10 Best Design Books for Graphic Designers to Read in 2024

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10 Best Design Books for Graphic Designers to Read in 2024

Swapnil Banga
Last updated on June 16, 2024

    Here, we will discuss the best design books to read in 2023. When we hear the term ‘design,’ the most typical definition of it, i.e., a 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 can influence customers. One of the most elementary aspects of any digital or physical product is having a captivating design.

    Along with the functionalities, the design and structure of a product play a crucial role. Moreover, the target audience gets engaged with your product if it has a good and attractive design.

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

    10 Best Design Books for Design Students

    To kick-start your career in the graphic 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.

    1. Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles Using Grids

    Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Using Grids (Design Essentials)

    Author: Beth Tondreau

    We'll start our list of the best graphic design books with Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles Using Grids. As in the name, this design book covers 100 design principles associated with grids, such as typefaces, special characters, kerning and legibility, and combining typefaces. It is an ideal learning resource for beginners who wish to kickstart their journey in the field of graphic designing.

    In this graphic design book, you will find all the essentials of grid design that ensure the success of any design task. This book is available in Paperback and Hardcover editions.

    About the Author

    Beth Tondreau 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.

    Publisher: Rockport Publishers
    Paperback Print Length: 208 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    2. The Design of Everyday Things

    The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

    Author: Don Norman

    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 graphic design book, you will be able to differentiate between excellent and average designs. In this book, the author explains the process of developing a good and usable design.

    Moreover, he states 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 design book ultimately guides you to learn how to take the right action on the right control at the right time. You can purchase this book in Paperback and Kindle formats.

    About the Author

    Don Norman has graduate degrees in psychology and engineering. Also, Don is the co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group.

    Publisher: Basic Books
    Paperback Print Length: 368 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    3. The Elements of User Experience

    The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond - Voices That Matter

    Author: Jesse James Garrett

    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.

    Also, the author provides solutions and vivid illustrations to various complexities encountered while creating user-centered designs in this graphic design book. Some of the significant complexities that become evident while creating user-centered designs are brand identity, interaction design, usability, and information architecture.

    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. You can purchase this book either in Paperback or Kindle format.

    About the Author

    Jesse James Garrett is the president and co-founder of a user experience design consultancy named Adaptive Path. He has received Wired Magazine's Rave Award. Moreover, he is named one of the "50 Most Important People on the Web" by PC World.

    Publisher: New Riders
    Paperback Print Length: 192 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    4. Design Elements, Color Fundamentals

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

    Author: Aaris Sherin

    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.

    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.

    This book is available only in Paperback format.

    About the Author

    Aaris Sherin is a designer, educator, and writer in New York. Additionally, Aaris works as a professor of Graphics Design at St. John’s University in Queens.

    Publisher: Rockport Publishers
    Paperback Print Length: 160 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    5. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited

    Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter)

    Author: Steve Krug

    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.

    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, the latest edition incorporates a new lesson on mobile usability and covers various examples. Buy this book in Kindle and Paperback formats.

    About the Author

    Steve Krug is the owner of a consulting firm named Advanced Common Sense located in Chestnut Hill. Currently, he spends most of his time teaching and consulting.

    Publisher: New Riders
    Paperback Print Length: 216 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    6. Universal Principles of Design, Revised, and Updated

    The Pocket Universal Principles of Design: 150 Essential Tools for Architects, Artists, Designers, Developers, Engineers, Inventors, and Makers

    Author: Kritina Holden, William Lidwell, and Jill Butler

    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 design book is a unified and cross-disciplinary guide that covers 125 guidelines, human biases, laws, and general considerations for effective and successful 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 explain each principle in a two-page format. The first page contains:

    • A compact and concise definition of the principle,
    • A description,
    • An example of the principle, and
    • Guidelines to use it.

    On the other hand, the second page depicts visual examples for deeper understanding. Some significant principles include:

    1. Expectation Effect
    2. Scaling Fallacy
    3. Proximity
    4. Golden Ratio
    5. Baby-face Bias
    6. Ockham’s Razor

    You can purchase this book in Flexibound and Kindle editions.

    About the Author

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

    Publisher: Rockport Publishers
    Paperback Print Length: 272 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    7. The Art of Looking Sideways

    The Art of Looking Sideways

    Author: Alan Fletcher

    The number seven spot on our list of the best graphic design books goes to 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. 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. Additionally, the author has covered several design topics, such as illusion, language, letters, ideas, culture, style, value, pattern, and more. You can purchase this book in Paperback and Hardcover formats.

    About the Author

    Alan Fletcher is an art director and a reputed designer. Also, he is the founder member of the design group, Pentagram. Currently, he works for his own design studio in London.

    Publisher: Phaidon Press
    Paperback Print Length: 1064 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    8. Graphics Design School

    Graphic Design School: A Foundation Course for Graphic Designers Working in Print, Moving Image and Digital Media

    Author: Abbie Vickress, David Dabner, and Sandra Stewart

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

    This book is available only in the Paperback edition.

    About the Author

    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.

    David Dabner is an experienced industry professional and teaches at the London College of Communication.

    Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
    Paperback Print Length: 208 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    9. Logo Design Love

    Logo Design Love: A guide to creating iconic brand identities (Voices That Matter)

    Author: David Airey

    Logo Design Love 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.

    In this graphic designing book, David shared his personal experiences of working on various design projects. Moreover, he 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, including:

    • 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 Paperback and Kindle formats, and it is published by Peachpit Press.

    About the Author

    David Airey is a self-employed graphic designer from Ireland. Also, he writes graphic design blogs for three prominent websites, namely DavidAirey.com, LogoDesignLove.com, and IdentityDesigned.com.

    P ublisher: Peachpit Press
    Paperback Print Length: 240 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    10. Thinking With Type

    Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students (Design Briefs)

    Author: Ellen Lupton

    We'll wind up our list of the best graphic designing books with 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.

    Thinking With Type 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.

    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

    The author has also included demonstrations of the fundamental typography design with exciting exercises and dozens of extra illustrations. This book is available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

    About the Author

    Ellen Lupton 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. She is the director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

    Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
    Paperback Print Length: 224 pages

    You can buy this book from here .


    It is incredibly beneficial to develop design expertise in today’s design-driven world. Thus, there are lots of opportunities available today. Moreover, 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 world of graphic designing.

    This article explained 10 best design books that might help you develop and hone your graphic 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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    Yes, design is a good career for individuals who love art and are truly passionate about it. Mostly, the job roles in design combine art and technology together to produce amazing solutions.

    Yes, 'The Design of Everyday Things' is an ideal book for those who use design human-usable products, whether they may be physical objects or computer programs.

    To become a skilled designer, you need a lot of practice and hard work. If you are passionate about art, definitely being a designer is a great choice.

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