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10 Best Graphic Design Books to Read in 2023
Table of Contents
Graphic design is a form of visual communication between a business and its consumers. A good thought-out graphic design enhances the readability of the business content. A design does not stand on graphics alone. Other elements are equally important. It is a combination of texts, typography skills, images, and page layout techniques. The final design should be clean, legible, and usable, generating a response from the users.
Review and learn from the top-rated books below if you intend to learn graphic design. Let's get started!
Best Graphic Design Books
We have compiled a list of the ten best graphic design books here. These tried and tested books will help you reconceptualize your design approach and push you forward towards innovative creativity.
1. The Non-Designer’s Design Book
Author Name: Robin Williams
This book introduces the fundamental principles of designing. It breaks down designing concepts and demonstrates them step-by-step via examples. However, it does not cover grids and logos. This book is intended for beginners and intermediate-level designers.
It covers topics like the principles of designing, designing with color, designing with type, designing with a combination of typefaces. It also includes tips for font usage, a professional approach to designing, tips for brand designing, and other projects.
2. Making and Breaking the Grid: A Layout Design Workshop
Grids are an essential part of the graphic designing process. The book would master its learners about grid basics such as columns, compounds, and modular grids. The book guides to build cohesive layouts by explaining the rules of the grid and how to use them and break them to build layouts.
The pages consist of hundreds of colored layout concepts and diagrams to educate and inspire to master the art of building layouts. In this book, you would learn how grids work,
be inspired to explore new concepts for using—or not using—grids, discover possible alternatives for boring layouts, and get the results you want using new design elements. You would also learn designers’ processes via fascinating case studies, see numerous examples of successful layouts created with and without grids, communicate ideas effectively using visual language.
3. Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A Visual Communication Manual for Graphic Designers, Typographers, and Three Dimensional Designers
Author Name: Josef Muller Brockmann
The Grid System enables designers to organize content information in a logical, well-structured, and balanced manner. Typefaces prove to be a common means for brands to establish and strengthen their visual identities. These typefaces go beyond aesthetics and achieve marketing objectives to build value for the brands over the long term by effectively expressing a unique personality or supporting a campaign.
This book lays out the guidelines and rules for using the grid system through examples at a conceptual level. It dives deep into the grid system and typography and enables designers to them effectively. It collates some of the best custom typography work worldwide that demonstrates both creative and commercial ingenuity. It features cover stories that offer insights by the top design studios in the industry and exciting project and technique-related details to inspire both designers and clients alike.
4. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide to Designers, Writers, Editors & Students by Ellen Lupton
If you're aspiring to be a typographer, this is a must-have. This book is a guide to using typography in graphics using live examples. It provides the latest information in style sheets, ornaments, captions, font licensing, mixed-use typefaces, and hands letters. It is a book exclusively for designing using words.
5. A Smile in The Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design
Author Name: Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart, Greg Quinton, Nick Asbury
This book is a witty approach to graphic designing. It is packed with illustrations that demonstrate the application of wit into design techniques. It compiles the best projects in the world, including 1000 projects, 500 designers, and creative minds. It examines the different methods implemented by designers through inspirational examples. It features interviews with designers where they have revealed their source of inspiration behind their classic pieces of work. This book is a compilation of vintage pieces and contemporary designs with a definitive guide to blending wit into designs. This book is a source for triggering witty ideas, written in a humorous designer-friendly vocabulary,
6. How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry and (Every Once in a While) Change the World
This is the author’s first monograph, design manual, and manifesto that showcases his most noteworthy projects for broad-spectrum clients. This book is a fantastic dip into the main philosophy behind his eclectic approach to designing. Throughout the book, the author provides insights into his creative processes and struggles to bring in innovative ideas. This book offers insights and inspiration to artists and designers on how different elements can be put together to create exceptional designs.
You can buy this book here.
7. How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
Author Name: Adrian Shaughnessy
This book is a source of practical advice combined with philosophical guidance, which helps young professionals to embark on their careers. It brings together essential chapters on professional skills, creative processes, and modern-day global trends. It offers a concise guide to setting up, running, and promoting your own design business. It is an advanced reading and great for regular reference.
8. Interaction of Color
Author Name: Josef Albers, Nicholas Fox Weber
This book explains the principles of complex color theory. It provides a selection of 60 color studies and focuses on principles like color relativity, color intensity, and temperature, the illusion of transparencies, vibrating and vanishing boundaries, and reversed grounds. It is a good book for artists, painters, designers who are more inclined towards color strategy.
9. Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills
It is a set of 80 creative challenges ranging from creating typefaces to designing web pages. These challenges are intended to strengthen designing skills and increase your ability to innovate, keeping time constraints in mind. It forces you to move outside your comfort zone and work out new concepts. This book also includes beneficial brainstorming techniques and tips from well-known designers.
10. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited, A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Usability is one of the most critical factors of design. Clients do not choose from the best available option; rather, they want from the only available option. This is a book for both Web Designers and Web Developers. It evaluates design from the client’s perspective. It focuses on the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. This book points out the common design mistakes and lays down the best practices for web designing. This book is more inclined towards UI/UX with elements of testing, accessibility, usability, and design. This book is not a one-time read; rather, it is a book for regular reference.
The books listed above cover the aspects of designing individually. Right from the first sketch to the final information layout, every element is essential.
The books above complement each other by focusing on one design element at a time.
It is suggested to consult multiple books starting from beginners moving up to the advanced ones to gain all-around knowledge. You might want to begin with books that mention graphic designers for beginners in their overview and eventually climb up to being a professional designer.
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