Listening to Design

A Guide to the Creative Process

Andrew Levitt

Listening to Design

Andrew Levitt

Distributed for Reaktion Books

208 pages | 6 1/4 x 8 1/4 | © 2018
Cloth $24.00 ISBN: 9781780239125 Published May 2018 For sale in North and South America only
Listening to Design takes readers on a unique journey into the singular psychology of design. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, architect, and psychotherapist, Andrew Levitt breaks down the entire creative process, from the first moments an idea appears to the final presentation of a project. Combining telling anecdotes, practical advice, and personal insights, this book offers a rarely seen glimpse into the often turbulent creative process of a working designer. It highlights the importance of active listening, the essential role of empathy in solving problems and overcoming obstacles, and reveals how the act of designing is a vehicle for personal development and a profound opportunity for self-transformation.

With clear, jargon-free, and inspirational prose, sections on “Storytelling and the Big Idea,” “Listening and Receiving,” “Getting Stuck,” “Empathy and Collaboration,” and “Presenting and Persuading” signal a larger shift in design toward staying true to creative instincts and learning to trust the surprising power and resilience of the creative process itself. This enlightening and timely book is essential reading for designers, architects, and readers working in all creative fields.
Review Quotes
Applied Arts
"[One of] three new graphic design books to perfect your technique. . . . Levitt combines his background as an architecture professor and certified Jungian psychotherapist into a guidebook for those who want to create. From start to finish, the creative process is examined through a psychological lens, which will be sure to inspire new ideas and reduce stress. Levitt pays particular attention to the importance of active listening and approaching creative problems with empathy."
Mira Nakashima, creative director of George Nakashima Woodworkers
“Levitt’s unusual background as a teacher of architecture and a psychotherapist has inspired him to write a book describing many practices which I did not realize were part of my own creative process. The act of drawing as a way of communication, meditation as a way of opening oneself to a higher power, ‘listening to feedback from your head, heart, and gut,’ openness to collaboration and overcoming ego, as well as the demands of others in order to be true to yourself—these are all important lessons to learn. Not just for designers and architects, but for everyone in all walks of life.”
William Woodworth, principal, William Woodworth Architectural Design, Toronto
“Of all the subtle creative tools available to the architectural designer, listening may be the most difficult to portray. In this book, Levitt provides a unique window into this practice. Using autobiographical narrative, experiential examples, his integrated role as an architect and therapist, and his simple humanity, Levitt helps us understand the nature of listening in the creative design process. This he does with a magisterial progress through the body, mind, and hearts of his students.”
Esther Sperber, founder of Studio ST Architects, New York
“Levitt has a rare ability to integrate insights from the fields of architecture and psychology, revealing the internal processes that enable creative design. Using beautifully narrated vignettes drawn from his teaching and design practice, Listening to Design describes techniques for overcoming creative impasses and finding your own inner passion. It also provides valuable insights for art, design, and architecture educators as well as therapists working with creative clients.”
Gregory Votolato, course director and lecturer, Victoria & Albert Museum; tutor, Royal College of Art
Listening to Design offers a rare insight into the psychology of the design process, particularly the special relationship that exists between tutor and student. Levitt is a wonderful storyteller whose tales will be relevant to those in all fields of design, as well as the general reader interested in creativity. Through his immersion in the way of design thinking, Levitt gives us an eloquent and sympathetic portrait of the design community—its poignancy, frustrations, and pleasures.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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