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10 Must-Read Graphic Design Books You Should Own in 2024!

Graphic Design Books

Are you a graphic designer, or do you want to begin your career in the design domain? We have prepared a list of 10 Best Graphic Design Books that are recommended as “Must-Read” by designers across the world! These books will help you in boosting your design knowledge and skills with trending approaches and ideas in the graphic design industry. 

The design industry is rapidly transforming, and you can see the rise of new professional roles each day! The new roles have some specialist areas in design. As you already know the difference between UI design and UX design, it is very essential to remember that expert professionals not only have one great skill, but they specialize in multiple designing skills. So, if you are a web design expert or a graphic design guru, stepping into different designing areas outside of your own area can make you an all-rounder in this highly demanding landscape and enhance your chances of grabbing the attention of top employers. 

So, we have curated an essential reading list of the 10 Best Graphic Design Books to offer you fresh inspiration and creative ways of thinking.

Table of Contents

The Best Graphic Design Books

Ready to explore the enchanting world of graphic design? Considered a continuously changing field with the latest trends and techniques, graphic design is filled with innovation and creativity. Books are viewed as the most important and irreplaceable resources that offer the experience of designing experts. If you are a beginner wanting to start your career or a seasoned designer looking for a career upgrade, these ten must-read graphic design books are the essential ones for you!

Start reading today!

1. Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming

Graphic Design Thinking-Beyond Brainstorming book

Start your reading with the masterpiece ‘Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming’

by Ellen Laptop, as this book will offer you an idea of the experiences and knowledge she gathered during her designing days. The conversations she had with some of the design industry experts have also been highlighted in this book to offer you the essence of graphic design experiences. This one, among other graphic design books, is specially designed for students, working professionals, and graphic design enthusiasts who want to use original patterns for daily creative challenges in the design world. 

The topics included in this book are:

  • Three major design processes are essential for creative techniques: definition of the problem, ideas invention, and form creation. 
  • From unorganized approaches that are ideal for organic, on-the-spot processes of thinking to planned methods for conducting research.
  • Gain the knowledge and skills essential to address challenges through brand mapping, co-design, focus groups, and interviewing. 

The discussions with design industry leaders include experiences of professional graphic designers such as Christoph Niemann, Jessica Helfand, Art Chantry, Paula Scher, Abbott Miller, Martin Venezk, and more to offer you insights into overcoming the challenges of making original and creative designs.

2. Creative Confidence

Creative Confidence book

The latest edition of Creative Confidence is written by the founders David Kelley and Tom Kelley of the award-winning firm IDEO. This book offers you an outlook on how creativity stays within every aspect of us. In the past, creativity was only viewed as part of the creative domain, but now, this idea has been questioned by the above-mentioned expert writers. David Kelley and Tom Kelley highlight the fact that creativity is an essential part of everyone’s life! This fact makes this classic book unique among other graphic design books available in the market. 

The eight creative chapters of this book include:

  • From design thinking to creative confidence
  • From fear to courage
  • From blank page to insight 
  • From planning to action
  • From duty to passion
  • Creatively confident groups 
  • Creative confidence to go
  • Embrace creative confidence 

If you want to become an expert professional in the graphic design industry, this book by David Kelley and Tom Kelley offers the concepts that will guide you in becoming a creative professional from a beginner! This book will guide you through your design journey by becoming more creative and productive in professional areas as well as in your lives. 

3. Grid Systems in Graphic Design

Grid-Systems book

If you are a beginner in graphic design and want to learn more about this growing field, you must consider this masterpiece, ‘Grid Systems in Graphic Design’, by Josef Mulller-Brockmann. The beginner-friendly approach this book offers, with lots of design examples, helps you in shaping your design career. The grid examples mentioned in this book are considered USPs, which makes this unique among other graphic design books available offline and online. This book is a must-read for print designers as it offers an introduction to different layouts, margins, fonts, text sizes, and more!

The contents of this book include topics such as 

  • Usage of Grids in everyday life and 3D environments.
  • Significance of Grid systems and how this can be aesthetically pleasing as well.
  • Typography, UI design, design systems. 
  • Rules for using grid systems.

This book will offer you a whole new idea of the basic design principles of some things. This book covers almost all the tricks and tips of grid systems, making it a most basic cheat sheet for designers.

4. The Designer's Dictionary of Color

The Designer’s Dictionary of Color book

The novices in graphic design will find this book a game-changer in the rapidly evolving graphic design field. The in-depth ideas of 30 colors, which are major in graphic design, have been highlighted in this book by Sean Adams. Each chapter discusses the creative and rich history of colors and their cultural associations, along with examples. 

The major topics covered in this book by Sean Adams include:

  • Color theory demonstrates the principles of color theory, such as color harmony, wheel, and psychological impacts of different colors.
  • Color pigment and mixing highlight the importance of mixing colors in creating new hues and the interaction between different pigments.
  • The role of color in marketing and branding discusses its role in converting the messages, brand identity, and values to impact the behavior of clients.
  • Color psychology highlights the importance of colors in influencing the attitude, thought process, and emotions of the audiences and how designers can interact with them. 

The color theory covered in this book will enhance the knowledge of a junior graphic designer who wants to upskill his career.

5. How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul book

This book by Adrian Shaughnessy delivers the most insightful and fresh ideas in the graphic design field. This one, among other graphic design books, acts as a guiding light for graphic design experts to achieve success in the challenging field of design. The practical examples and advice offered in this book highlight Shaughnessy’s personal experiences, making this one a guide in print form. 

Some of the major topics and key themes highlighted in this book are:

  • Balancing commercialism and creativity offers the idea of how designers manage their creativity while catering to customer expectations and business goals. 
  • The chapter Ethics and Responsibility highlights the importance of respecting the rights of intellectual property, integrity, accountability, the impact of designs on the environment, and avoiding duplication.
  • The chapter on professional development discusses continuous education, networking, portfolio development, and self-promotion, and it offers practical guidance on how designers can boost their professional careers.
  • Current challenges, opportunities, and trends of the design industry.
  • Significance of branding and identity for graphic designers.
  • Importance of client relationships and networking in graphic designing. 

This book provides in-depth guidance on managing the issues and opportunities of the rapidly evolving graphic design domain while staying original to one’s goals and values.

6. Logo Modernism

Logo Modernism book

Logo Modernism by writers Jens Muller & R. Roger Remington is an influential work in the domain of graphic design, delivering the most important examples and motivations for graphic designers driving the demanding landscape of advanced logo design. This specific book will offer you the ways in which you can generate original designs in more creative ways.

 Jens Muller & R. Roger Remington added the chapters which add:

  • Concepts of how logo designs evolve over the period and the development of modern logos.
  • Principles of Modern Logo Designs include fundamental concepts such as grid-based layouts, simplicity, and geometry. 
  • Various case studies of popular logos with discussion on their importance, design methods, and lasting strategy. 
  • The significance of culture and its impact on modern logos in shaping brand recognition, identity, and communication. 
  • It highlights the portfolios of famous designers who played a significant role in transforming logo designs, like Massimo Vignelli, Paul Rand, and more!

The most updated edition of this book covers topics like the evolution of logo designs in a very easy and understanding manner. This book serves as a great resource for those who want to know the history of logos and its evolution over the past years to enhance their logo-designing skills.

7. Typographic Systems of Design

Typographic Systems of Design book

Another must-read among the ten graphic design books is Typographic Systems of Design by Kimberly Elam, which is a game-changer. The writer has discussed the various frameworks of typographic systems, highlighting eight major variations in this best-selling book. This book offers insights into various typographic approaches and their application in graphic design practice.

Kimberly Elam has added eight different major structural frameworks in this book, and they are:

  • Axial System 
  • Radial System
  • Dilatational System
  • Random System
  • Grid System
  • Transitional System
  • Modular system
  • Bilateral system

This book contains a chapter that is particularly dedicated to grid systems and their applicability to graphic designs. The topics mentioned in this book offer a detailed overview of typographic concepts and systematic processes, providing graphic designers with motivation and expertise for their own innovative design works.

8. Steal Like An Artist

Steal Like An Artist book

The great work by Austin Kleon, ‘Steal Like An Artist’, is a beginner’s handbook for those who are searching for innovative and creative ideas. This book supports the concept of combining the ideas of different designers with the original ideas to generate creative ones. Austin Kleon has tried hard to convey the message that creativity is not meant to be always original but highlights the motivation and development of something based upon prior knowledge. 

The life-transforming principles highlighted in this “Steal Like An Artist” book add: 

  • Introduction to Steam like an artist.
  • Don’t wait until you know exactly where and when to start.
  • Write a book in a way you want to read to engage audiences.
  • Utilize your hands.
  • Put emphasis on hobbies and side projects.
  • Emphasizing the secret to conducting good work and sharing it with others.
  • Be the nicest one as the world is very small.
  • Be the boring one, as this is the only way to get your project done.

This book has become the New York Times best-seller among other graphic design books due to its originality and creativity in this virtual era.

9. Know Your Onions

Know Your Onions book

The book Know Your Onions by Drew de Sotoservesg is a design mentor who helps you generate ideas and unique concepts and implement them in a different way to keep your audience engaged. The examples discussed in this book offer you the opportunity to get an idea of the design field, which a normal designer with years of training has. The straightforward approach and practical-world insights mentioned in this book make it a popular choice among other major must-reads of graphic design books

The necessary strategies and techniques of graphic design included in this book are:

  • Working
  • Designing
  • The principles of typography
  • The principles of spacing with type
  • The principles of punctuation
  • Knowledge of colour
  • Knowledge of reprographics
  • Knowledge of print
  • Knowledge of paper
  • Essential kit for the professional

This masterpiece by Drew de Soto is very useful and detailed for graphic designers, and it is the best one for experienced designers rather than beginners. This book is not highly expensive, and you can also get this great deal through online platforms.

10. Thinking with Type

Thinking with Type

This book by Ellen Lupton is the ultimate guide to using different kinds of typography in making visually appealing designs. The beautifully and clearly illustrated examples of various typographies convey the ways to implement different concepts strategically. 

The different typography topics discussed in this book are: 

  • It is all about letters, their size, families, logotypes, bitmap fonts, and more!
  • Grid systems, single-column grids, modular grids, data tables, and grid exercises.
  • All about texts such as tracking, alignment, hierarchy, paragraph exercise, and text exercise.

This rich content by Ellen Lupton offers insightful knowledge on selecting the correct type of letters, grids, and texts for the right project.

Wrapping up,

There are other popular graphic design books available on the market, but we have prepared this list of 10 must-reads. We have carefully picked these graphic design books to solve the queries of a junior designer and an expert designing professional. We are highly confident that the books mentioned above in this blog post will help you become an expert in the design industry. Happy reading!

Did you enjoy our recommendations on graphic design books? Let us know through comments!

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