I work in a teaching/working studio, with a combination of students and artists. As a result, I get to see a lot of other people's work on the shelves all over the studio. This made me interested in form and function vs. esthetics.
After checking around, I purchased the book Functional Pottery: Form and Aesthetic in Pots of Purpose by Robin Hopper. I'm only partway through it, but what a great book this is!
Hopper looks at design in several ways: historically, functionally, and how forms evolved organically (cupped hands and leaves as the original drinking and eating surfaces).
At times, while reading this, I almost slap myself on the forehead because the information should be so obvious. For example, vessels that store liquids have narrowed necks to prevent evaporation. Or, the angle of the spout on a teapot needs to be in geometric proportion to the handle and the teapot's center of gravity -- not just something that might be put together artistically.
So far, I've only gotten through the chapters on Form, Proportion, and Relationships. I can't wait to get into the chapters on Mechanics, Analysis, Practice, and Considerations.