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Reader’s corner book of the month: May 2022

Featuring publications of relevance to our industry, including those cited in SDS e-newsletter lead articles and suggested additional reading, we’ve recently relaunched the SDS Reader’s Corner book of the month page. Each month we will showcase a suggested read that relates to our professional areas of interest, be it a seminal publication or something more tangential. We hope the books we select will offer you insights and inspiration.

If you any suggestions of books, particularly newly published ones, that you think would be of interest to our community, please email us:

For May ’22 we feature The Happy Design Toolkit: Architecture for Better Mental Wellbeing by Ben Channon (published by RIBA Publishing, England on 1 March 2022). Available to buy now.

The Happy Design Toolkit - three images of front cover merged together


“Delving into the evidenced-based research on architecture and mental wellbeing, The Happy Design Toolkit helps you to create happier places. It explores how factors, such as lighting, comfort, control over our environments and access to nature, exercise and social interaction, can impact how we feel. Each of the featured architectural interventions includes an analysis of the wellbeing benefits as well as the potential limitations or associated challenges. From sparking joy in individual homes and workplaces to encouraging healthier lifestyles through landscaping and urban design, this book demonstrates how wellbeing concepts can be integrated across a range of scales and typologies. Packed with inspiration … full of advice to help you create a happier and more inclusive built environment for everyone.”


“This is a fantastic follow on from Ben Channon’s first book … Happy by Design … which gave an excellent introduction to aspects of design which could be used to elevate the architectural quality of spaces and projects for the promotion of wellbeing … Unlike many other books on the same topic, it’s not just full of glossy photos with minimal text … it is actually a useful guide to help you decide whether or not to implement a design feature and how best to do it. Each idea is accompanied by a real life example demonstrating a successful implementation to further convey its use … Ben Channon has made a remarkable impact on bringing this highly important topic to the forefront of architectural thinking with his clearly attained experience in the subject.”

(Mr Whibley, Amazon Review)

“Happy By Design is a brilliant little book which looks at the ways that buildings, spaces and cities affect our wellbeing and mental health. Presented through a series of easy-to-understand design advice and information and illustrated by handy illustrations, [it’s] a great resource for [built environment professionals] and indeed anybody who wants to understand the relationship between buildings and happiness. In short … good design really matters and there are lots and lots of things that … can [be done] to make … happier places in which to dwell.”

(Andy Walker, Acenet)

Buy a copy now!

This publication is currently discounted to £33.43 (RRP is £37.56) at 10.05.2022, via Blackwell’s*. This price includes free P&P for orders dispatched to addresses within the UK.

Previous books of the month

Architecture of Normal by Daniel Kaven (published January 2022)

Bauhaus Typography at 100 by Ellen Lupton (published December 2021)

Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden (published in November ’15)

Designing Mind-Friendly Environments‘ by Steve Maslin (published in December ’21)

The Natural Navigator by Tristan Gooley (10th anniversary edition publication date August 2021)

Type Tells Tales by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson (publication date April 2017)

Airport Wayfinding (by Heike Nehl & Sibylle Schlaich, November 2021)

Type Directory (by Peter Dawson and Tobias Frere-Jones, 2019)

A Field Guide to Getting Lost (by Rebecca Solnit, 2005)

Human Spatial Navigation (by Arne D. Ekstrom, Hugo J. Spiers, Véronique D. Bohbot and R. Shayna Rosenbaum, 2018)

Macdonald Gill: Charting a Life‘ (by Caroline Walker, 2020) – March 2021

Airline Maps: A Century of Art and Design (by Mark Ovenden and Max Roberts, 2019) – December 2019

Jan Tschichold and the New Typography (by Paul Stirton, 2019) – November 2019

SDS e-newsletter lead article suggested book to read

Happy by Design: A Guide to Architecture and Mental Wellbeing (by Ben Channon, 2019)

Cognitive Mapping: Past, Present and Future (edited by Rob Kitchin and Scott Freundschuh, 2015)

Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design (by Elisabeth B. N. Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers, 2012)

Graphic Design in Urban Environments (by Robert Harland, 2016)

Understanding Mobility as a Service: Past, Present and Future (by David Hensher, 2020)

Wayfinding (by Michael Bond, 2021)

Wayfinding: People, Signs and Architecture (by Paul Arthur and Romedi Passini, 2002)


[*NOTE: This page contains affiliate links. This means the Sign Design Society may earn a small commission should you chose to make a purchase using SDS-generated links direct to Blackwell’s online bookshop.]