10 Best Design Books for Graphic Designers to Read in 2022

By | November 14, 2021
Best Design Books for Graphic Designers

When we hear the term ‘design’, the most typical definition of it, i.e., design is a visual representation of an imaginary object, flashes across our mind.

As you might already know, the human brain can absorb information more effectively and quickly when represented in the form of shapes, colors, and sizes. This is the exact reason why designing has gained so much popularity these days. Businesses today are willing to hire individuals who can create exceptional designs that influence customers.

One of the most elementary aspects of any digital or physical product is having a good design. Along with the functionalities, the design and structure of a product play a crucial role. Moreover, the target audience gets engaged in your product if it has a good and attractive design.

This article discusses some of the best design books that can help you develop fundamental design expertise and build a career in the design domain.

10 Best Design Books for Design Students

To kick-start your career in the design industry, it is essential to acquire knowledge of design fundamentals. Here is a curated list of the 10 most popular design books that you can read to boost your design skills and get ready to work as a professional designer.

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1. Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles Using Grids

This book covers 100 design principles associated with grids, such as a typeface, special characters, kerning and legibility, combining typefaces, and many others.

Beth Tondreau is the author of this book. She owns a small design firm called BTD, where different publishers work to design books and book jackets. In addition, she works as a professor at New York City College of Technology in the Design department.

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It is a 208-page long book, which is available in Paperback and Hardcover editions. The publisher of this book is Rockport Publishers.

You can buy this book from here.

2. The Design of Everyday Things

This design book serves as the ultimate guide to human-centered design. It is ideal for those who design human-usable things, such as physical products, conceptual tools, and computer programs. After reading this book, you will be able to differentiate between excellent and average designs.

The author of this book, Don Norman, holds graduate degrees in psychology and engineering. Also, Don is the co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group. In this book, he explained that it is possible to develop a good and usable design.

Moreover, the author has stated simple rules for creating usable designs that are as follows:

  • Make things visible.
  • Make intelligent use of constraints.
  • Exploit natural relationships that combine control and function.

This book ultimately guides you to learn how to take the right action on the right control at the right time. The length of this book is 368 pages and you can purchase it in Paperback and Kindle formats.

You can buy this book from here.

3. The Elements of User Experience

The Elements of User Experience is among the best design books for web and interaction designers. The author of the book has penned his progressive thinking about the web. In other words, this book introduces you to information regarding the surge in the popularity of mobile devices and applications.

Jesse James Garrett is the writer of this book, and he is the president and co-founder of a user experience design consultancy named Adaptive Path. Through this book, the author has provided solutions and vivid illustrations to various complexities encountered while creating user-centered designs.

Some of the significant complexities that become evident while creating user-centered designs are brand identity, interaction design, usability, information architecture, etc. Jesse has given basic ideas on how to tackle such complexities effectively.

This book is a comprehensive guide that teaches everything about the user experience, from requirements and strategy to architecture and visual design.

It is a 192-page long book that you can purchase either in Paperback or Kindle format. Also, New Riders is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

4. Design Elements, Color Fundamentals

Design Elements, Color Fundamentals is the ultimate guide for those who desire to develop designs that effectively highlight the message they wish to convey to the target audience. As its name suggests, Design Elements, Color Fundamentals introduces readers to different design elements and the basics of color in designing.

The writer of this book is Aaris Sherin who is a designer, educator, and writer in New York. In addition, Aaris works as a professor of Graphics Design at St. John’s University in Queens.

After reading this book, you will:

  • Understand techniques of interacting with color effectively and learn how to combine color with image and type to develop meaningful designs.
  • Learn how to use the selection method and known pairings in real-world design projects.
  • Understand the fundamental theory of color.
  • Delve into multiple visual examples that illustrate applying effective and appealing color combinations to a project.
  • Get an introduction to different techniques to use color in client-based design projects.

Rockport Publishers is the publisher of this 160-page book, and it is available only in Paperback format.

You can buy this book from here.

5. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited

It is one of the most recommended design books that introduce you to the fundamentals of web usability. Various web developers and designers across the globe use this book to understand the rules and principles of information design and web navigation.

Steve Krug is the author of this book. He is the owner of a consulting firm named Advanced Common Sense located in Chestnut Hill. The latest version of Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited introduces readers to the author’s fresh perspective on principles stated in the previous edition.

Moreover, this latest edition incorporates a new lesson on mobile usability and covers various examples.

It is a 216-page book, and you can purchase it in Kindle and Paperback formats.

You can buy this book from here.

6. Universal Principles of Design, Revised, and Updated

This is another reliable design book for students, designers, architects, and engineers aiming to expand their design expertise. It teaches you everything that you need to create mesmerizing designs.

In addition, this book is a unified and cross-disciplinary guide that covers 125 guidelines, human biases, laws, and general considerations to effective and successful design.

Kritina Holden, William Lidwell, and Jill Butler are the writers of this book. Willian Lidwell is the Chief R&D Office at Avenue: The World School while Kritina Holden is a Human Factors Technical Fellow with Leidos at the NASA Johnson Space Center. The third writer, Jill Butler, is the president and founder of Stuff Creator Design.

The authors have described the fundamental design concepts, from the 80/20 Rule to the Weakest Link, concisely. In addition, they explained every concept with visual examples, thus helping you to understand better.

This book contains design principles in alphabetical order to help you find each principle easily. Moreover, the authors explained each principle in a two-page format.

The first page contains:

  • A compact and concise definition of the principle
  • Description
  • Example of a principle
  • Guidelines to use it

On the other hand, the second page depicts visual examples for deeper understanding.

Some significant principles include:

  • Expectation Effect
  • Scaling Fallacy
  • Proximity
  • Golden Ration
  • Baby-face Bias
  • Ockham’s Razor

It is a 272-page long book, and you can purchase it in Flexibound and Kindle editions. The publisher of this book is Rockport Publishers.

You can buy this book from here.

7. The Art of Looking Sideways

This design book is a beginner’s guide to visual intelligence. It covers images, jokes and memories, serious science, facts and information, quotations, anecdotes, oddities, and everything associated with the human mind.

Alan Fletcher is the author of this book, and he is an art director and a reputed designer. The Art of Looking Sideways is an inexhaustible and boundless guide to visual awareness.

There are 72 chapters in this book, and all of them are arranged thoughtfully. Fletcher has demonstrated information on every page of the book by using spaces, colors, and imagery.

In addition, the author has covered several design topics, such as illusion, language, letters, ideas, culture, style, value, pattern, color, paradox, proportion, creativity, and aesthetics.

Phaidon Press is the publisher of this book, and you can purchase it in Paperback and Hardcover formats.

You can buy this book from here.

8. Graphics Design School

Graphics Design School is a design book that gives you knowledge of cutting-edge visual designs for state-of-art media. This book offers tutorials and practical advice for the most fundamental through high-level design techniques and problem-solving approaches.

The book is authored by three designing experts, namely Abbie Vickress, David Dabner, and Sandra Stewart. While Sandra Stewart is the Associate Dean for Academics at Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media and Arts Design, Abbie Vickress is a freelance graphic designer and a lecturer of the Graphics Art Programme at Buckinghamshire New University.

With this book, you will learn the principles that are essential for creating designs in today’s digital era. This book covers User Interface and User Experience design, cutting-edge tools and design requirements, and the resources required for designing social media, web, and mobile applications.

Moreover, you will get acquainted with the most critical and essential skills required for building a framework for creating innovative designs. This design book will help you to:

  • Learn the elements, principles, and tools of design.
  • Explore more about color, typography, and layout for screen and print.
  • Understand information architecture and coding requirements.
  • Create designs for mobile devices, web apps, and social media.

It is a 208-page long book, and it is available only in the Paperback edition. Also, John Wiley & Sons is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

9. Logo Design Love

Logo Design Love book will help you understand how professional designers develop robust and effective briefs and how to connect and collaborate with clients. In addition, you will get acquainted with a step-by-step technique for creating sturdy brand identities by using client use case studies.

David Airey is the author of Logo Design Love. He is a self-employed graphic designer from Ireland. In this book, he shared his personal experiences of working on various design projects.

In this book, David tells you about how he took inspiration from the work of other renowned designers, like Paula Scher, and reputed design studios.

This book covers several topics, such as:

  • Effective practices for converting a logo into a whole brand identity system.
  • Different techniques to create influential and iconic designs.
  • Thirty-one practical and effective design tips for developing logos.

You can buy this book in two different formats – Paperback and Kindle, and it is published by Peachpit Press.

You can buy this book from here.

10. Thinking With Type

This chart-topping design book lets you become familiar with the different aspects of typography and teaches you how to use typography in visual communication. This book provides a practical and detailed guide on how you should align, space, order, and shape words, letters, and paragraphs.

Moreover, you will get acquainted with typography’s most fundamental concepts through advanced-level, i.e., from typefaces and type families to using a grid and kerning and tracking.

Ellen Lupton is the writer of this book, and she is one of the best design educators in America. In addition, Ellen is a curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, a National Design Museum in New York.

As the latest edition of this book is the second edition, the author has incorporated some new concepts, as listed below:

  • The use of captions and ornaments
  • Combining typefaces
  • Style sheets for the web and print
  • Lining and non-lining numerals
  • The use of enlarged capitals and small caps

She also included demonstrations on the fundamental typography design with exciting exercises and dozens of extra illustrations.

This 224-page long book is available in Paperback and Kindle editions, and Princeton Architectural Press is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

Conclusion

It is incredibly beneficial to develop design expertise in today’s design-driven world. Designers take various avatars, like UX designers, animation designers, and graphics designers. Possessing a basic understanding of design principles is the foremost requirement to kick-start your professional journey in the design world.

This article contains the 10 best design books that might help you develop and hone your designing skills. We have provided an overview of each book to make it easier for you to pick the most suitable one. After learning the fundamentals of design, you can even move forward with any online design course, tutorial, or certification.

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Author: Sameeksha Medewar

Sameeksha is a freelance content writer for more than half and a year. She has a hunger to explore and learn new things. She possesses a bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

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