10 Best Graphic Design Books

By | December 28, 2021
Best Graphic Design Books

We see graphics everywhere these days, from a small wrapper of candy to an e-commerce website promoting a business. Also, if you have noticed, most products out there feature some sort of design on their packages such as a company logo or some other design elements.

Newspapers, hoardings, menu cards, Instagram advertisements, etc. are some typical examples that make use of graphics to convey certain information to people effectively. Thus, pursuing a career in graphic designing is likely a great choice considering the increasing use of graphics in a wide variety of businesses.

If you aim to develop or enhance your graphic design skills, this article is for you. Here, we will list down some of the best books that can help you gain all the essential knowledge required to become a professional graphic designer.

But before we discuss the top graphic design books, let us take a quick look at what graphic design is all about.

What is Graphics Design?

When you think of graphic design, what flashes across your mind? Impressive graphics on websites? Well-organized layouts on magazines? Well, all these fit into the definition of graphics design and the term encompasses a lot: posters, software interfaces, logos, signs, business cards, mobile apps, book covers, to name a few.

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Graphic design is the art of conveying information visually. More specifically, it is a process of communicating with the audience using images, text, thoughts, ideas, and design elements.

Graphic design is not just an art but also an approach that promotes communication between businesses and their audience. Therefore, it is also referred to as communication design. Businesses and organizations use different types of graphic design for advertising their products to target customers.

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For creating impressive and impactful designs, there are multiple graphics design elements. Web designers generally use these elements to produce appealing and eye-grabbing designs. Some significant graphic design elements include:

  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Line
  • Form
  • Size
  • Space
  • Color

Along with graphic design elements, there is a set of rules or principles, helping individuals produce an effective and well-balanced piece of work. These principles are:

  • Movement
  • Rhythm
  • Emphasis
  • Balance
  • Contrast
  • Proportion

Best Graphic Design Books

Here is a list of our handpicked graphic design books ideal for beginners as well as experienced graphic designers who want to level up their skills.

1. Making and Breaking the Grid: A Layout Design Workshop

We all know that one of the most crucial segments of graphics designing is Grids. This book discusses various types of grids, like compound, modular, and column grids. In addition, it highlights the rules and regulations of Grid that are to be used while developing layouts.

This book’s author is Timothy Samara, a graphics designer from New York. He has more than 18 years of experience in branding and information design. Also, he worked on multiple projects of various domains, such as packaging, prints, user interface design, and animation.

The author has discussed the history of the grid and highlighted some use cases of the grid. In addition, he has depicted layout concepts with diagrams and colors, helping readers to understand better.

This book can help you:

  • Understand how grids work.
  • Go through several examples of productive layouts developed with and without using grids.
  • Use visual language to communicate effectively.
  • Understand case studies to learn design processes.

This book is a 240-page long book, and you can read it in Kindle and Paperback formats. The publisher of this book is Rockport Publishers.

You can buy this book from here.

2. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide to Designers, Writer, Editors, and Students by Ellen Lupton

This award-winning book is a perfect guide for individuals aspiring to become a typographer. It describes different approaches with examples to using typography in graphics. In addition, this book introduces you to all the essential information related to font licensing, style sheets, hands letters, mixed-use typefaces, and ornaments.

The writer of this book is Ellen Lupton who is a prominent design educator. In addition, she is a contemporary design curator at Cooper-Hewitt in New York as well as a director of the Graphic Design MFA program at MICA in Baltimore.

In this book, the author has clearly illustrated how words, paragraphs, and letters should be shaped, ordered, aligned, and spaced. Moreover, this book introduces you to the fundamentals of typography, starting from typefaces, kerning, and tracking to using a grid.

Moreover, this covers the following topics:

  • The usage of captions and ornaments.
  • Combining typefaces.
  • Lining and non-lining numerals.
  • The usage of small caps and enlarged capitals along with stylesheets for the web.

It is a 224-page long book and it is available in Paperback and Kindle formats. The publisher of this book is Princeton Architectural Press.

You can buy this book from here.

3. How to Use Graphics Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry and Change the World

Micheal Bierut is the author of this book, and it is his first design manual, monogram, and manifesto. This book describes the author’s remarkable and exceptional design projects developed for different clients. The author has penned his own struggles and artistic ideas for creating innovative ideas and techniques for designing graphics.

The author has categorized this book into two segments – principles and practices. The first section talks about the basic concepts of design, like layout, grid structure, typography, composition, color, hierarchy, and many others.

In the second segment, the author has discussed the techniques to deploy the basics discussed in the first section into practice. You will also get aware of production issues and studio approaches related to several design principles. Furthermore, the second segment also provides information about various career opportunities in the design domain.

You can get ideas and insights from this book on how to combine different design elements to form exceptional and top-notch designs. This book is 320-page long, and you can purchase it in Hardcover and Kindle formats. The publisher of this book is Thames & Hudson.

You can buy this book from here.

4. Interaction of Color

As its name suggests, this book primarily focuses on one of the most significant design elements – color. This book is not only designed for seasoned design artists but also aspiring designers.

The authors of this book are Josef Albers and Nicholas Fox Weber. Josef Albers was an influential artist-educator of the past century. Also, he was the chairman of the Design department at Yale University. On the other hand, Nicholas Fox Weber is the executive director of Anni and Josef Albers Foundation.

Interaction of Color incorporates around 60 color studies and has its primary focus on core principles of color in design, like color intensity, color relativity, vibrating and vanishing boundaries, color temperature, etc.

This book is an excellent guide for designers, painters, and artists aiming to create better color strategies. It is a 192-page long book, and readers can buy it in Paperback format. Yale University Press is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

5. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited, A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

The usability factor in designing holds extreme importance. This book is a perfect tutorial for web developers and designers to understand information systems and navigation principles.

Steve Krug is the writer of this book. He operates a consulting firm in Chestnut Hill, MA, named Advanced Common Sense. The author has described some common design mistakes and illustrated effective solutions to those mistakes. In addition, this book explains the concepts of UI/UX, testing, usability, accessibility, and design of web applications.

It is a 216-page long book, and you can read it in Paperback and Kindle formats. The publisher of this book is New Riders.

You can buy this book from here.

6. The Non-Designer’s Design Book

The Non-Designer’s Design Book is intended for individuals who do not have any experience in graphics designing. It is an excellent guide for beginners looking to learn the fundamentals and principles of graphic designing. The author has described every design concept using a step-by-step approach.

The writer of this book is Robin Williams. She has penned several award-winning books. In this book, she has explained topics, like basic design principles, designing with color, designing with type, and designing with a combination of typefaces.

This book comprises the basics of typography, practical and effective design tips, exercises and quizzes, multiple updated design projects, and visual and typographic examples. Furthermore, this book will introduce you to advanced layout concepts, like split, shift, and splice.

With this book, you can learn:

  • Four design principles.
  • Designing with color and type.
  • Ways to combine typefaces for the utmost effect.
  • Effective tips on designing flyers, newsletters, and brochures.

The Non-Designer’s Design Book is a 240-page book, and you can buy it in two different formats – Kindle and Paperback. The publisher of this book is Peachpit Press.

You can buy this book from here.

7. Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A Visual Communication Manual for Graphic Designers, Typographers, and Three Dimensional Designers

Grid system in Graphics Design is a perfect choice for those who already have some experience working with image design and automated text. It educates readers on utilizing all grids in the Grid System, i.e., 8 to 32 grid fields.

The author of this book is Josef Muller-Brockmann. He has penned a number of examples in this book to explain different problems that occur while using grids. Moreover, this book introduces you to typography.

It also features the world’s excellent typography work, illustrating top-notch and commercial ingenuity. In addition, it provides details about exciting design projects and cover stories that feature insights by renowned and industry-recognized design studios.

It is a 176-page long book, and you can buy this book in Kindle or Paperback formats. The publisher of this book is the Antique Collectors Club.

You can buy this book from here.

8. A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design

As its name indicates, this book follows a humorous or witty approach to learning graphic design. It is one of the most noteworthy and influential guides to graphics design. This book explains how wit plays a pivotal role in graphic design. In addition, it incorporates classic examples illustrating how today’s practitioners use wit in graphic design.

Nick Asbury, David Stuart, Greg Quinton, and Beryl McAlhone are the authors of this graphic design book. Beryl McAlhone is a London-based writer with a particular interest in design. Greg Quinton is an Executive Chef Director at The Partners, which is a design company in London. David Stuart is one of the founders of The Partners. Lastly, Nick Asbury is a writer for branding and design based in Cheshire.

The book also includes classic interviews with prominent designers, where they have shared their experiences of how they got the idea of developing award-winning designs.

It is a 272-page long book, and it is available in Paperback and Kindle editions. Phaidon Press is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book here.

9. How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing your Soul

This book acts as one of the most remarkable and trusted guides on graphic design. It helps graphic design aspirants to embark on their careers by combining philosophical guidance and practical advice.

Adrian Shaughnessy is the writer of this book. He has described the creative process and professional skills of designing. In addition, this book also features motivating and stimulating interviews with prominent designers, such as Paul Sahre, Dmitri Siegel, Sara De Bondt, Stephen Doyle, and many others.

This book offers guidance for establishing, operating, and promoting a design business. It is a 176-page long book, and you can purchase it in Kindle and Paperback formats. The publisher of this book is Princeton Architectural Press.

You can buy this book from here.

10. Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

This book incorporates 80 distinct challenges related to design concepts, starting from the basics, like typefaces, to the most advanced, like designing web pages. This book is an excellent source for those who aim to hone their designing skills and enhance their ability to create effective and innovative designs.

David Sherwin is the writer of this book. He is a Senior Interaction Designer at a global innovation firm, Frog Design. Moreover, he is a teacher and speaker. He was employed at a wide range of small to large-scale agencies, like AT&T, Holland America Line, Toshiba, etc.

This book will help you come across exciting exercises to develop a typeface within an hour to design interactive and responsive web pages. Moreover, many well-known designers have provided solutions to exercises included in this book. You will also get acquainted with brainstorming techniques scripted by top designers.

It is a 256-page long book, and you can read it in Kindle and Paperback formats. HOW Books is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

Conclusion

Several graphic design books are on the market, and choosing among them is a pretty daunting task. To make it easier for you to choose the best one among a pile of books, we have curated a list of the top 10 graphic design books.

Every element, right from the rough sketch to the final layout of a design, is essential. The books described above talk about different aspects of graphic designing. Therefore, we recommend you refer to multiple books to gain all-around knowledge of graphic designing.

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