35 Best Graphic Design Books in 2020

35 Best Graphic Design Books in 2020

From inspirational ideas to useful designing tricks, these graphic design books are an indispensable item for any professional. If you’re learning something new, need to refresh your skills or just want to receive esthetic pleasure, here is a list of all popular books in any sphere of design.

35 Must-Have Graphic Design Books

The list below contains top graphic design books about creating logos and branding things, interesting facts about design theory and history, famous designers, and inspirational ideas.

1. Designing Brand Identity

Author: Alina Wheeler
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: October 16, 2017

The most comprehensive work explains the fundamentals of brand, the creative process, and examines the real cases. With such thorough definitions, a solitary specialist or a team of professionals will become capable of swiftly and successfully going through the five-stage process of developing and implementing an entire brand.

2. Logo Modernism Book

Author: Jens Muller
Print Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: September 3, 2019

One of the most useful books for designers of logos contains a minute analysis of the modern tendencies and solutions that shape contemporary corporate identity. The three sections dissect geometric, effect, and typographic types of logos, combining educational and inspirational content that will guide and support your work.

3. The Elements of Typographic Style

Author: Robert Bringhurst
Print Length: 382 pages
Publication Date: January 15, 2013

A manual that preserved its value due to a masterful compilation of the practical, academic, and historical material on the subject. If you want to fully master the subjects of type and typography, there isn’t a better option to begin with.

4. Just My Type Design

Author: Simon Garfield
Print Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: September 4, 2012

The study of typefaces is a substantial part of any designer’s workday. With this graphic design book, you can follow the intricate history of this element and learn the numerous powers it holds. The book will make sure you know how to use this tiny but mighty tool for the most striking effect.

5. Graphic Design: A History (Third Edition)

Author: Stephen K Eskilson
Print Length: 472 pages
Publication Date: March 18, 2019

The book that grows in significance with every edition must be perused by every student of the discipline. The latest version received 500 new images, extensive study of the latest trends, and a more nuanced introduction. Having this volume will help you with both knowledge and impression since keeping it on your desk will be regarded as a token of professionalism.

6. Left to Right Design

Author: David Crowe
Print Length: 192 pages
Publication Date: October 11, 2006

Academic theory is important in any subject but it is how you understand it that matters largely. This is one of the best graphic design books to explain the correlation of scriptory communication and imagery together with audience comprehension.

7. Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far

Author: Stefan Sagmeister
Print Length: 296 pages
Publication Date: October 22, 2013

One of the most important works in the industry, which features 21 phrases to set you thinking. Those revelations have been turned into artful pieces of design, so that the implementation is more interesting than the idea. This new edition features the experiences of a 20-year long career and is a worthy piece of literature for any aspiring specialist.

8. 100 Best Typefaces Ever

Author: Various
Print Length: 176 pages
Publication Date: May 16, 2014

A widely-used digital font typically consists of over five hundred symbols. If you intend to be a typographer, this would be the best graphic design book.

Examine the most successful designs as well as the background of each, get rich with notions and ideas, and proceed with the first attempts in your software that enables any designer to create typefaces.

9. Thinking With Type Book

Author: Ellen Lupton
Print Length: 224 pages
Publication Date: October 6, 2010

Here is a work that collects all the relevant knowledge on typography, both printed and digital. You can study any section of this discipline: visual communication, reduced against enlarged capitals, lining and non-lining digits, font ornaments, and anything else. It even contains practical guidance on licensing, combining typefaces, and creating handwritten lettering.

10. Branding: In Five and a Half Steps

Author: Michael Johnson
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: November 15, 2016

One of the best graphic design books for professionals helping new companies to create their identity. The work is broken into five sections: analysis, strategy and narrative, design, performance, engagement.

This is an indispensable work for any student or first-timer but many professionals also keep it around. Using a step-through routine helps to organize the work and make sure the best results are achieved in identifying a new brand.

11. Why Fonts Matter Book

Author: Sarah Hyndman
Print Length: 144 pages
Publication Date: May 1, 2016

It is important to know how to design a font but it is even more so to understand the influence of various nuances of typefaces on the target audience.

This work explains the impact of fonts on the decisions of readers and their progress through the text, plus even their ability to alter the perception of taste. After reading this, you will know everything about causing the right influence on your audience.

12. How to Do Great Work Without Being an Asshole

Author: Paul Woods
Print Length: 144 pages
Publication Date: March 12, 2019

This could be classified as easy reading but it is also helpful by letting you understand the creative industry and the way it functions better. Few books touch on subjects mentioned here, mainly pitching, giving feedback, navigating agency life, etc. If you are after relevant advice from a successful colleague, here it is.

13. How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

Author: Adrian Shaughnessy
Print Length: 176 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2010

One of the best books for graphic designers containing career advice for ordinary staff members, freelancers, and those setting up their own business. If you need some practical information on how to plan your day, communicate with clients, or some other insightful elements, look into this intelligent work.

14. A Designer's Art Book

Author: Paul Rand
Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: November 15, 2016

To know the nitty-gritty details of this sphere of activity, you should read the following book. It will enlighten you on the importance and impact that graphic design obtained in the contemporary world, plus explain why certain things work and others don’t.

15. Graphic Design: A User's Manual

Author: Adrian Shaughnessy
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: October 21, 2009

An even more important work looks into the very mechanism of this industry, helping you stay afloat in its complex and metamorphous world. The unappealing but crucial things like recurring reports, financial planning, accepting rejection will be sorted out for you, which makes it is impossible to ignore the material.

16. The Little Know-It-All

Author: Robert Klanton
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: October 21, 2009

Many professionals will name this among the best graphic design books that you will keep coming back to. From the artistic chapters about the light, color, and perspective to the more business-like sections on law and marketing, it will make you feel prepared for any task ahead and remain your most valued investment in a piece of knowledge.

17. Grid Systems in Graphic Design

Author: Josef Mulller-Brockmann
Print Length: 176 pages
Publication Date: October 1, 1996

For those working with grid systems, there is hardly a better source of knowledge available. Whether you’re a beginning typographer or a knowledgeable 3D designer, the conceptual work deserves your attention. Students absolutely need this book, but even practicing specialists would benefit from it.

18. Interaction of Color Book

Author: Josef Albers
Print Length: 208 pages
Publication Date: June 28, 2013

Not directly on the subject, this work is still important as the most extensive one on color theory and it touches upon a variety of subjects. The basic things like color relativity, intensity, and temperature are explained alongside the more in-depth color interaction notions like vibrating and vanishing boundaries, the illusion of sheerness and many more.

19. The Graphic Language of Neville Brody

Author: Jon Wozencroft
Print Length: 160 pages
Publication Date: May 15, 1989

Being the oldest listed edition, this is also one of the best design books of all time. On its pages, some glorified works of Neville Brody are explained and commented on. That features a part in the direction of The Face magazine, whose art was defining the genre.

20. The Art of Hand-Lettering: Techniques for Mastery and Practice

Author: Helm Wotzkow
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: March 21, 2018

The hand-lettering techniques described in this book start from the simplest and go toward rather complex works. The book is supplemented with numerous suggestions and tips produced by the author’s personal experience, giving assistance even to professionals.

21. Oh, Sh*t... What Now?: Honest Advice for New Graphic Designers

Author: Craig Oldham
Print Length: 128 pages
Publication Date: April 3, 2018

To learn what to expect and how to succeed in this sphere, students should read this entertaining, and insightful book. Here, you will get first-hand experience, useful advice and criticism, even creative ideas. Topics such as creating portfolios, doing your work as a self-employed or a team-member, learning new skills and becoming a better professional, are laid out in a straightforward, joking, and sometimes even frivolous way, so appealing to the youth.

22. Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines

Author: Graphic Artist’s Guild
Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: September 30, 2013

This graphic design handbook touches on a topic that’s not largely covered but is exceptionally important for those, who create and those, who order such works. This is a guide on all sorts of business, ethical, and legal issues that arise in the marketplace and require careful consideration.

23. Show Your Work! Book

Author: Austin Kleon
Print Length: 224 pages
Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Social media are an important element of the modern world and many businesses develop their own strategies in finding and keeping their audience interested. This book considers beginning, carrying out, and finishing a project successfully. In addition, it helps to sort out the process of posting, processing feedback, and moving on with new projects.

24. 50 Best Logos Ever Design

Author: Various
Print Length: 176 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2010

This book is a digest of 50 most successful logo designs ever, put together by the prominent leaders of the sphere. The work provides knowledge of the clockwork of creating worldwide recognition for a trademark and allows you to enjoy the genius and beauty of each design.

25. Work for Money, Design for Love

Author: David Airey
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: November 22, 2012

For all the professionals who are about to launch on an independent career, this is one of the most helpful books for graphic designers. It covers all the crucial components of turning a designer into a businessman, starting from the proper mindset and tactics, proceeding toward the first steps and the basics of conducting business.

26. The Art of Looking Sideways

Author: Alan Fletcher
Print Length: 1064 pages
Publication Date: August 20, 2001

This involving book is concentrated at investigating the designers’ perception of color, composition, and other elements of their work. It is a worthy contribution to a specialist’s education that helps train the portions of the mind that are at work with games and puns. The insightful information is the result of the author’s own discoveries.

27. Ways of Seeing Design

Author: John Berger
Print Length: 176 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 1990

An interesting point is discussed in this book. Since graphic designers create things for other people to see, the very mechanism of seeing becomes highly relevant. Having become a bestseller, this book, based on a BBC documentary, takes a very deep look into how people perceive art.

28. Two-Dimensional Man

Author: Paul Sahre
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: September 19, 2017

One of the best graphic design books, which appeared thanks to the constant attempts of the author to build a successful career. Consisting largely of his reflections on the past experiences and the art in general, it bears some scientific studies, too, but the silver lining is meant to show how important humor is through the twists and turns of such a career.

29. Book of Ideas Volume 2

Author: Radim Malinic
Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: September 7, 2018

It is apparent even from this list that many works have been written on the subject but the author of this book made it a point to write about things uncommon to the subject but still relevant and his career suggested many such topics.

30. Keep Going Book

Author: Austin Kleon
Print Length: 224 pages
Publication Date: April 2, 2019

Any creative specialist has ever faced the type of day when nothing works. When you’re lost, stuck, or down, one of the ten techniques from this book is sure to help you overcome this condition and remain productive. The amusing diagrams and drawings, combined with the cheerful tone and helpful suggestions, make it the most useful everyday book.

31. The Graphic Design Idea Book

Author: Steven Heller and Gail Anderson
Print Length: 128 pages
Publication Date: May 10, 2016

This would be one of the best books on graphic design to dwell upon the seminal works in the industry. It can be insightful with all the analysis of techniques or it could simply provide inspiration with all the beautiful use of color, illusions, ornaments, and other interesting elements that make or break a design.

32. Illustration Play Book

Author: Gingko Press
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: December 3, 2007

Being a true representation of the industry, this book has a great cover that features a unique combination of stickers placed manually. It represents the idea uncovered within, the explorative approach of the professionals discussed in the text.

33. Super Graphic Book

Author: Tim Leong
Print Length: 196 pages
Publication Date: July 16, 2013

Another inspirational work outside the theory of design asks queer questions about popular works like Batman or The Walking Dead. The infographics that contain answers are the way to inspire you to something new, something any designer occasionally experiences the need for.

34. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Author: Austin Kleon
Print Length: 160 pages
Publication Date: February 28, 2012

One of the most inspiring digital design books, which bears a counter-intuitive message that nothing is original. The author’s point of view is that collecting influences and reimagining existing works is the way to be creative. You are encouraged to follow your train of thoughts wherever it takes you and let the experiences of life shape your work. The ten transformative principles described here are to assist in this journey.

35. 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design

Author: Steven Heller, Veronique Vienne
Print Length: 216 pages
Publication Date: January 22, 2019

The industry has existed long enough to have its own history of twists and turns provoked by the most innovative minds of their period. In this book, you will have a chance to examine and collect inspiration from the most provocative works of graphic design the last century produced.


Ann Young

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