11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Friday 7 October 2011 | Keith J. Hamilton

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Graphic Design Books 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Graphic design is a lifelong learning process, not something you can learn by heart in a couple of months. All designers, whether professionals or newbie, are students who learn something new every day –  from their own experience or that of others.

One of the best ways to learn is by reading. This is why I decided to compile a list of 11 of my favorite graphic design books. I believe these books are an asset and all designers should read them. Ready? Get set, smarten up! icon wink 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

1. Don’t Make Me Think

1 dont make me think 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Steve Krug

Category: Web site Design, Usability

What’s it about? This conversational book actually makes you think about the simplest things we tend to ignore when creating design. Most of us are so wrapped up in the design process that we over look some of the very basic elements that could make or break a website. Steve Krug provides examples of usability testing of a website. He also mentions the hit and miss instances that most of us end up ignoring. Don’t Make Me Think makes for a good read with lots of information with a bit of humor thrown in.

2. Layout Workbook

2 layout workbook 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Kristin Cullen

Category: Graphic Design, Theory

What’s it about? A well rounded book for graphic design students and professionals alike, Layout Workbook provides an abundance of information.  The topics covered range from project briefs to client interaction to grids, typography and conceptualization. For those seeking inspiration, Kristin Cullen has included a broad range of categories elaborating what it takes to create an exceptional design in this book. However for those who may think this book is literally a workbook, you will be a little disappointed. Layout Workbook is not an ‘exercise’ book but an excellent presentation of design information.

3. Unlimited Freelancer

3 the unlimited freelancer 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Mason Hipp, James Chartrand

Category: Freelancing, Business, Tips

What’s it about? Easy to understand and to the point, Unlimited Freelancer is an eBook that is genuinely helpful for freelancers that want to make it big. If you are a freelancer with the potential to grow and want to make lots of money creating amazing things, this book is your practical guide to the right freelancing path. Unlimited Freelancer book offers strategies and understanding of the freelancing business that will help you to save money and deliver high quality work.

4. 1000 Graphic  Elements: Details for Distinctive Designs

4 1000 graphic elements 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Wilson Harvey

Category: Marketing Collateral, Inspiration

What’s it about? This book will inspire you in a thousand ways! Exploring various graphic design categories, 1000 Graphic Elements explores artistic pieces. This book also shows how the simple design elements can give any product and whole new look.

5. Dos Logos

5 dos logos 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Editors: Nicholas Bourquin, Robert Klanten

Category: Logo Design, Trends

What’s it about? A treasure chest of contemporary logos and graphic designs, Dos Logos is a great resource that contains category based classifications for logo trends. This books contains logos ranging from the 60s hippie era to the disco style of 70s and continues through the techno 90s. Dos Logos is frequently purchased with Los Logos and Tres Logos.

6. Graphic Designer’s Guide to Clients: How to Make Clients Happy and Do Great Work

6 graphic designers guide to clients 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Editors: Ellen M. Shapiro, Allworth Press

Category: Graphic Design, Business

What’s it about? Helping designers understand what clients want and providing examples from personal experience, Ellen Shapiro’s book offers techniques of keeping clients for novice and experienced designers. However, for those of you seeking guidance and hoping to find practical ways to deal with client related issues – prepared to be a little disappointed! The book contains interviews and derives from personal experience of designers with big names.

7. Breaking into Graphic Design: Tips from the Pros on Finding the Right Position for You

7 breaking into graphic design 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Michael Jefferson

Category: Graphic Design, Inspiration

What’s it about? If you want to know everything there is to know about stepping into the real world as a graphic designer – you MUST read this book! Whether you are a new graphic design graduate or a freelance designer, this book will answer all your questions! Breaking into Graphic Design contains information regarding cover letters, interviews, job related questions etc. I had a great time reading this book and Michael Jefferson’s style is humorous. You will not be bored for even a second.

8. Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design

8 design literacy 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Steven Heller

Category: Graphic Design, Trends, Theory

What’s it about? Insightful is how this book can be best described! This is not your every day comprehensive history course. Steven Heller has compiled a thoughtful list of case studies providing an interesting perspective on the usage of design, originality and trends.

9. The New Big Book of Logos

9 big book of logos 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Editor: David E. Carter

Category: Logo Design, Inspiration

What’s it about? By offering a collection of hundreds of logo designs from international designers, this book inspires you to create. The New Big Book of Logos contains over 25,000 logos, it is colorful and a very valuable book; it is a delight to designers everywhere.

10. Legal Guide  for the Visual Artist

10 legal guide for visual artist 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Tad Crawford

Category: Visual Arts, Theory, Usability

What’s it about? Legal Guide for the Visual Artist covers legal information aimed for the visual arts. Whether you take photographs, draw, sculpt or design, Tad Crawford has covered the legal information you need in this book. Legal Guide for the Visual Artist comes in handy if you are looking for info regarding legal issues that happen to artists including copyrights, insurance, tax income, ownership and more. There are even legal forms for quick reference.

11. The Savvy Designer’s Guide To Success: Ideas and Tactics for a Killer Career

11 savvy designers guide to success 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read

Author: Jeff Fisher

Category: Graphic Design, Freelance, Tips

What’s it about? The witty and bluntly honest style of Jeff Fisher grabs your attention right away. He brings you to understand the foundation of your career, education, communication and professional presentation. The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success is a highly recommended book for graphic designers, students and new professionals alike. It offers a fun mix of anecdotes and extensive research which will be helpful in taking your career to the next level.

Well, this is it from my side for today. Have you read a great book that you would like us to add to our library? Do tell us so we can add it to our reading list.

Until next time – Happy Reading! icon smile 11 Books All Graphic Designers Should Read


    Thank you very much for this list, my only comment is to be careful when buying books like “dos logos” or “the big book” this kind of books can take you to RE-create instead of creating original ideas, this is a common mistake designers do. Read all of the other ones about design, and use the “dos logos” as a way of recognize the great work of others but not as inspiration.

    my two cents Ü


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    Amit Kumar

    i am amit kumar.i am interest in your books.

    Amit Kumar


    Your books are clear and understandable

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