Visual learners and traditional readers are uniting today for National Read Across America Day! As a designer, you should consider picking up a few design books that offer insight into the design process. Perhaps you should read something about being in the business and staying sane. Whether you are new to design or you’ve had years of experience, the following beautiful and informative books are sure to inspire.
Graphic Design School: The Principles and Practice of Graphic Design
By David Dabner, Sandra Stewart and Eric Zempol
New to graphic design? This should be your foundation. Full of eye-catching illustrations that range from mobile devices to websites and books to magazines, elements are explained in detail and explored through clear examples. It’s helpful regardless of your expertise and field, exploring moving image, digital media and print. This book is widely available and should be an easy find.
100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design
By Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne
From technical elements to style, this book tackles all aspects of graphic design. It details how graphic design ideas have influenced the creation of certain objects and the evolutions of methodology over the last century. By attempting to cover the top 100 breakthroughs in graphic design’s history, this book is a must-have for understanding where design has come from and where it is going.
Mastering Type: The Essential Guide to Typography for Print and Web Design
By Denise Bosler
Many of us tend to categorize web design as separate from print or graphic design, but Bosler’s book takes the analysis of print and applies it to web design. Written by an award-winning graphic designer, this book explains the delicate connection between visuals and communication. Available in both print and as an e-book, Bosler’s insights will inspire your next project.
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team
By Alina Wheeler
On one list of “10 Graphic Design Books Every Designer Should Read,” this book is a guide both to elements of design and best marketing practices. It offers a designer’s team a specialized toolkit to create its own brand identity. These tools and best practices can help create and sell a brand through a simple five-phase process.
Designing News: Changing the World of Editorial Design and Information Graphics
By Francesco Franchi
It comes as no newsflash that newspapers and magazines aren’t the standard for news delivery any more. News is now everywhere we look — TV, computer or smartphone. Technology has transformed both the delivery method and how we absorb it. Franchi’s book breaks down these changes and how they affect traditional print media. He explores aspects of these changes from a design perspective.
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
By Michael Bierut
This book is part guide, part memoir and all things designers should take to heart. Packed with wisdom, Bierut’s book discusses his iconic works and explains the process by which they were created. To discover how an important graphic designer goes from design concept to end project, check out this offering. It is as compelling as it is educational.
A graphic designer who says he doesn’t believe in creativity, Bierut is nonetheless sure to inspire it. Find it here and learn from one of the greats.
How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
By Adrian Shaughnessy
Shaughnessy’s book has been a standard for graphic designers across the globe. A perfect blend of tips, tools and wisdom, it’s become required reading for those new to the field, and a trusted standby for those who aren’t. It answers questions for those who want to make graph design a meaningful career but don’t want to lose their joy sweating over projects that seem to have no soul.
It’s available in print and as an e-book, and it has become a graphic design mainstay for a reason. Once you have it in your hands, you’ll understand why.
By Kenya Hara
The Western world does not have the market cornered on graphic design. For instance, many influential designers hail from Japan, and they offer traditional designs that push the envelope of graphic concepts. This book pays homage to these Japanese designers, most of whom are less famous than German and Swiss designers.
The introduction of emptiness as a design concept is explained and introduced, along with amazing images. It offers a look into philosophical and visual elements of the underappreciated Japanese school of design. It’s available from Amazon and from its publisher.
By Nick Sousanis
This book, published by Harvard University Press, has gotten a lot of love. Drawn and written as a text entirely in comics, it was listed in PrintMags as one of its top 25 Best Design Books of 2015. There’s a reason it’s gotten so much attention — it turns old-school educational processes on their head by leveraging imagery to explain complex concepts. Sousanis used “visual thinking” to create a book that is graphic art about graphic art.
It works to weave a variety of visual experiences together from mythology, art, philosophy and comics, among other things, to reveal how perception is a process that requires engagement. The book explains how designers must always work to incorporate different vantages to successfully grab a reader’s attention. This works as both an academic work and a piece of graphic design art. Find it at Harvard’s University Press.
Read, Look and Learn
Knowledge comes in all forms, and as the national day of reading, you should incorporate visual learning into today’s schedule by spreading the love of these amazing design books. It’s much easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes and trials than it is to make them yourself — though that’s sure to happen, too.
Like any art form, there’s a world of insight waiting for you behind the pages of a book. Find one or two books on this list and cozy up. They can change your perspective and revive your creativity — if you believe in that sort of thing.