What do objects mean to us? What messages do they send? What values and lifestyles do they represent? From blue jeans and surfboards to cosmetics and kitchen gadgets, twelve everyday objects are recast as icons -- single, physical forms that embody a complex universe of associations -- and explored as benchmarks for the current state of design. This striking volume accompanies the groundbreaking exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, to run April to August 1997. With essays by Chee Pearlman, David E. Nye, Steven Flusty, and Aaron Betsky, Icons forges a new relationship between design, consumer culture, and the aesthetics of desire.