The 16 Graphic Design Books that Influenced Me

As a graphic designer, I've read a lot of books, but these sixteen stand out as the most influential for me early on in my career.

The 16 Graphic Design Books that Influenced Me

As a graphic designer, I've read a lot of books, but these sixteen stand out as the most influential for me early on in my career.

Thanks to these publications, I was able to gain a better understanding of the importance of graphic design as well as enhance my abilities.

The first book is How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy—This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the business side of the design industry. Straight talking advice on how to establish yourself as an independent designer, who has their projects while running your business with success, is something this book can help provide for you!

How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul by Adrain Shaughnessy

Graphic Design: A User's Manual (also written by Adrian Shaughnessy)—This book provides a guide to working as a graphic designer and an examination of current practice. It is a valuable resource for those looking into the field, insiders who want a better understanding of their profession from different perspectives or professionals trying not only to improve themselves but other designers around them too.

Graphic Design: A User's Manual by Adrian Shaughnessy

David Airey's book Work for Money, Design for Love—In this book, he shares valuable insight into what it takes to become a successful freelance designer. It's not an easy task to plan for the growth of your business. There are pitfalls and red flags to be aware of, but there are also best practices to follow! You can learn more about how an online presence can help boost profits while also providing passive income streams so that you don't have to worry about work or finances while you're on holiday.

Work For Money, Design For Love by David Airey

Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro—This book will teach you how to become great at your profession. It's also invaluable if you want a better understanding between both sides: From contracts and designing for clients to working with other designers in this industry, it has something that can help everyone!

Design Is A Job by Mike Monteiro

A curator of contemporary design at the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum, Ellen Lupton, has written the following two books: It was Thinking with Type that first caught my eye. This book was one of the first that piqued my interest in type, and I've always found it fascinating. This is a great book for those who want an introduction to typography that is easy to grasp. A good resource for graphic designers, this book begins with the history of typography, all the way through to where we are today.

Ellen is an author who enjoys what she does and inspires lots of people to learn more about life and design. She brings her type to life and spreads it around the world. Type is her passion and she shares this excitement with us.

Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton

The second Ellen Lupton book, Graphic Design: The New Basics, was a great help. When it comes to learning more about design, it can be overwhelming. A good place to begin is with this book. It covers a wide range of topics, from grid systems to typography to colour theory, as a foundation for graphic design.

Graphic Design The New Basics by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips

Likewise, Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style is a fantastic book. This book is a comprehensive guide to typography and its application in design. It not only provides a concise introduction to the history and traditions of typography, but it also serves as an excellent desktop reference book.

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Just My Type by Simon Garfield —This is an excellent resource for any designer (especially if you're interested in typefaces). If you've ever wondered why certain fonts are used more often than others or how they can be combined to create different looks and feelings, this is the book for you.

Just My Type by Simon Garfield

You cannot go wrong with having Willi Kunz's book, Typography: Macro-and Micro-Aesthetics, in your library. Micro-aesthetic qualities and applications of letters and numbers as well as lines and geometric elements are covered in this book. It is a very good resource for designers who are looking for inspiration and direction. If you want to learn more about typography or improve your typographic skills, I highly recommend this book.

Typography: Macro- + Micro-Aesthetics by Willi Kunz

An excellent source of inspiration is John Ingledew's The A-Z of Visual Ideas. This book is brimming with ideas and visual techniques that have been used throughout the history of design. Risking something and stepping outside my comfort zone made me see things in a new light.

The A–Z of Visual Ideas by John Ingledew

The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher—This is a large, hardcover book with over 1,000 pages. It encourages us to look beyond the ordinary and see things from a variety of angles, giving our work a fresh new perspective. This uplifting book is a colourful and humorous kaleidoscope. As a reader or designer, you'll be challenged in new ways, from typography to colour to imagery to layout and everything in between. A must-have for any creative.

The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher

Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann is another excellent resource for those who want to learn more about how grid systems can be used in graphic design. When it comes to giving your work structure and shape, the ability of a designer to use grids effectively is essential.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann

Know Your Onion’s by Drew de Soto—This book contains a lot of very practical advice that will help you broaden your horizons. He shares his knowledge and personal experiences in the field of design to help others. This book can benefit anyone who wants to learn more about the various approaches to design, regardless of prior design experience or interest.

Know Your Onions by Drew de Soto

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon is an excellent resource for budding and resurrecting creatives alike. Allow others to benefit from your work by freely disclosing it. All of us started somewhere, and we can all learn from each other as we go along. Finally, you'll get more credit from those who value it and your work as a result of this.

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

Finally, I would recommend Alex White’s Elements of Graphic Design and Kimberly Elam's Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition to anyone interested in improving their graphic design skills and learning more about how and why effective designs work.

I'm sure there are graphic design books not listed here that have inspired me in some way or another, but I hope this list has provided you with some inspiration to make your own. If not, at least it's given you a starting point for where to start looking! Let me know what you think by commenting below.