20 Graphic Design Books Recommended for Aspiring Graphic Designers

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by Graphicszoo 15+ days ago 5 mins read

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As a professional graphic designer, one always has to stay updated with the latest trends to ensure they offer unique designs to their clients/employer. 

And while, of course, social media is a great place to find inspiration for fresh designs, sometimes taking the traditional method also can prove to be helpful and unique. 

Yes! We are talking about the good ‘ol books. 

There are an abundance of brilliant graphic design books out there, most of them offering hard-earned insight, design inspiration, and even basic refreshers on the key principles and techniques of design that you may have learnt during your graduation. 

At GraphicsZoo, we have a huge team of professional designers who are experienced in their respective design skills. So, we decided to speak with our designers and understand which books would they recommend for budding designers to get motivation and inspiration for their projects. 

Here, in this article, we give you a finely curated list of 20 graphic design books that are highly recommended for aspiring graphic designers. 

  1. Designing Brand Identity; by Alina Wheeler 

Originally published in 2017, this best-selling guide to branding  include new and expanded coverage of social media cross channel synergy, crowdsourcing, SEO, experience branding, mobile devices, wayfinding and placemaking.


  1. Interaction of Color; by Josef Albers

Colors are one of the basic elements of graphic designing and play a key role in establishing the right kind of design.  This influential work by Albers on color theory demonstrates how to think outside the box of safe color palettes in an economical and impactful way and is equally beneficial for design teachers, students, or professionals.


  1. Grid Systems In Graphic Design; by Josef Müller-Brockmann

Initially published in 1999 and now in its 9th edition, this book is a classic guide to graphic design and layout technique, and a must-read for any modern-day student or working designer.


  1. Logo Modernism; by Jens Müller

When it comes to branding, a logo design is arguably the most important asset for the business. This informational piece of work by Jens Muller includes a variety of logos, organised into three chapters – geometric, effect and typographic – in order to both educate you as well as provide a comprehensive index of inspirational logo designs to inform your own work. 


  1. The Elements of Typographic Style (v4); by Robert Bringhurst

Written by acclaimed Canadian typographer, poet, and translator Robert Bringhurst, this book is a beautifully written manual combining practical, theoretical and historical information, while also sharing a deeper philosophy and understanding of the topic. If you’re looking for a book covering the finer points of type and typography, you’ll save a lot of money by starting with this one. 


  1. Why Fonts Matter; by Sarah Hyndman

Fonts are one of the most underrated design elements that can have a great impact on the outcome of a design. This book by Sarah Hyndman opens up the science and the art behind how fonts influence you and explains why certain fonts or styles evoke particular experiences and associations.


  1. Show Your Work!; by Austin Kleon

This influential book by the writer of New York Times best seller “Steal Like an Artist” is great resource for designers to understand the basics of audience engagement and brand building. 


  1. Signs and Symbols: Their Design and Meaning; by Adrian Frutiger

Full of theories on the roots visual symbols and how they've developed through the history of graphic design, the book is a must-read for any designer who wants to understand simple visual elements that we take for granted. 


  1. Type Matters!; by Jim Williams

Written by award-winning graphic designer Jim Williams, Type Matters is a great resource to understand the voice of typography in graphic design. 


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

If you are looking for simple yet useful tips to make a successful career in graphic design, then this book is your go to guide. With straight-talking advice on how to establish your design career, insights into the creative process and tips on running your own business, this excellent text covers everything you need to know about becoming a graphic designer.


  1. 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design; by Peter Fiell & Charlotte Fiell

Change is the only constant and that applies to professional graphic design too. Graphic design is a multiple centuries old concept and there have been several massive instances that happened during the course of time which changed the way professional graphic design works.  From the origins of modern design in the craft movements of the 19th and early 20th century and the changes brought about by mass production, the book traces the most essential ideas in design through the modern movement and post-war consumer society to more modern concepts.


  1. Designing News; by Francesco Franchi

This book creative director Francesco Franchi is a comprehensive layout of planning design for editorial and media. The book examines how the transformation of news and journalism in the digital age affects the way we should approach design in the media.


  1. Work for Money, Design for Love; by David Airey

If you are a freelance designer, or planning to run your own design project, then this inspirational book by David Airey is a great take-home guide. The book explains the mindset needed to be a designer and how to take that first step into being your own boss, along with other business basics.


  1. The Art of Looking Sideways; by Alan Fletcher

The founding member of the famous Pentagram, Alan Fletcher is inarguably one of the most revered graphic designers from his generation. This book by Fletcher is a great resource for budding designers to understand the details of design. It questions the way designers think about everything from color to composition. 


  1. Graphic Design: A User's Manual; by Adrian Shaughnessy

If you are looking to buy (or rent) a comprehensive guidebook on professional graphic designing, then you can definitely go for Graphic Design: A User’s Manual by Adrian Shaughnessy. In this book, you can find everything you need to know to survive and prosper in the complex, ever-shifting world of graphic design. Organised from A-Z, topics include annual reports, budgeting, kerning, presenting, dealing with rejection and more.


  1. Left to Right; by David Crowe

Good design is all about visual communication, and this book precisely is an explanation and study of communication technology through effective design. Dealing with the principles of written communication and its relationship to imagery, and rounded off with an examination of audience understanding, Left to Right is a valuable assessment of academic yet essential design theory. 


  1. Two-Dimensional Man; by Paul Sahre

Sometimes, it’s the experience of others that can provide a new light on the things we are finding answers for. Two-Dimensional Man by Paul Sahre is part monograph, part autobiography, part art book, and part reflection on creativity. He shares his 30 years of experience in the field of creative designing. 

  1. Designing Design; by Kenya Hara

Minimalism is often misunderstood for lack of creativity. However, it can prove to be a strong pillar for effective design communication. Designing Design is an ode to the power of simplicity in design which is inspired by Japanese philosophy and color theory. The book emphasizes the importance of emptiness and space in design.

  1. The Language of Things; by Deyan Sudjic

This book is another piece on defining the impact of communication but, instead, through physical designs and objects. For designers who are interested in how design relates to society, this is an engaging read.


  1. Keep Going; by Austin Kleon

If you are ever lacking creative motivation, simply go to your nearest library and find this inspirational book by Austin Kleon. The book provides practical advice on fundamentals of creativity, and may help you look at your situation or creative problem in a different light. It contains fun diagrams and drawings and provides a lighthearted yet considerate look at how to be creative.


To conclude…

So these were some of the highly recommended graphic design books that aspiring designers can lean on to whenever they are lacking motivation or looking to upgrade their basic design fundamentals. 

Enjoy reading