In this article we will go over the Top 5 Graphic Design books that you can read and learn from. These books have helped me a lot throughout my entire design career.
I enjoy reading as much as I enjoy designing, that’s why I try every once in a while to complete my library with new additions so I keep up with my insane thirst for knowledge. I very much enjoy autobiographical and of course design books. I figured I’d put up a small list of books that have helped throughout my design career and had a serious impact on the way I deal with design, challenges and the lack of inspiration.
05 — Logo Design Love by David Airey,
If you’ve been in the graphic design industry for the past 6-5 years like I am, you’ve probably heard about this book, writen by David Airey who is an amazing graphic designer from the UK, he is also behind one of the most readed design blogs in the entire Industry — www.davidairey.com
The book is definitely a must have in any designer’s library and it has a ton of useful info. For example one of the things that was stuck in my mind, is the concept of Mind Mapping, which basically consists of writing a central word that is very close to the design brief and then branch out from it, by writing other words that you are associating with the centered one.
This process will help you a lot in defining ideas in the next phase — Sketching.
I definitely recommend this book along with another one from David Airey “Work for Money, Design for Love”
04 — Designing with Type (5-th edition) by James Craig and Irene Korol Scala
Typography in my opinion is the most crucial and essential part of a graphic designer’s job. Almost everything in graphic design revolves around type.
I remember like it was yesterday, when the Art Director from a company I worked at said “Mihai, web design is 70% working with text” and he couldn’t be more right about it. If you want to make your design look slick and flawless, my advice is to master the art of type by learning as much as you can about fonts, how are they built, how to pair them and most importantly — how to modify them.
In this book the authors begin with the origins of the alphabet, by defining the terms and measurements that will later on, form the foundation of the reader’s typographic vocabulary. They also discuss about the Five Classic Typefaces that represent a distinct stage in the evolution of type design, Garamond, Baskerville, Bodoni, Century Expanded and Helvetica.
In the end they summarize everything by providing a long list of typographic terms that every designer should be aware of, terms such as: Ascender — The part of the lowercase letter that rises above the body, as in b, d, f, h, k, l and t.
I strongly recommend getting a copy of this book, even if it’s a used one, I can almost assure you it will be an eye opener and you will most probably find something useful there.
03 — American Trademarks Designs
A great collection of timeless logos, marks and symbols from the 1970’s by Barbara Baer Capitman, which is widely representative of major past and current trends in American trademark design. The marks from the book are arranged in categories that include entertainment, education, real estate to heavy industry.
For me the book was not only a great form of inspiration, shape and graphic wise, but also a great guide in improving my sketching skills. I used pencil and transparent paper also known as viewfoil or tracing paper, to trace logos so I can learn how they we’re drawn. This a very effective method to enhance your drawing skills, because if you do it over and over again your brain and hands seem to store on a subconcious level the moves you have done repeatedly while practicing.
I do recommend this book as an inspiration model, along with one of the greatest books out there regarding logo design — Logo Modernism “The Mother of all Logo Books” by Jens Muller, R. Roger Remington.
02 — Pretty Much Everything by Aaron James Draplin
I first found out about Aaron Draplin from Youtube by watching a trailer to one of his classes from Skillshare. I was immediately struck by how genuine this person is and how natural his behavior was. I then watched eberything there was on Youtube related to his activity as a designer, spent hours on his website, just admiring his work and sometimes I have to admit it, he was a great source of inspiration for me. I very much liked his signature style made out of very thick lines and bold typograpphy, it’s definetely instantly recognizable and very memorable.
In 2016 I remember him announcing that he’s planing on launching his book, about his life journey as a designer and not only, and I said “This. Will. Be. Awesome” and it was.
I still remember the day I went to the post office to grab my book and I was so thrilled, I immediately started reading it and loved every line of it.
I love this book for a dozens of reasons but mostly because it tells a story in a very captivating manner about a humble man and his humble beginnings. I like how he describes his bond with his father and how terribly he felt when he passed away.
I bought this book with the goal in mind to gain some more knowledge in graphic design, and I certainly did, but I ended loving it not for it’s bold and juicy logos, but for the story telling part and his adventures. Heck, I even bought myself 3 Field Notes sketchbooks that I used to lay down my ideas.
I do recommend this book as a must have in your designer library, definetely worth every single dollar, I will re-read it again soon for sure.
01 — How to by Michael Bierut
Save the best for the last, at least that’s what they say, and I did. I did save it, because it’s the most meaningful awesome design book I’ve ever read with some great pieces of advice. It is pretty heavy and it costed me $50 USD on Amazon,
not cheap, but definetely worth it.
The book begins by telling Michael’s story about how he always knew he wanted to be a graphic designer from a relatively small age. His journey began when he saw with his dad a logo on a forklift truck, this struck him as amazing, quote
“Oh my God! How long has this been happening? Is this everywhere?
What’s going on?”
He was amazed by the cleverness of the typographic mark, and decided that this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life, and he did, for 40 years and counting. He also worked for 10 years with legendary designer Massimo Vignelli, author of famous logos such as: American Airlines, Ford, Ducati and NY Subway Map.
This book was a real inspiration to me, and it made me realize how wrong was I about designing Identity Systems, it pushed me to create the ZI Logo & Identity Design and post it on Behance, where it had a pretty good engagement.
Thanks for reading and I would like to know, what is your favourite design book? Comment bellow via the Facebook plugin.