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Lighting Design

Parsons Resources

Materials Databases

How to Research Design Materials

Researching textiles? Check out the Textiles Research Guide.


Search the library catalog for a book on the material.  Books are nice because they are comprehensive and they combine images and text.  You can perform an advanced search, searching in the Subject field, with Material Type-->Books. 

You can also combine the material with additional keywords, such as glass + architecture or resin + design .  It helps to do a little brainstorming.  For example, if you are researching clay, you might want to look for books on pottery.

Google Books allows you to search inside of books.  Copy and paste book titles and authors into the library catalog.

You can also search the full text of our ebook databases:


Use these databases to find encyclopedia entries on your material.  Further readings can be located by searching the library catalog.

Consumer Trends

Stylus is an excellent source for information on how materials are being used in current, cutting-edge design and products.


Search design databases to see how materials are being discussed in art and design magazines and journals.