Learning graphic design is a lifelong process, so graphic design students don’t worry: you’ll have plenty of time becoming an expert in your field. This said, I know that when you are getting started you are really eager to learn more quicker, that’s why I’m suggesting a selection of design books that are in my opinion worth reading for graphic design students, but also for others.
1. Making and breaking the grid
Some graphic designers are crazy about using grids in their designs, others depise it because they feel it makes all layouts look the same (or at least they think so). Even if you are one of those grid-haters, you should know what is a grid and how to use it. You can learn just that in this book.
2. The Elements of Graphic Design
A good book for beginners, learn some basics of graphic design as well as parts of the history. In this book you’ll learn some key concepts of space, unity, page architecture, and typography. Get it on Amazon.
3. Designing Brand Identity
Branding is much more than just logo design, it even goes beyond graphic design. This book is a real guide to become better at understanding what branding is and creating powerful brands. Get it on Amazon.
4. Paul Rand: a designer’s art
Learn directly from one of the iconic graphic designers of the twentisest century: Paul Rand. Here he describes his work with the same precision, economy and passion that he displays in his graphic designs, seeking to help us to understand the nature of his relationships with his clients, his audience and his art. Get it from Amazon
5. Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles
Typography is one of the important basics of graphic design, and this book is one of the must-have if you plan to do a design career. It covers some typography history with works of masters of typography. Get it from Amazon.
6. Thinking with type
Another great book about typography. It is a more practical approach to using typography in your designs, with many examples and theories about typography. Get it on Amazon.
7. Stationery design now
An excellent book to get tons of inspiration. In it wou will see good examples of how stationery design should be done. Get it on Amazon
8. Package Design Workbook: The Art and Science of Successful Packaging
If you are interested by the multi-dimensional side of graphic design, then packaging is what you need to learn. Get started with this great book. Get it on Amazon
9. How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul
Perhaps one of the most important design books for graphic design students, it teaches you everything you need to know about making a design career, and you won’t learn that in school. Get it on Amazon.
10. The Art of Color
Probably the best book ever written about color. Learn about the physics of color, how to mix it, color effects, color impression, and so much more… Get it from Amazon
What design books should we add to this list?
There are so many good design books that even if we wanted to make an exhaustive list it would be impossible. However, we would be happy if you told us in the comments what major books we missed in this list and we’ll add them to the post.
Recommended design books by our readers
Vonnie Maddox recommends a mostly two excellent books: Grid Systems by Joseph Müller-Brockmann and The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. If you want more, take a look at her Wish list.
Fabiana recommends the Pantone Guide to Communicating With Color.
Ephraim Schum recommends 3 business oriented books: Talent Is Not Enough: Business Secrets For Designers by Shel Perkins, AIGA Professional Practices in Graphic Design by Shel Perkins and The Business Side of Creativity by Cameron Foote.