The Seven Best Graphic Design Books to Inspire Your Work

January 31, 2014

The Seven Best Graphic Design Books to Inspire Your WorkIf you are planning on making a career in graphic design or are already working as a professional, it is important to keep in touch with what the experts are saying. This will help to inspire and inform your work, and let you keep up with industry best practice. Here are seven of the best graphic design books that will help you become a better design professional.

1. Kevin Budelmann, Yang Kim and Curt Wozniak have written “Brand Identity Essentials (100 Principles for Designing Logos and Building Brands)”. The importance of good logo design cannot be underestimated, and the authors talk through their ideas and principles here. It’s the fourth book in the Essentials series, and is particularly useful because it goes into detail on guidelines, strategies and best practice for designers.

2. “Talent Is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers” by Shel Perkins is a must-have for all budding graphic designers. Having a keen business sense is now an important skill to have because there is such competition in the marketplace. This book goes through the ways to turn your artistic skills and talents into a tangible and successful business.

3. “Designing with Type: The Essential Guide to Typography” (Fifth Edition) by James Craig, William Bevington and Irene Korol Scala is now out in paperback. This is one of the best graphic design books for students and has now been completely updated with better imagery. There is also an accompanying website that includes the latest information on typography.

4. “How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul”. There can often be a conflict between design integrity and commercial requirements from clients, but this book, written by Adrian Shaughnessy, talks through how you can achieve great results for clients without diluting design principles. This handbook is a one-stop-shop with straight-talking language. It covers the end-to-end process including design principles, the creative process, global trends and the rise of digital culture.

5. “Design Forward: Creative Strategy and Sustainable Change” by Hartmut Esslinger is simply a great book. Internationally known Esslinger had a long career with design agency frog, and has worked as a consultant with some of the biggest brands in the world, most notably Apple, where he worked directly with Steve Jobs. This book is a follow up to his first book, “A Fine Line – How Design Strategies are Shaping the Future of Business”. It details some key case studies on how the definition of design has evolved to take in the merging of the environment, economy and technology.

6. “Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design” by iconic designer Chip Kidd was released in 2013, and is particularly interesting because it talks about how graphic design impacts all our daily lives. While Kidd has designed it ostensibly for children, the book is a brilliant read for adults. He describes graphic design as “problem-solving and sometimes making something really cool in the process!”

7. “Graphic Texts,” designed by Shin Donghyeok, is a little more esoteric. This book is a collection of the first twenty issues of South Korea’s Graphic Magazine. The magazine has a cult following and it has become a collector’s item. A beautifully produced book, it includes some rare ideas and approaches to graphic design.

These books will give your graphic design skills a boost conceptually and will be a source of professional inspiration. They cover the spectrum from the latest developments in typography, color theory, web design, layout and the business principles of graphic design, which are increasingly essential.

Photo credit: Flickr.