8 Best Graphic Design Books Every Designer Should Read

The web offers many advantages to learn new skills and improve your career, from video courses to blogs and new podcasts. But there's nothing like sitting down and reading a good book. Discover the 8 best graphic design books.
best graphic design books for designers

As much as we can research online, following video courses, reading blogs and listening to podcasts, we can still define the book as a very powerful source of knowledge and say that there is nothing like sitting down and reading a good book.

 

On the web we can find information on any topic but on a book we can be sure we don’t miss anything, because a well done book is set up so that we can get all the information we need for a given topic.

 

If you are looking for detailed and comprehensive information on any subject, such as Graphic Design, then you should invest in a book. These books cost much less than an online course and are gold mines full of values to pass on to you.

 

In this article I have collected the 15 best Graphic Design books  that every designer should read, a list updated to 2020.

Let's get started!

Table of Contents

1. How to 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 – Michael Bierut

best graphic design books michael beirut
Tonnit Design on Instagram

This is one of the books that a designer must absolutely have in his/her library. Michael Beirut is one of the greatest exponents of Graphic Design, protector of design legend Massimo Vignelli and partner of Pentagram’s New York office.

 

In this book on Graphic Design, Michael Beirut inserts his 35 projects to illustrate the breadth of activity that graphic design encompasses today, with the aim of demonstrating not a single ideology, but the enthusiastically eclectic approach that has distinguished his career.

“How to 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” – Michael Bierut. View at Amazon

2. Why Fonts Matter - Sarah Hyndman

best graphic design books why fonts matter
Photo by flossgibbs on Instagram

“Why fonts matter” is a book we selected for our list of “best graphic design books” because it represents the science and art behind the influence of fonts.

 

Each font has its own personality: they can convey trust, distrust, give you confidence, make you seem easier to do or make a product taste better.

 

A very interesting book to discover what are the personalities hidden behind each font and with which you can also discover your own personality.

 

This book is for all those who are interested in making an impact on words, who love words and how they influence us.

“Why Fonts Matter” – Sarah Hyndman. View at Amazon

3. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team - Alina Wheeler

best graphic design books designing brand identity
Photo by ulahlahbranding on Instagram

“Designing Brand Identity” is a fundamental resource in the field of Brand design at all levels: from project manager to graphic designer, everyone should have a copy of this book.

 

A book that contains a wide range of tools to bring a Brand to success, through strategy research, implementation and launch.

 

Among the various very interesting contents, you will find 3 main sections, which are made up of Brand fundamentals, process bases and case studies.

“Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team” – Alina Wheeler. View at Amazon

4. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered - Austin Kleon

best graphic design books show your work!
Photo by rociosotomayorg on Instagram

This is one of those books that inspires you and motivates you and pushes you to open your eyes from the New York Times bestseller Austin Kleon. 

 

Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It’s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking”. It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery. Let others into your process, then let them steal from you.

If you like this book, you’ll probably be pleased to know that Austin Kleon is the author of two other books to collect: “Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” and “Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad“.

“Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered” – Austin Kleon. View at Amazon

5. Grid Systems in Graphic Design - Josef Muller-Brockmann

best graphic design books grid systems
Photo by atelier_aubertin on Instagram

“Grid Systems in Graphic Design” is praiseworthy of a place in this “best graphic design books” list because it’s a book that especially helps you to significantly understand the use of grids in design, i.e. the rigid structure that helps designers in organizing information within a design.

 

Müller-Brockmann in this book contributes to the spread of this knowledge of grids all over the world. Thanks to the contents inside, you will have the opportunity to access a lot of information and exact directions for the use of all possible grid systems, both for print and web.

“Grid Systems in Graphic Design” – Josef Muller-Brockmann. View at Amazon

6. Branding: In Five and a Half Steps - Michael Johnson

best graphic design books michael jhonson
Photo by gleb_gomberg on Instagram

Michael Johnson is one of the world’s leading graphic designers and brand consultants. His studio, Johnson Banks, is responsible for rebranding many important clients, including Virgin Atlantic.

 

We have also included this book in our “Best Graphic Design books” list because it is one of the leading exponents when it comes to branding.

 

A real step-by-step guide for designers who are about to become experts in branding design and who want to improve their careers.

“Branding: In Five and a Half Steps” – Michael Johnson. View at Amazon

7. Just My Type - Simon Garfield

best graphic design books just my type
Photo by salometam on Instagram

Want to know the story of how Helvetica and Coming Sans typefaces conquered the world? Then this is definitely the right book for you!

 

“Just My Type” is not just a book about typefaces, but a book that tells stories. For example, you can find out, among the various stories, why Barack Obama chose the “Gotham” typeface for his election campaigns.

 

A book that I highly recommend to all those who have a passion for this niche of graphic design called “type design” and who want to expand their knowledge on this fantastic subject.

“Just My Type: A Book About Fonts” – Simon Garfield. View at Amazon

8. How to Be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul - Adrian Shaughnessy

best graphic design books Adrian Shaughnessy
Photo by timking.design on Instagram

“How to Be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul” is the last, but not in order of importance, of our “Best Graphic Design Books” list. This book has become a reliable resource for graphic designers around the world, combining practical advice with a philosophical guide to help young professionals embark on their careers.

 

If you want to improve your career as a designer, this is definitely a book to have in your library, because it can help you improve your professional skills, creative process and global trends and digital culture.

“How to Be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul” – Adrian Shaughnessy. View at Amazon

Conclusions

And here we are! We’ve reached the end of this exciting article on the 8 best graphic design books every designer should read. Now it’s your turn!

Choose the books you prefer or read them all, then test your skills and study as much as you can. Interact with us in social media and write us on our Instagram page if you want to get more insights!

If you are passionate about Graphic Design and want to learn more about this discipline, I strongly recommend you read one of our most in-depth articles, What is Graphic Design? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for Your Career.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alessio Marchetti

Alessio Marchetti

Founder of Desircle Co. I'm a passionate marketer and CrossFit addict. I founded this brand in 2016 to get out of the 9-5 job trap and started sharing what I learn on the way in this blog and through social media.
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