Top 10 books for Visual Designers / Graphic Designers

These are the 6 must-read books for anyone aspiring to be a Visual Designer or to get started with Graphic Design

1. Logo Design Love – David Airey


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In Logo Design Love, David shows you how to develop an iconic brand identity from start to finish, using client case studies from renowned designers. In the process, he reveals how designers create effective briefs, generate ideas, charge for their work, and collaborate with clients. David not only shares his personal experiences working on identity projects–including sketches and final results of his own successful designs–he also uses the work of many well-known designers such as Paula Scher, who designed the logos for Citi and Microsoft Windows, and Lindon Leader, creator of the current FedEx identity, as well as work from leading design studios, including Moving Brands, Pentagram, MetaDesign, Sagmeister & Walsh, and many more.
 
In Logo Design Love, you’ll learn:
  • Best practices for extending a logo into a complete brand identity system
  • Why one logo is more effective than another
  • How to create your own iconic designs
  • What sets some designers above the rest
  • 31 practical design tips for creating logos that last

 

2. Graphic Design: The New Basics – Ellen Lupton, Jennifer Cole Philips


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Our bestselling introduction to graphic design is now available in a revised and updated edition. In Graphic Design: The New Basics, bestselling author Ellen Lupton (Thinking with Type, Type on Screen) and design educator Jennifer Cole Phillips explain the key concepts of visual language that inform any work of design, from logo or letterhead to a complex website. Through visual demonstrations and concise commentary, students and professionals explore the formal elements of twodimensional design, such as point, line, plane, scale, hierarchy, layers, and transparency.

This revised edition replaces sixty-four pages of the original publication with new content, including new chapters on visualizing data, typography, modes of representation, and Gestalt principles, and adds sixteen pages of new student and professional work covering such topics as working with grids and designing with color.

3. Design As Art – Bruno Munari


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One of the last surviving members of the futurist generation, Bruno Munari’s Design as Art is an illustrated journey into the artistic possibilities of modern design translated by Patrick Creagh published as part of the ‘Penguin on Design’ series in Penguin Modern Classics. ‘The designer of today re-establishes the long-lost contact between art and the public, between living people and art as a living thing’ Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as ‘the new Leonardo’. Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible, and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use everyday. Lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children’s books, advertising, cars and chairs – these are just some of the subjects to which he turns his illuminating gaze. How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. Bruno Munari (1907-1998), born in Milan, was the enfant terrible of Italian art and design for most of the twentieth century, contributing to many fields of both visual (paint, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphics) and non-visual arts (literature, poetry). He was twice awarded the Compasso d’Oro design prize for excellence in his field. If you enjoyed Design as Art, you might like John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. ‘One of the most influential designers of the twentieth century … Munari has encouraged people to go beyond formal conventions and stereotypes by showing them how to widen their perceptual awareness’ International Herald Tribune


4. The Elements Of Graphic Design – Alex W White


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This very popular design book has been wholly revised and expanded to feature a new dimension of inspiring and counterintuitive ideas to thinking about graphic design relationships. The Elements of Graphic Design, Second Edition is now in full color in a larger, 8 x 10-inch trim size, and contains 40 percent more content and over 750 images to enhance and better clarify the concepts in this thought-provoking resource. The second edition also includes a new section on Web design; new discussions of modularity, framing, motion and time, rules of randomness, and numerous quotes supported by images and biographies.

This pioneering work provides designers, art directors, and students–regardless of experience–with a unique approach to successful design. Veteran designer and educator Alex. W. White has assembled a wealth of information and examples in his exploration of what makes visual design stunning and easy to read. Readers will discover White’s four elements of graphic design, including how to: define and reveal dominant images, words, and concepts; use scale, color, and position to guide the viewer through levels of importance; employ white space as a significant component of design and not merely as background; and use display and text type for maximum comprehension and value to the reader. Offering a new way to think about and use the four design elements, this book is certain to inspire better design.

5. Lessons In Typography – Jim Krause


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Get hands on with type in this lesson-based addition to Jim Krause’s popular new Creative Core series on design fundamentals. In Lessons in Typography, you’ll learn the basics of identifying, choosing, and using typefaces and immediately put that knowledge to work through a collection of exercises designed to deepen and expand your typographic skills.

After a crash course in type terminology, you’re encouraged to walk the talk with lessons and exercises on creating type-based logos, crafting personal emblems, choosing and using the right fonts for layouts, designing your own fonts, fine-tuning text like a professional, hand lettering, and more. Krause uses practical advice, humor, and page after page of visual examples to give you a complete education in designing with type that you can read in a matter of hours and continue to learn from over the course of your career.

In Lessons in Typography, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify and discuss fonts like a design professional
  • Choose and combine fonts effectively for use in your projects and layouts
  • Create monograms and logos using existing typefaces and custom-built letterforms
  • Modify fonts to meet your design’s specific needs
  • Space letters properly using tracking, kerning, and leading and create eye-pleasing layouts

Lessons in Typography is the third book in the New Riders Creative Core series, which provides instruction on the fundamental concepts and techniques that all designers must master to become skilled professionals. Additional titles in the series include Visual Design and Color for Designers.

6. The Art of Looking Sideways

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This book never ceases to amaze – what an unbelievable collection of information

The Art of Looking Sideways is a primer in visual intelligence, an exploration of the workings of the eye, the hand, the brain and the imagination. It is an inexhaustible mine of anecdotes, quotations, images, curious facts and useless information, oddities, serious science, jokes and memories, all concerned with the interplay between the verbal and the visual, and the limitless resources of the human mind. Loosely arranged in 72 chapters, all this material is presented in a wonderfully inventive series of pages that are themselves masterly demonstrations of the expressive use of type, space, color and imagery.

This book does not set out to teach lessons, but it is full of wisdom and insight collected from all over the world. Describing himself as a visual jackdaw, master designer Alan Fletcher has distilled a lifetime of experience and reflection into a brilliantly witty and inimitable exploration of such subjects as perception, color, pattern, proportion, paradox, illusion, language, alphabets, words, letters, ideas, creativity, culture, style, aesthetics and value.

The Art of Looking Sideways is the ultimate guide to visual awareness, a magical compilation that will entertain and inspire all those who enjoy the interplay between word and image, and who relish the odd and the unexpected.

 

Thinking with Type

Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of ornaments and captions, lining and non-lining numerals, the use of small caps and enlarged capitals, as well as information on captions, font licensing, mixing typefaces, and hand lettering. Throughout the book, visual examples show how to be inventive within systems of typographic form—what the rules are and how to break them. Thinking with Type is a type book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words.

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Color Design Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design

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Since colour is such an important part of graphic design, designers need the most up to date as well as the most fundamental, information on the subject to have the tools needed to use colour effectively. From the meanings behind colours to working with colour in presentations, this book provides readers with the vital information needed to apply colour creatively and effectively to their design work. Readers also receive guidance on talking with clients about colour and selling colour ideas. The science behind colour theory is also explained in easily understood language, and case studies are included to show the effects some colour choices had on both their clients and consumers’ behaviour.

Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Using Grids

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Adhering to certain layout and grids standards and principles is important for any job from brochures, to annual reports, to posters, to websites, to publications. However, knowing how to bend the rules and make certain grids work for the job at hand takes skill.

This book outlines and demonstrates basic layout/grid guidelines and rules through 100 entries including choosing a typeface, striving for rhythm and balance with type, combining typefaces, using special characters and kerning and legibility. These essentials of grid design are critical to the success of any job.

Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design

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Graphic Design, Referenced is a visual and informational guide to the most commonly referenced terms, historical moments, landmark projects, and influential practitioners in the field of graphic design. With more than 2,000 design projects illustrating more than 400 entries, it provides an intense overview of the varied elements that make up the graphic design profession through a unique set of chapters: “principles” defines the very basic foundation of what constitutes graphic design to establish the language, terms, and concepts that govern what we do and how we do it, covering layout, typography, and printing terms; “knowledge” explores the most influential sources through which we learn about graphic design from the educational institutions we attend to the magazines and books we read; “representatives” gathers the designers who over the years have proven the most prominent or have steered the course of graphic design in one way or another; and “practice” highlights some of the most iconic work produced that not only serve as examples of best practices, but also illustrate its potential lasting legacy. Graphic Design, Referenced serves as a comprehensive source of information and inspiration by documenting and chronicling the scope of contemporary graphic design, stemming from the middle of the twentieth century to today.

 

Hope these books help you get a head start in your career and preparation 🙂


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