25 Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read

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When it comes to recharging the creative batteries and learning a design theory, graphic designers have ample choices. Amid these choices, the best graphic design books are prevalent. Their role in honing one’s designing skills cannot be ruled out.

In fact, no pdf, web, or kindle version can replace the unique, portable magic of a book in your hands! And for designers, a book is the gateway to wisdom, inspiration, and perfection.

No matter whether you’re a seasoned graphic designer or a beginner, these 25 books that we’ve picked for you will help you hone your graphic designing skills. Whether you would like to know about the psychology of design, dive into the history of graphic design, identify the key elements of a successful brand, or learn more about logos, these books cover everything for you.

  1. How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul

Author- Adrian Shaughnessy

Designers are hesitant creatures when it comes to revealing their critical matters such as how much money they charge, how they find work, how to deal with clients, what to do when their hard work gets rejected, and they aren’t paid. This book addresses the concerns of young creative minds who want to pursue a career in graphic design and who want to stay away from being designing robots working on inexpressive projects.  Penned down by a designer for every designer out there “How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul” offers practical guidance with philosophical advice.

  1. Universal Principles of Design

Authors: William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, Jill Butler

This is the first cross-disciplinary book that exemplifies graphic design ideas beautifully. In fact, it works as a comprehensive encyclopedia that gives clear explanations of the design concepts. Each concept is paired with visual examples for better understanding. This book helps designers, architects, engineers, and students expand their knowledge base irrespective of their expertise.

  1. Design Elements, Color Fundamentals: A Graphic Style Manual for Understanding How Color Affects Design

Author: Aaris Sherin

Color is an integral part of graphic design. This manual of color serves as the best resource for designers. With this book on your shelf, you will learn color theory concepts, integration, and pairings to be implemented in real-world projects.

  1. Big Brand Theory

By: Gingko Press

Want to know the critical elements of a successful brand? This book is the best resource guide. It includes the case-studies of big brands such as Adidas, Converse, Colette, H&M, Starbucks, Nike, Levis, Lacoste, Isse Miyake, Thonik, UNIQLO, and many more.

With this essential guide, one can understand the things that really work in the world of branding.

  1. Design DNA: Logos

Author: Matthew Healey

It’s a practical and inspirational logo design guide written by famous brand consultant Matthew Healey. The book includes over 500 creative logos from around the world. There is also an in-depth analysis of these logos that informs the readers about how these are constructed to convey the brand value.  

  1. Draplin Design Co: Pretty Much Everything

Author: Aaron James Draplin

This must-read book for graphic designers unveils the amazing work and career of Aaron Draplin— the brain behind the successful branding of Esquire, Ford Motors, and the Obama Administration.

This book actually provides a peep into Aaron’s mid-career survey work, inspiration with case studies, lists and road stories. It also includes How-Tos and advice from this influential graphic designer.

The book is a complete package for today’s designers.

  1. Min: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design

Author: Stuart Tolley

The book provides an in-depth analysis of minimalism influencing modern day graphic design ideas. It presents the work of over 150 minimalist designers in about 500 color illustrations. The author has also outlined the recent resurgence of minimalism dating back to 1960s.

  1. Symbols: A Handbook for Seeing

Author: Mark Fox

It renders a fresh approach to understanding the role of symbolism in graphic design. This pictorial reference guide has over 400 images ranging from Greco-Roman art to Benjamin Franklin and more. It’s a vital resource for artists and designers.

  1. Why Fonts Matter

Author: Sarah Hyndman

In the sphere of creative graphic designs, fonts do matter. This book talks about the science and the art behind the influence of fonts on one’s decision making. It also explains why certain fonts trigger particular experiences. The book also combines the author’s 20 years of experience as a graphic designer.

  1. The Golden Secrets of Lettering: Letter Design from First Sketch to Final Artwork

Author: Martina Flor

Those who want to step up their lettering game and want to train their “typographic eye” should definitely get this book. This text is full of tricks, samples, and easy-to-grasp instructions that will help you transform your lettering concepts and sketches into a refined digital lettering.

  1. Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter

Author: Phaidon Editors

It’s a fascinating compendium that offers a complete overview of the rich history of graphic design. It also provides you with 500 renowned and influential designs ranging from magazine ads to global campaigns.  

  1. Cut That Out: Contemporary Collage in Graphic Design

Author: DR. ME (Ryan Doyle and Mark Edwards)

The book offers a thorough look into the innovative field of collage in graphic designs. It features the interviews of 50 leading designers and studios including Hort, Stefan Sagmeister, Mike Perry, Matthew Cooper, and more. Those looking to explore the creative potential of collage in their own work should definitely buy this book.

  1. The Package Design Book 4

By: Taschen

The Package Design Book 4, published by Taschen features all the best work of the 2015 & 2016 Pentawards. It includes more than 400 product designs from over 30 nations. Besides, the book also features intuitive essays covering the aspects of design and branding.

  1. Designing Brand Identity

Author: Alina Wheeler

It works as an excellent tool-kit for people involved in creative graphic designs. The book offers a meticulous development process of creating a brand identity through a five-phase visual guide.

  1. The Graphic Design Idea Book: Inspiration from 50 Masters

Authors: Steven Heller, Gail Anderson

This book covers all the key aspects of great design. Featuring influential works of highly-praised designers such as Neville Brody, Paul Brand, and Stefan Sagmeister, it encourages readers to try out innovative ideas. This book not only lets creative juices flowing but also gives an insightful knowledge of color, illusion, narrative, simplicity, ornaments, humor and more.

  1. Thinking with Type

Author: Ellen Lupton

Thinking with Type is one of the best-selling books for graphic designers. It unveils the use of typography in visual communication. The revised edition includes informative essays and visuals for the readers to grasp it easily. All in all, it’s a book for everyone from writers to designers, students, editors, and everyone who works with words.

  1. Graphics Alive 2

By: Victionary

This text lets you explore the influential forms of graphic art and illustration that we witness in our day-to-day life. The book covers everything ranging from fashion and furniture to shop windows, in-store decorations, toys and more.

The works featured in the book includes items that we carry from head to toe. Acclaimed designers and artists have designed each job. It’s a worthy successor of its previous edition Graphics Alive.

  1. I Used To Be a Design Student

Author: Frank Philippin, Billy Kiosoglou

I Used to Be a Design Student offers a peep into the life of a graphic designer. It gives readers a rare chance to know what graphic designers think of their education and profession. You will come across student life of 50 influential designers, their college work, and recent work.

  1. Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe

Author: Tim Leong

Whether or not you are a comic book fan, this book with a wide variety of infographic styles will bring you loads of inspiration. The text traverses the graphics world and gives readers a unique look at the complex and contradictory storylines widely accepted in best-selling comic books.  

  1. Revival Type: Digital Typefaces Inspired by the Past

Author: Paul Shaw

This book for graphic designers revolves around digital type revival. It includes a collection of recent digital fonts originated in the past. You will come across an explorative review on the resurgence of pre-digital typefaces after the digital revolution.

  1. Do Design: Why Beauty is Key to Everything

Author: Alan Moore

Does Design challenge creative minds to create something better and with more purpose? The book invites every designer to consider the what, why and how perspectives of any creation.

  1. Logo

Author: Michael Evamy

Written by Michael Evamy, this book serves as a logo bible. You will find in it over 1300 logos clustered as per their focal form, symbol and graphic connections into 75 sections such as stars, crosses, animals, crowns, handwritten, people, illustrative types and more. Designers at Designhill by taking inspiration from this book emphasized their work with successful logo creations.

  1. Creative Strategy and the Business of Design

Author: Douglas Davis

It takes more than creativity for professionals to stay relevant. This book is what teaches designers the strategic language to get their job done. It also helps them learn about the marketing decisions and business objectives that fuel creativity.

  1. Creative Pep Talk: Inspiration from 50 Artists

Author: Andy J. Miller

This book is packed with inspiration and words of wisdom from over 50 creative luminaries such as Aaron James Draplin, Mike Perry, Lisa Congdon, Oliver Jeffers and many others. It encourages designers to experiment boldly, overcome fear and stay energized.  

  1. UI is Communication

Those who want to render approachable communication to the users through their design should get this book. UI is Communication book talk about the ways to create intuitive, user-centered interfaces by paying attention to effective communication.

Conclusion

You can learn pretty much from watching the influential works of great designers and following their methods. Take out time and read these 25 books to fire up your creativity.