The Impeccable Design of “Mad Men” Gets The Requisite Taschen Spotlight

Creator Matt Weiner pulls back the curtain on the making of the seminal TV series in this high-end two-volume book set.

WHAT: Matthew Weiner. Mad Men, a two-volume backstage look at the making of the Emmy Award-winning drama series, releasing Thursday from high-end art publisher Taschen with a signing at its Beverly Hills store.


WHO: Creator/showrunner Matt Weiner; writers Lisa Albert, Semi Chellas, Jonathan Igla, Andre & Maria Jacquemetton, Janet Leahy, Erin Levy, Tom Smuts, and Carly Wray; executive producer/director Scott; cinematographer/director Phil Abraham; director of photography Chris Manley; production and set designer Dan Bishop; costume designer Janie Bryant; and actor/director Jon Hamm. The books guide readers through the inspirations, details, creative flourishes, and talents that informed the show.

WHY WE CARE: Critics have regarded Mad Men, a drama set amidst the 1960s Manhattan advertising industry that ran on AMC during 2007-15, as one of the most superbly crafted television dramas, a driving force in a second Golden Age of Television launched by The Sopranos (for which Weiner also wrote), and a cultural touchstone. Its hallmark is its exquisite attention to nuance and detail—the turn of a phrase, a furtive glance, a decor flourish—in both presentation and adherence to the day’s social mores. It enabled audiences to consider how far society has come in social acceptance and equality, and how far short it still falls.

The Taschen set breaks down how Weiner and his team achieved that tone, taking readers on a 1048-page tour of the development and design of the story, costumes, sets, and characters through lavish photos and commentary. Volume 1 chronicles its seven seasons with sequential stills alongside key script excerpts. Volume 2 details the creative insights shaping the show, through on-set photos, props, and costume designs, writers’ room notes, and extensive interviews with Weiner. There’s also a limited Art Edition of 500 numbered copies signed by Matthew Weiner, comes with the complete Mad Men scripts and print of the Season 6 artwork, signed by Brian Sanders.

About the author

Susan Karlin is an award-winning journalist in Los Angeles, covering the nexus of science, technology, and arts, with a fondness for sci-fi and comics. She's a regular contributor to Fast Company, NPR, and IEEE Spectrum, and has written for Newsweek, Forbes, Wired, Scientific American, Discover, NY and London Times, and BBC Radio.