31 Unique Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read

Blogs, videos and tutorials are great; but if you really want to enhance your design knowledge and skills, you need to spend time with the greatest design minds and talents.  And the best way to do that is to read their books.  Great graphic design books are portals to authors’ minds.  They afford you the time to fully understand a great designer’s philosophy so you can glean real, practical insight you can employ in your own designs or use as inspiration for developing your own design philosophy.  If you want to be a better – no, great – graphic designer, then invest the time to read the following 31 books about graphic design.

1.  Imagine:  How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Learn how to tap into your creativity by understanding how creativity works in the first place.

Amazon.com Imagine How Creativity Works (9780547386072) Jonah Lehrer Books -_2012-06-28_10-21-28


2.  101 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D.

When you understand people, you can craft designs that move and motivate.

Amazon.com 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Ma_2012-06-28_10-42-33


3.  100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne

Revolutionary graphic design techniques you can use to spice up your own creations.

Amazon.com 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design (9781856697941) Steven Heller_2012-06-28_10-45-57


4.  Just My Type:  A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield

Stop scratching your head about the perfect font and know instinctively which will typefaces will be dynamic players in your designs.

Amazon.com Just My Type A Book About Fonts (9781592406524) Simon Garfield Bo_2012-06-28_10-48-38


5.  Megg’s History of Graphic Design by Philip Meggs and Alston Purvis

Learn where your profession came from so you can make your own history.

Amazon.com Meggs' History of Graphic Design (9780470168738) Philip B. Meggs, A_2012-06-28_10-50-29


6.  Creative Workshop:  80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills by David Sherwin

Put your design prowess to the mettle with these 80 skill-based challenges, and come out a better designer than ever before.

Amazon.com Creative Workshop 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills (9781_2012-06-28_10-52-47


7.  Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen

Explore how communicating visually has changed the landscape of information sharing and marketing, and learn techniques to help you get the most out of your designs.

Amazon.com Information Graphics (9783836528795) Sandra Rendgen - Google Chrome_2012-06-28_11-07-45


8.  The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great In Front of an Audience by Carmine Gallo

Study the master at great presentations to make your own more meaningful and get your ideas and designs noticed.

Amazon.com The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs How to Be Insanely Great in _2012-06-28_11-51-16


9.  Blown Covers:  New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant To See by Francoise Mouley

Inject a bit of humor into your day and get a behind-the-scenes look at the process of designing a cover for the New Yorker.

Amazon.com Blown Covers New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See (9781419_2012-06-28_11-56-00


10.  Graphic Artists’ Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines by Graphic Artists’ Guild

Where do you come in on pricing and ethics?  This book sets the benchmark.

Amazon.com Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines (G_2012-06-28_11-58-55


11.  Framed Ink:  Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Meteu-Mestre

You don’t have to be a comic book artist to employ the striking techniques revealed in this book.

Amazon.com Framed Ink Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers (9781933_2012-06-28_12-02-18


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

The renowned identity designer, blogger and author shares his secrets in this definitive book.

Amazon.com Logo Design Love A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities (97803_2012-06-28_12-04-48


13.  The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing:  How to Get Clients and What to Charge Them by Ilise Benum and Peleg Top

There’s more than one theory on how to set your fee schedule, but the real value of this book is insight into how to market your graphic design services.

Amazon.com The Designer's Guide To Marketing And Pricing How To Win Clients An_2012-06-28_12-06-33


14.  Just Design:  Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes by Christopher Simmons

How do you strategically implement design to motivate others to make a stand?  The author explores this idea in this book.

Amazon.com Just Design Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes (97816006_2012-06-28_12-08-40


15.  Packaging Essentials:  100 Design Principles for Creating Packages by Candace Ellicott and Sarah Roncarelli

If you want to make a profitable career from package design, you should start here to learn the ethos behind a great package that contains and sells.

Amazon.com Packaging Essentials 100 Design Principles for Creating Packages (9_2012-06-28_12-10-50


16.  344 Questions:  The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment by Flexibound

An illustrated guide full of questions to help you find the answers to creative and career fulfillment, with whimsical entries and contributions by celebrity artists, writers and musicians.

Amazon.com 344 Questions The Creative Person's Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight_2012-06-28_12-14-35


17.  The Internet is a Playground by David Thorne

You’ll need a wicked sense of humor to appreciate this volume from mega-popular David Thorne, who was behind the viral “Missing Missy” cat posters.

Amazon.com The Internet is a Playground Irreverent Correspondences of an Evil _2012-06-28_13-06-46


18.  An Illustrated Life:  Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory

Get a glimpse into the real-life pages of popular designers and artists, then compare your own scrawls to see if you have the makings of a design genius.

Amazon.com An Illustrated Life Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbook_2012-06-28_13-10-46


19.  Brainfluence:  100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Customers with Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley

Learn several strategies for motivating customers to do what you want them to do in this book that takes a look at the science of neuromarketing.  When your designs help your clients make money, you’ll make more money.

Amazon.com Brainfluence 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuro_2012-06-28_13-29-28


20.  Paper Folding Templates for Print Design by Trish Witkowski

Give your clients a unique presentation with incredible custom-folding solutions for visual impact.

Amazon.com Paper Folding Templates for Print Design Formats, Techniques and De_2012-06-28_13-32-12


21.  Advertising By Design by Robin Lamda

Discover new ways to employ design as a strategic advertising solution.

Amazon.com Advertising by Design Generating and Designing Creative Ideas Acros_2012-06-28_13-34-08


22.  Shedworking:  The Alternative Workplace Revolution by Alex Johnson

This book is for the stay-at-home freelance graphic designer.  Learn how to develop your own creative work space – anywhere!

Amazon.com Shedworking The Alternative Workplace Revolution (9780711230828) A_2012-06-28_13-35-57


23.  The Form Book:  Creating Forms for Printed and Online Use by Borisse Schwesinger

A lot of designers hate designing forms, but you can streamline the process, and make them easy to read and fill out when you follow the advice in this book.

Amazon.com The Form Book Creating Forms for Printed and Online Use (9780500515_2012-06-28_13-38-00


24.  The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher

Learn to take a different perspective of your environment, and discover hidden gems that will propel your graphic design efforts.

Amazon.com The Art of Looking Sideways (9780714834498) Alan Fletcher - Google _2012-06-28_13-46-27


25.  Understanding Comics:  The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Colorful comics aren’t just for books; after all MetLife has crafted a well-known brand identity with Snoopy.  Learn how comics are done in this book.

Amazon.com Understanding Comics The Invisible Art (9780060976255) Scott McClo_2012-06-28_13-48-17


26.  The Map as Art by Katharine Harmon

Cartography  might not be your thing, but the principles explored in this book can be applied to any type of data-driven design.  What is marketing, after all, other than getting people from here to there?

Amazon.com The Map as Art Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography (9781568987_2012-06-28_13-50-28


27.  Picture This:  How Pictures Work by Molly Bang

An excellent book that explains the story within the story of pictures (for example, why red seems hot and blue seems cold) so you can apply similar ideas to your own designs.

Amazon.com Picture This How Pictures Work (9781587170300) Molly Bang - Google_2012-06-28_13-53-14


28.  Color by Betty Edwards

Learn to master the art of mixing colors in your graphic designs.

Amazon.com Color by Betty Edwards A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colo_2012-06-28_13-55-33


29.  Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green by Michael Wilcox

This book is intended for painters, but it has plenty of value for graphic designers as it turns the established world of color theory on its head.

Amazon.com Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green (9780967962870) Michael Wilcox Bo_2012-06-28_13-56-47


30.  How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman

You want to be a great graphic designer, eh?  First you have to think like one!  This book tells you how.

Amazon.com How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer (9781581154962) Debbie M_2012-06-28_13-59-22


31.  Design Is A Job by Mike Monteiro

This book, purposely written to be brief and informative, helps you navigate the in’s and out’s of being a designer in today’s competitive workplace environment.

About the Author:

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. His previous roles included managing editor for a hometown newspaper and club bartender for a group of quasi-alcoholics. When he’s not writing, he’s usually counting lost follicles and wondering what he ever did with his time before his two children were born.


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