A Designer's Reading List — Felix Ng

Posted on February 16 2017

Hi Felix! Tell us more about yourself.

Hi. I'm Felix, the Founder of multidisciplinary design studio, Anonymous, and the creator of A Design Film Festival, Bracket and One of my greatest joys is the autonomy of working on our studio projects and balancing it with clients on meaningful work that stretches us. Finding this balance has been a long struggle but has been worth it. I think it’s very important to find a system that maximises your happiness before anything else. Don’t let the market or surroundings dictate who or what you want to be. In five years, I hope to still be relevant. 

Fun fact—I spent six years in secondary school because I was rubbish in studying and was kicked out of polytechnic (and then reinstated by a compassionate dean) for being late all the time (because i was working to pay school fees and the shifts ended late). My partner, Germaine and I started the studio in 2005, without a formal education in design or experience working for anyone (My last real job was part-timing at HMV music store as a student). On hindsight, i would not recommend anyone to follow our path. It’s really painful to learn things the hard way. Go work somewhere you’ll get paid to learn.

My greatest pet peeve would be people I don't know calling me 'bro'.

What are you currently reading?

B is for Bauhaus: An A-Z of the Modern World by Deyan Sudjic, the director of London’s Design Museum.

Can you recommend your best five titles to us?

In no order of preference,

Permission Marketing – Seth Godin
Start with Why – Simon Sinek
Making Ideas Happen – Scott Belsky
Design is a Job – Mike Monteiro
All books by Kenya Hara

And why? 
Although this book (Permission Marketing) was first published in 1999, almost 18 years ago, the ideas that Seth Godin poses are more important today than ever. It’s funny how brands, and agencies are still in the business of disruptive marketing when it has stopped working for decades.

If you’re struggling in your business, job or trying to invent your career, read Start With Why. As for Making Ideas Happen, I met Scott Belsky and Matias Corea in 2009 at the first 99% Conference in New York. That was when Behance was still based out of Scott’s apartment. One year after, we started A Design Film Festival. This book captures all the great insights from the conference as well as the many years of research that Scott has done on making ideas happen.

Stop complaining about how clients are not treating you right. Read this Design is a Job. Applies to anyone
who creates. Not just designers. And of course, Kenya Hara, the art director of Muji and one of the great thinking designers of this generation. An interview between him and Naoto Fukasawa in Theme Magazine in 2007 changed my entire perception of design.

If the saying that “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” is true, then these books are my greatest loot and the list uncovers our tracks. Reading is a great inexpensive way for anyone to learn about anything from those who came before us and I would be lying if i pretended that we figured out everything on our own. The truth is that these books have profoundly changed the way I work.

What's one quote you live by?
"It's not a race, it's a marathon."
— Jackson Tan

All books and some more at 



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