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8 Best Graphic Design Books to Elevate Your Skills

Get ready to dive into the exciting world of graphic design and unlock your full creative potential with these amazing books!

Genta Berisha

Senior Graphic Designer

8 Best Graphic Design Books to Elevate Your Skills

As you progress in your graphic design journey, it’s important to explore specific areas of interest. We’ve handpicked the best graphic design books that can help you learn new techniques, get inspired, and take your creativity to new heights.

 

These books cover a wide range of topics, from the basic principles of design to mastering digital tools. They are filled with beautiful images, practical tips, and stories from real experts in the field. Whether you’re into eye-catching visuals or want to explore the history of design, these books have something for everyone. 

 

It’s worth researching and finding books that align with your specific interests to deepen your knowledge in those areas. Remember, reading is just one aspect of improving your graphic design skills, so make sure to complement it with hands-on practice and experimentation to truly improve your abilities.   So, get ready to dive into the exciting world of graphic design and unlock your full creative potential with these amazing books!

Why Are Books on Graphic Design Important?

While most graphic designers work digitally, there is no doubting the value of graphic design books. Books on graphic design are important for several reasons. 

 

First, they serve as a valuable source of knowledge and education. These books provide in-depth explanations of design principles, techniques, and concepts that can be challenging to learn only through online tutorials or trial and error. They offer a structured approach to learning, allowing readers to build a strong foundation of design knowledge.

 

Secondly, books on graphic design offer a diverse range of perspectives and insights from experienced professionals in the field. They often feature examples of successful designs, case studies, and practical tips that can inspire and inform aspiring designers. By studying these, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the industry and learn from their successes and failures. 

 

So, why learn from graphic design books when there are so many internet tools available? Graphic design and graphic art books provide referenced insights and knowledge in a tangible format. They may also help you keep up with the latest trends and get inspired. 

 

They show different styles, trends, and ways of designing. From there, we can see all the possibilities and find our own unique style. By exploring different books, we can learn new things, expand our creativity, and gain the confidence to try new ideas in our own designs.

How to Pick The Best Graphic Design Book?

With so many amazing possibilities, choosing the best books to learn graphic design can be tough. With that in mind, how do you choose the right book to read? Let’s have a look at some things to think about when searching for your next design book:

 

Author expertise – It’s natural to want to learn from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Look for books produced by graphic design professionals and specialists with a proven track record.

 

Relevance – Even if a design book is one of the greatest on the market, it is useless if it does not cover the subjects you need or are interested in. Look for books that cover topics you want to learn about, such as UI/UX, branding, typography, and more.

 

Difficulty – Pick a book that is appropriate for your skill level to prevent getting overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by what you read.

 

Design and visual aspects – A well-designed design book will be easier to read and use. It should ideally include case studies as well as pictures such as illustrations or design samples to help learners understand lessons easier.

 

Format – Once you’ve decided on a book, decide whether you want to read it in paperback, hardback, or e-book format.

 

One last thing that you could do is read reviews to see what other people think of a book. Reading reviews written by other designers might help you check the worth of a book more precisely.

The Best Graphic Design Books of 2023

1

The non-designer’s design book

“The Non-Designer’s Design Book” by Robin Williams is a highly recommended book for those interested in graphic design. Even if you’re just starting out and don’t consider yourself a “designer”, this is a great book.

 

 This book is written in a way that’s easy to understand, with clear explanations and examples that anyone can follow. It’s like having a friendly design teacher by your side, guiding you through the essentials.

 

In this book, Robin Williams introduces four fundamental design principles. These  four principles are:

  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Alignment, and 
  • Proximity.
 

She explains how these principles can be applied to create visually appealing designs, whether you’re working on a flier, a website, or a social media post. With simple language and visual examples, she breaks down complex concepts, making it accessible even for beginners.

 

One of the best parts about “The Non-Designer’s Design Book” is that it doesn’t just focus on theory. Williams includes plenty of real-life examples and exercises to practice what you’ve learned. She also provides practical tips and tricks that can instantly improve your designs. By the end of the book, you’ll have a solid foundation in design principles and the confidence to create visually stunning projects.

 

Overall, “The Non-Designer’s Design Book” is a must-read for anyone interested in graphic design. It’s a beginner-friendly resource that will help you understand the basics of design and elevate your skills. Whether you’re designing for personal projects or aspiring to become a professional designer, this book is a valuable tool that will enhance your design abilities and make your creations more visually appealing.

2

Grid systems in graphic design

A visual communication Manual for graphic designers, typographers, and three dimensional designers

 

This is a highly regarded book that explores the importance and practical applications of grid systems in graphic design. Written for graphic designers, typographers, and three-dimensional designers, this book serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding and implementing grid systems effectively.

 

Müller-Brockmann emphasizes the role of grid systems in creating visually harmonious designs. Grids provide a framework for organizing and structuring elements on a page. It ensures consistency and clarity. This book introduces different types of grids. Grids such as the modular grid and the hierarchical grid, and explains how to use them to achieve balanced and professional layouts.

 

One of the strengths of “Grid Systems in Graphic Design” is its visual approach. The book is filled with many examples and visual explanations, allowing readers to see firsthand how grids can transform a design. Through illustrations, diagrams, and case studies, Müller-Brockmann demonstrates the versatility and adaptability of grids in various design contexts.

 

Whether you’re working on print materials, websites, or even three-dimensional designs, this book provides valuable insights and practical guidance. It goes into topics such as typography, image placement, and composition, illustrating how grids can improve the visual communication of a design. By following the principles outlined in the book, designers can achieve professional and visually pleasing results.

 

With its visual examples and clear explanations, this book equips designers with the knowledge and skills to create harmonious and effective designs using grids.

3

Thinking with type

A critical guide to designers, writers, editors & students

 

“Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors & Students” by Ellen Lupton is an informative and accessible book that explores the world of typography. Aimed at designers, writers, editors, and students, this book offers valuable insights into the art and science of working with type.

Typography is the art of arranging and designing text in a visually pleasing and effective manner. It introduces the basic principles of typography, such as font selection, spacing, and alignment. It explains how these choices can impact the readability and overall aesthetic of written communication. Whether that is in print or on digital platforms.

The book is filled with many visual examples that help illustrate the concepts being discussed. Lupton showcases different typefaces and their characteristics, allowing readers to see how different fonts can convey different moods or messages. She also covers topics like hierarchy, legibility, and the importance of understanding the historical and cultural context of type.

Throughout the book, the author encourages readers to think critically about the choices they make when working with type. She highlights the power of typography in conveying meaning and evoking emotions. By understanding the principles and techniques discussed in the book, readers can create more impactful and appealing designs with their written content.

In summary, this book provides a clear and engaging introduction to the world of typography. It covers the basic principles and explores the creative possibilities of type. With its visual examples and relatable explanations, this book will help students develop a deeper appreciation for the art of typography and enhance their design skills.

4

How to use graphic design to sell things

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 an exciting and insightful book that explores the powerful impact of graphic design. Written in a fun and accessible way, this book shows how graphic design can do so much more than just create pretty pictures.

 

The book explains how graphic design can be used to sell products and services. It shows how cleverly designed advertisements and packaging can grab our attention and make us want to buy things. It also highlights how graphic design can help explain complex ideas or information by using visuals and clear layouts. Thus making it easier for people to understand.

 

Additionally, the book explores how graphic design can make things look better. It talks about how colors, fonts, and layouts can be carefully chosen to create visually appealing designs that catch our eye and make a positive impression. Moreover, it discusses how graphic design can evoke emotions, whether through humor or heartfelt visuals, making people laugh or even shed a tear.

 

The book also emphasizes how graphic design has the power to change the world. It showcases examples of how design can be used for social causes, activism, and creating awareness. How graphic design has the ability to inspire change and make a difference in society.

 

Overall, this is an engaging book that shows the wide-ranging impact of graphic design. It shows how design can be used for commercial purposes, effective communication, visual appeal, emotional connection, and even social transformation. So, if you’re curious about the power of graphic design and its many possibilities, this book is a great choice to explore and expand your understanding.

5

How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul

This is a fantastic book that offers valuable guidance for aspiring graphic designers who want to maintain their creativity and integrity in the industry. Written in an easy-to-understand manner, this book explores how to explore the world of graphic design while staying true to yourself.

 

The book emphasizes the importance of finding your own unique voice as a designer. It encourages you to embrace your individuality and personal style, rather than conforming to trends or imitating others. By staying true to your artistic vision, you can create designs that reflect your personality and make a meaningful impact.

 

Another key aspect of the book is the exploration of ethics in graphic design. It raises important questions about the responsibilities of designers and the impact their work can have on society. It encourages designers to consider the ethical implications of their choices and to use their skills to contribute positively to the world.

 

The book also delves into the balance between creativity and commercialism. It teaches you how to keep your artistic integrity while working within client limits and meeting business goals. It offers strategies for negotiating contracts, managing client relationships, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

 

Real-life examples and stories from experienced designers provide inspiration and practical advice. These examples show the difficulties and achievements of navigating the graphic design market while remaining true to oneself.

 

Finally, this is a must-read for young graphic designers who want to make an impact while maintaining their artistic integrity. This book serves as a compass to guide you on a path that allows you to express your creativity and create meaningful designs that resonate with others.

6

Interaction of color

“Interaction of Color” is a renowned book by Josef Albers that explores the fascinating world of color and its interactions. This book presents an interactive and engaging approach to understanding color theory.

 

The book encourages readers to experiment with color through many exercises and visual examples. Albers explains how colors can change depending on their surrounding context. It shows how perception and optical illusions play a role in our experience of color. Readers can learn about the nature of color perception firsthand by participating in hands-on activities and observations.

 

Through clear explanations and vivid illustrations, the book dives into the principles of color harmony, contrast, and the effects of color combinations. Albers takes readers on a journey through different color phenomena. He demonstrates how colors can be manipulated to create different effects and moods in design.

 

What sets “Interaction of Color” apart is its emphasis on the interaction of colors rather than a focus on color theory in isolation. The book explores the dynamic relationships between colors and how they influence each other when placed together. By understanding these interactions, readers can create more impactful and visually appealing designs.

 

Overall, it is an interactive and captivating book that unlocks the secrets of color. Whether you’re a beginner or have some knowledge of color theory, this book will expand your understanding and appreciation of the fascinating world of color.

7

Creative workshop

80 challenges to sharpen your design skills

 

“Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills” is an inspiring and practical book that offers a wide range of creative challenges to help you enhance your design skills. With its easy-to-understand format, this book is perfect for 9th graders looking to strengthen their design abilities and foster their creativity.

 

The book presents 80 engaging design exercises that cover various aspects of graphic design, including typography, layout, branding, illustration, and more. Each challenge is designed to push your creative boundaries and encourage you to think outside the box. The clear instructions and accompanying visuals make it easy to follow along and complete the exercises.

 

“Creative Workshop” emphasizes hands-on practice and experimentation. It encourages you to explore different design techniques, materials, and approaches. Through these challenges, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your problem-solving skills and find innovative solutions to design problems.

 

What sets this book apart is its focus on the process of design rather than just the final outcome. It encourages you to embrace the journey of exploration and discovery, understanding that creativity is a continuous process of learning and growth.

 

By engaging with the challenges in “Creative Workshop,” you’ll not only sharpen your design skills but also gain confidence in your abilities. The book provides a platform for you to experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them. It promotes a growth mindset and nurtures your artistic development.

 

In conclusion, “Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills” is a valuable resource for 9th graders seeking to elevate their design abilities. Through its hands-on approach, clear instructions, and focus on the creative process, this book will spark your imagination, enhance your problem-solving skills, and push you to think creatively in all aspects of design. So, grab a pencil, dive into the challenges, and unleash your creative potential.

8

Don’t make me think, revisited, a common sense approach to web usability

This is an essential book that offers practical insights into creating user-friendly and intuitive websites. Written by Steve Krug, this book provides an easy-to-understand guide to web usability.

 

The book emphasizes the importance of designing websites that are easy to navigate and understand. Krug explains that users should be able to find what they need quickly without having to think too hard. He provides practical tips and real-life examples to illustrate how to create websites that are intuitive, clear, and efficient.

 

Krug introduces the concept of “user testing” and highlights its significance in the design process. He explains how observing and gathering feedback from users can uncover potential usability issues and help refine the design. By emphasizing the user’s perspective and understanding their needs, designers can create websites that offer a smooth and enjoyable browsing experience.

 

Throughout the book, Krug emphasizes the power of simplicity in web design. He encourages designers to remove unnecessary clutter and streamline the user interface. By making key information easily accessible and reducing cognitive load, websites can become more user-friendly and engaging.

 

Krug also addresses the growing importance of mobile usability and responsive design. He provides practical advice on how to optimize websites for different screen sizes and devices. Thus ensuring a consistent and enjoyable experience across platforms.

 

In summary, “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited” is a must-read for anyone involved in web design. It offers tips for creating user-friendly websites that focus on simplicity and efficiency. By applying the principles outlined in this book, designers can create websites that are intuitive, accessible, and enjoyable for users of all backgrounds and abilities.

Final Thoughts

Graphic design is all around us nowadays. Nowadays, it’s difficult to find anything mass-produced that doesn’t have some form of graphic design. And if you want to be one of the many professionals who create designs for a living, gaining the necessary skills is important.

 

These books provide a structured approach to learning about design. Remember, reading alone is not enough; it’s essential to complement your reading with practical application and experimentation to improve your graphic design skills. So grab a book, embark on your design adventure, and let your creativity rise to new heights.

 
 

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