About women who read, for women who read.



Lisa Mayock






At Monogram, you work with words. Do you find yourself drawn to books that employ interesting wordplay and use of language? Can you tell us a little bit about any favorite words, phrases, or sentences that have stuck with you?

I am attracted to wordplay in all iterations from cerebral to lowbrow. I love a bad pun, as I am truly my father's daughter. Because of my work, I'm always on the hunt for phrases, words, or sentences that could be interesting on clothing, then I brainstorm the best way to make them resonate visually.

I have a copy of Eve Babitz' Sex and Rage on my nightstand because I love the phrase and the graphic design is perfect. Sex and Rage would be a fantastic t-shirt slogan. I'm also fascinated by the etymology of words and would highly recommend The Story of English to anyone else who might be into the evolution of language. There are pages of idioms and the stories of how they came into use, which has been great food for thought for me. That book was written in the '80s, and the next book on my list is a kind of continuation of the theme. Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch is about the online world and how it's transforming language.


Since you are a designer, you must have several favorite books on design sitting on your shelves. Can you please share 2-3 of them and brief reasons for your choices?

One of my enduring favorites is Scavullo Women by Francesco Scavullo. It's an '80s photo/essay book about what we might refer to today as "self-care". Some of the beauty and lifestyle advice is downright bizarre and the interviews feel very unfiltered. You definitely wouldn't get such honest answers today. Great features on Oriana Fallaci, Gia, Tina Chow and Adelle Lutz, Zandra Rhodes, lots of others.

Another book I can't get enough of is Bob Gill's Forget All The Rules About Graphic Design, Including The Ones In This Book. His solutions to design problems are ingenious, and he embodies every quality that I aspire to be as a designer - witty, unexpected and original.

Overspray by Norman Hathaway is another gem about the rise of airbrush art in California in the '70s and '80s. I love that illustrations were relied on so heavily for advertising and magazine covers during that time. I'm still waiting for that to come back! This was the gateway book for me to discover and fall in love with other airbrush artists from that time like Pater Sato, Harumi Yamaguchi and Yosuke Onishi.





What about book covers? Do you have a few favorites? Please share them with us, and a few reasons why you are drawn to them.

I am a sucker for graphic design and especially book covers, and I rotate them around my home like art. Someday, I will have a library in my home with two bibliochaise chairs. Until then, I've had bookshelves made for our living room that are designed for maximum book cover appreciation. I'm currently loving these book covers: La Patisserie est un Jeu d'Enfants by Michel Oliver because it looks like it was designed by an 8 year old with an exquisite sense of composition, SITE: Architecture as Art by Pierre Restany and Bruno Zevi because forward-thinking and conceptual design should be accessible to everybody, and David Hicks' Living In Design because the graphic design is just so damn good.

What are you currently reading and why?

Well, between the time that I answered your first question and am writing this one, I bought Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. My interest is twofold; I love anything linguistic-y in general, but also because I've had to look up like 4 acronyms in the last month. MNTFBAC! (kidding, I just made that one up) So maybe the real reason for reading this book is so that I feel less old? I think based on the subject matter, this strategy could backfire.

And please share 3 of your favorite books that every GAL should read immediately.

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, The Magus by John Fowles, and The Game by Neil Strauss!




Do you find yourself listening to audiobooks since you live in LA? Are there other ways in which the advent of the internet has changed the way you interact with reading and information?

I have actually never listened to an audiobook- at least not one that's meant for an adult. I read most of my news and a fair amount of articles on my phone, but I finding that format disorienting for something as long as a book. I love reading on paper. Most of the time I buy my books used and I like ones that are in "good" or "fair" condition because they come with someone else's folded corners and notes in the margins. I find underlining and note taking in books deeply satisfying.


Lisa Mayock is a designer and life-long lover of graphics. She runs MONOGRAM Studio with her husband.


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