, beauty, and death. Some of these principles may be hard to implement if you do not share Rashid's individualistic philosophy of participating fully in the present, embracing technology, and moving on when an item or idea has lost its impact. Graphics and layout (including his own "karimalogos," which tab-index the four primary sections-"Live," "Love," "Work," and "Play") reinforce his principles but may be distracting for many readers. This book will appeal to artists and those interested in contemporary design. Recommended for large public libraries.-Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Design Your Self

Rethinking the Way You Live, Love, Work, and Play
By Karim Rashid

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Karim Rashid
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060839023

Chapter One

My desire is to see people living in our time, participating in our contemporary world, and delivered from nostalgia and antiquated notions. My hope is that we become conscious and sensorially attuned with this world, in this moment. If it is human nature to live in the past, we have to change it. To look back is to impede our forward momentum. There is nothing to be afraid of; we should embrace technology, allow progress to run its course, and believe how much better our lives can be. That is what I have set out to do. I want to change the world.

Design Theory (Why me?)

In the last twenty years, I have designed everything from snow shovels to teacups, watches to couches, mailboxes to martini glasses. When I first started designing, I had the idea that I wanted a product in every shop. I'm still working on that one, but I am proud to say I have designs not only at Bloomingdale's and museum shops but also at Costco and Target, which means that they are touching the lives of the broadest possible spectrum of people. In my life, in my work, and in my travels, I like to cross boundaries. I try to see the world from the inside out.

I watch people use and live with products, with eachother, and the space that surrounds them. I am fascinated with the interaction of people and things and the idea that I could make that interface more efficient, pleasurable, and seamless.

Design has a way of shaping people's lives, their behavior, sensibility, and psyche. As a designer, I have a special vantage point. I not only think about every aspect of our daily lives but I see several different ways we could do any one thing. I observe and analyze behavior, design, and the interface of the two. I am a shaper of everyday commodities and, as such, I hope to impart some of my findings and lead you to rethink where and how you live, even what and whom you live with. Sometimes it amounts to a good dose of common sense and, often, it is merely a question of changing your perspective. Always, it has to do with dedication. Perhaps because I have a multicultural background and grew up traveling, I never feel quite comfortable. This is simultaneously what stimulates me--gives me the impetus to design and change things--and what keeps me from conforming to any place, culture, or medium. I like feeling alien--like someone from another planet just observing and engaging in the human condition.


Designers have to be completely open minded, unbiased by race, aesthetics, religion, or any other kind of perspective. They must accept all they see and derive forms from abstraction. The reason artists are good at commenting on society is that they see the world as others don't. It is said that artists see the present while everyone else sees the past. Designers are able to see things that don't (yet) exist. That is my gift and one I don't take for granted. Very often a client will tell me that they are having trouble "seeing" a project that hasn't been built, that they need something to compare to. In order to create something new, I have to make every effort to detach myself from references. This is something we should all work on. We need to try to be objective, to see everything as it is now, and to really live in a contemporary world.

As humans, we try to find keyholes for any incoming information. In order to understand, we make comparisons to what we already know, and this is an effective formula at some level. It is not, however, what we refer to as "thinking outside the box," which is what interests us as designers. What I design are things we already need (not things I predict needing in the future), and therein lies the challenge. If all my life I've been sitting down at a table with four legs and a chair with four legs with a plate surrounded by a fork on the left and a knife on the right, I will have a hard time inventing a new utensil. If I stick to what I know, I won't get past changing the number of prongs on a fork or making the edge of the knife more or less serrated. But if I step outside of history, habit, tradition, and what I already know, I might come up with an innovative solution.

Industrial design is somewhat limited in that we have to work within certain mandates--until couches can hover over the floor, we need to create something that can stand and balance. Until then, we are challenged to make it work. The same will be true of designing your self--you can't exactly start from scratch, and you will have some obstacles to work around, but the key is to find the fearlessness to push those boundaries. By changing a shape radically or using an unexpected color, we might find we live a happier, freer life. This goes from how we dress in the morning to the colors we surround ourselves with and the comfort of the car we get into every day. Many people admire the variety of colors in a field of flowers or the plumage of an exotic bird but would never dare to bring those colors into their home or wardrobe. Why?

If we didn't have fear, we would be a different society, certainly a different-looking one. My concern is that such fears are so prevalent that we don't even know we have them. Ask yourself why you have to have the couch where it is, the carpet arranged just so, with the coffee table in front of it, and a vase on the mantelpiece? Maybe it's a successful arrangement, tried and true for generations, but it's still worth considering. What if you moved the table to the side and left a flowing empty space in the center of the room?


Excerpted from Design Your Self by Karim Rashid Copyright © 2006 by Karim Rashid. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Karim Rashid is an industrial designer whose clients include Prada, Nambe, Issey Miyake, Mikasa, Shiseido, Giorgio Armani, and Yahoo, among many others. With a career that began at age nineteen, Rashid is now the creator of more than two thousand designs, many of them award-winning. His commercial success has been mirrored by critical acclaim; his works are in the permanent collections of fourteen museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts. His designs are available at the Karim Rashid Shop at 137 West 19th Street in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews