10 Graphic Design Books to Read in 2021

by
Marques Coleman
10 Graphic Design Books to Read in 2021
The sphere of professional interests of a graphic designer is truly immense – the development of logos, banners, prints, catalogues, packaging, book covers, and much, much more. Moreover, knowledge of graphic design is required for web and interior designers, advertisers, architects, and game designers.

Whether you are a beginner or a professional in any of those fields, you can learn from accomplished authors that cared about sharing their notions, so that less experienced creators could pick up some tricks, get some knowledge about both basics and peculiarities under their belts.

We put together a list of 10 books that most designers find helpful and interesting. Read on to get started!

Best Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read

Of course, there are a hundred books that may inspire you, shape you into a better professional and help nurture and bring out your potential. However, there are only so many books one can read in their free time. Therefore, we listed our top pieces of literature that will leave you a better professional, once you absorb their wisdom.

Here are 10 books that will benefit any graphic designer:

100 More Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk


100 More Thing Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk


Drawing on the latest research in psychology and neurophysiology, Susan Weinschenk provides practical guidelines to help you create designs that meet all of your customer’s wildest dreams. 

In particular, you will learn:

  • How to increase the website, mobile applications, new product efficiency many times over.
  • How to make an attention-grabbing commercial.
  • What is the maximum amount of text on the screen that people are willing to read? 
  • What are some simple ways to increase the effectiveness of your content?
  • How can we make information easier to read with different fonts.
  • Where is the best place for a menu on a smartphone screen?
  • And many more!

Whether you are just starting your career or are a long-time professional, reading this book will help to create not just a beautiful design, but the one that’ll sell well and bring delight to you and your customers. It also teaches about handling textual content that creators often have to incorporate into their work. If content writing is something you find challenging, you should read more and see how people alternatively handle such tasks with minimum effort.

Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type by Kimberly Elam

Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type by Kimberly Elam


Achieving an effective composition that works is one of the fundamental principles when creating a design. This book is written by renowned graphic design, teacher, bestselling author Kimberly Elam. It provides the necessary insight into what grid-based design is and how to use it intelligently and appropriately to achieve the desired effect.

Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kristina Holden, and Jill Butler


Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kristina Holden, and Jill Butler

Whatever you create – a brochure, painting, video game, a new gadget – as a designer you are faced with similar tasks. Of course, you cannot be a professional in every field, but at the same time, one can't disagree that making outstanding design is impossible without having a certain set of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills. 

William Lidwell has collected an abundance of the practical information needed for any graphic creator. This book has become a bestseller in many countries, so now it's time for you to evaluate its merits for yourself. This book is easy to read, and it contains many specific examples and illustrations to make learning more effective.

Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works by Erik Spiekermann


Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works by Erik Spiekermann

First published in 1993, this book has been a guide to typography for many multiple generations of designers. This book is for those who want to learn more about fonts and understand the intricacies of typography. It is best suited for novice typography students – many experienced specialists speak to its value for beginners in typography. 

It enthuses about the usefulness and impact of fonts and proper layout, as well as how they influence consumers. The book contains a lot of visual content to help master its many lessons and see the practical use of principles it introduces – it showcases different fonts, explains which influence each of them may have, as well as what benefits to using them are.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey


Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey

It is always helpful to learn more about building a brand. This famous book contains countless examples, sketches, logos, tips for working with clients, and more practical information, so you could easily understand how you can do it right to make brand building easy. 

David Airey will guide you through the development of an iconic brand logo starting from the first basic ideas to their final implementation, using the experience of the most famous graphic creators. This book features A-Z information on how to generate ideas, bring them to life, as well as communicate with clients. 


The New Typography by Jan Teschichoid


The New Typography by Jan Teschichoid

This book about graphic design covers the typography’s evolution starting from the 1920s, as well as stories about modern typography, its problems that persist to this day. It will help budding graphic creators learn modern typography’s origins, layout, grid fundamentals. In this book, you will find answers to such inquiries: what a good design is, how one can define it, what qualities it possesses, etc.

Design, Form, and Chaos by Paul Rand

Design, Form, and Chaos by Paul Rand

This book contains the experience of one of the most successful logo makers of the 20th century Paul Rand, author of logos for IBM, ABC, NeXT. In it, he discusses issues that all graphic creators will face sooner or later in their careers. The book will help novice designers form a correct idea about the profession. Learning directly from such an accomplished professional will not only reveal important tips but also help you become more productive as well as inspired to further your own career. 

Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers and three dimensional designers by Josef Muller-Brockmann


Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers and three dimensional designers by Josef Muller-Brockmann

It is intended for novice graphic artists, typographers, exhibition designers. The author teaches us about proper layout, using grid systems in the design of books, periodicals, corporate printing, exhibition spaces using clear easy-to-follow examples. It is an excellent practical guide for beginners that features many tips from an accomplished professional. 

Readers point out useful visual examples provided in this book, its clear structure, and numerous helpful tips. However, it doesn’t simply provide advice – it also showcases how designer’s choices can affect consumers of his product. This book’s thoroughness and practical approach make it one of the top grid-related books for designers.

The Art of Color: The subjective experience and objective rationale of color by Johannes Itten


The Art of Color: The subjective experience and objective rationale of color by Johannes Itten

This book covers numerous aspects of color theory. It explores how consumers are unknowingly and unwillingly affected by designer’s color choices, how it can be used as an advantage. The Art of Color helps discover and develop a sense of color by providing various examples and illustrations as a visual aid in mastering color theory. 

It is used by ma1ny designers as well as painters, other artists who rely on color to reach their audience and convey certain messages or emotions. This book was republished several times, entered the educational programs of many art schools around the world, which speaks to its excellent practical value.

Graphic Style: From Victorian to Hipster by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast


Graphic Style: From Victorian to Hipster by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast

This is a book for those who want to get acquainted with the evolution of graphics. It is praised for its visual components – it features over 700 various images representing graphic styles of different time periods. Such a straightforward approach proved to be very helpful for art students and designers alike, especially those who only begin learning about graphic art. 

Graphic Style explores different movements in graphic design, how specific pieces were affected by them. The graphic style book will be interesting for everyone who does not like studying superficially but is interested in delving deep into design’s origins.


What We Learned

Reading books by acclaimed professionals is unlikely to miraculously make you into a great designer, but they are definitely necessary for acquiring basic notions, learning from your predecessor’s successes and mistakes, getting some clever tips and tricks that you would have taken years to discover on your own under your belt. 

Designer books won't give you detailed instructions on how to become a professional, but they will open up new perspectives, push the boundaries of your knowledge, which will clear the way for your professional growth!

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