Noupe Editorial Team September 23rd, 2020

Graphic Design Books Every Designer Should Read in 2020

Graphic Design Books

Graphic design is an incredibly important field in our world. According to the US Labor of Statistics data, there are 281.500 graphic design jobs just in the USA. 

It’s a field in which just having talents is not enough. You have to constantly improve your skills, whether they are directly about graphic design or the business side of it. You need to keep up with the competition. 

The Internet is a great resource for improving your skillset, and showcasing your work. But, there are some things that you can’t just find in blog articles and forums. That’s where the graphic design books come into play. There are so many great books written by experienced designers, and we’ll try to go through a few of them in this article.

Without further ado, here are the graphic design books you should read if you are looking for a career in graphic design.

Graphic Design Books

How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy

If you are looking to have a career in this field, you definitely should read this amazing work that was published in 2005, but re-issued in 2012 by Adrian Shaughnessy. 

The book is not particularly focused on the technical or artistic aspect of graphic design, it’s more about the business side of it. Adrian Shaughnessy is a freelance graphic designer himself, and he shows the not so glamorous side of the field and shares his tips. 

If you are doing any kind of freelance creative work, this is a must-read. There are great insights from running your business to the creative process.

Thoughts on Design by Paul Rand

Thoughts on Design by Paul Rand
Image Source

Thoughts on Design is the grandfather of the design books. Originally an essay that was published in 1947, it became the book we know today in 1970. 

If you want to learn more about the cultural and historical context of the graphic design industry, this one is a great and light read. 

Make sure you check other books by Paul Rand as well, such as A Designer’s Art and Design, Form and Chaos.

Logo Modernism by Jens Müller

Published by TASCHEN, Logo Modernism by Jens Müller is an amazing resource for graphic designers. The book focuses on the most stylish and important logos created between 1940-1980. 

There are around 6,000 trademarks in the book, and the modernist attitude toward creating a corporate identity is closely examined. 

The book is divided into 3 chapters which are Geometric, Effect, and Typographic. And each chapter has subsections that go deeper into the form and style such as the alphabet, overlay, dots, and squares.

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

Josef Albert’s Interaction of Color is thoroughly used in art education. Albers explains the complex color theory principles, and it’s regarded to be the ‘last word’ on color theory.

Since it’s conceived as a handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students this highly influential book is easy to read and understand with great examples.

If you want to learn more about color and improve how you interact with it, this is a must-read.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann

Grid systems are essential for graphic designers as a tool for organizing layout and content. It’s the definitive word on using grid systems in graphic design. 

It’s a visual communication manual for graphic designers, 3D designers and typographers. The book is full of great conceptual examples, and also shows you why a certain grid choice would work better in a given situation. 

If you are looking to improve yourself in this field, grid systems are something you can’t just pass.

Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton

Thinking With Type is a great book for anyone who works with type. It’s especially useful for designers, covering all the angles from print to screen. 

The book starts off by explaining the theory in 3 categories, letter, text, and grid. After the theoretical introduction, the practical exercises you can put to use immediately follow up. There is also a section in which what you shouldn’t be doing is explained as well.

Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler

This best selling book by Alina Wheeler is everything you are looking for about designing in today’s day and age. Originally published in 2009, the book has been updated for the fifth time in 2017 to cover all of the new emerging technologies and practices.

The book covers expanded coverage of social media cross channel synergy, crowdsourcing, SEO, experience branding, mobile devices, wayfinding, and placemaking. The book consists of three sections on brand fundamentals, process basics, and case studies. These case studies include top brands from various industries around the world.

If you want to learn more about identity design and the process of branding, you definitely need to read this.

As a graphic designer, you constantly need to improve yourself. There are so many things you can learn from the iconic and famous illustrators to CG artists. And working towards mastering your craft is not enough, don’t forget to learn more about the business side of it.

Noupe Editorial Team

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