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15+ Best Graphic Design Books in 2024

15+ Best Graphic Design Books in 2024

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Our daily routines have long included graphic design. A successful company today can only be imagined with a unique face created by designers. These individuals are experts in their field, so they know what will set you apart.

The demand for these experts has remained strong over time. From 2021 to 2031, it is only anticipated to increase by 3% annually. Because of this, if you’ve ever wanted to try, the moment is now.

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In this article, we’ve compiled a selection of the best books for graphic designers. There is a lot of specialized literature on the market, but we have selected the most interesting ones. Whether you’re starting or have been in the industry for years, there are a variety of books you can refer.

Many of these don’t make it to other best graphic design book compilations, but we deem they’re still worthy of your attention. That’s why feel free to check them out and study graphic design to your heart’s content!

For our other resources on graphic design, check out our articles on the best free graphic design courseskey graphic design statistics and the best branding and logo books.

15 Best Graphic Design Books in 2024

It’s a matter of keeping up with the trends and ensuring you have the skills to stay ahead of the competition. That’s why we have a list of books you can reference to improve as a graphic designer.

  1. Grid Systems in Graphic Design
  2. Design is a Job
  3. A New Program for Graphic Design
  4. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
  5. Thinkertoys
  6. Steal Like an Artist
  7. The New Typography; A Handbook for Modern Designers
  8. Sketchnote Handbook, The: the illustrated guide to visual note taking
  9. Typographie: A Manual for Design
  10. The Art of Color
  11. Interaction of Color
  12. The Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing 
  13. Graphic Design: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded version 
  14. Thinking With Type 2nd Ed: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students 
  15. How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

Best Books for Graphic Designers 2024

1. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann

Grid systems in graphic design - Best Book for Graphic Designers
Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann. Image Credits: Amazon

 


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Grid Systems in Graphic Design is a foundational book for graphic artists.

Regarding organizing layout and material, grid systems are crucial for graphic designers. You’ll learn about this idea a lot in graphic design, among many others. Balance, contrast, resolution, and baseline are some of the terms you can expect to encounter.

You’ll need a strong foundation as you enter this creative profession. As the saying goes, every old expert had to go through the fundamentals. This book serves as a manual for typographers and graphic artists.

This book offers a comprehensive understanding of why a specific grid option excels in certain contexts.In our opinion, this book is a crucial resource for developing your skills in this field.

 

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Grid Systems in Graphic Design : A Visual Communication Manual for Graphic Designers, Typographers...
  • Josef Muller-Brockmann (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Niggli Verlag (Publisher)

 

2. Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro

Design is a job - Best Graphic Design Books
Design is a job by Mike Monteiro. Image Credits: Amazon

 

Design is a Job that discusses how to operate a design company. You’ll learn techniques for interacting with clients and coworkers and giving talks. More than that, we discovered some wonderful wisdom and humor suitable for any graphic artist.

Mastering the art of customer communication allows you to uncover valuable insights into their expectations and requirements.

The book’s tone was informal and lighthearted, making it simple for anyone to read. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just starting, you can benefit from the pearls of knowledge we uncovered. It discusses the sector’s commercial aspect and graphic designer’s artistic side.

 

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3. A New Program for Graphic Design by David Reinfurt

A New Program for Graphic Design - Best Graphic Design Books
A New Program for Graphic Design by David Reinfurt. Image Credits: Amazon

Any sector of the art world would point out how crucial the classics and past are to any artist. Graphic designers also share this idea because history is a good example and a source of motivation. It offers new artists a variety of tried-and-true artistic techniques.

We observed that this book combines the practical and the experimental as we read it. It builds on mid to late-twentieth-century educational strategies. And it uses those to share complex concepts of contemporary design comprehensively.

Also, it references design history from someone aware of how politics affects art. Some may disagree, but politics traditionally bleed into artistic creations. Whether knowingly or unconsciously, it still occurs due to their environment.

This graphic design book includes historical examples of practical tasks that you can work on. The writing is founded on the three liberal arts courses from Princeton University. Those three are well-known as Typography, Gestalt, and Interface.

 

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A New Program for Graphic Design
  • Reinfurt, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 255 Pages - 09/17/2019 (Publication Date) - Inventory Press/D.A.P. (Publisher)

 

4. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

Show your work
Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. Austin Kleon. Image Credits: Amazon

As artists, we are aware that lack of confidence is a problem that many people in the creative sectors face. Artists who are open to displaying their work to others are common. They typically only reveal it to a select group of reliable individuals.

But to improve as an artist, one must receive criticism and comments from peers and the general public. Kleon’s guide is the ideal solution for graphic designers and all artists. It discusses how engaging in what you enjoy can inspire you, and you gain the self-assurance to market your job online.

Self-promotion can be challenging for designers or any artist if they are self-conscious. But effective marketing is essential, particularly if you plan to make a living from it. Self-promotion includes sharing your artwork on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.

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Sharing these creative expressions of who you are and what you adore online can be scary. You begin to have more confidence in yourself and your work rather than just growing your fan base. As a result, you’ll attract and retain customers who share your confidence in your abilities and skills.

 

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Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered (Austin Kleon)
10,098 Reviews
Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered (Austin Kleon)
  • Binding: paperback
  • Workman publishing
  • Language: english
  • Kleon, Austin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

 

5. Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko

Thinkertoys
Thinkertoys. Michael Michalko. Image Credits: Amazon

We were curious about the title and discovered it references the Tinkertoy Construction Set. The inspiration for the device came from watching kids using sticks and empty spools as playthings. So it makes sense that the theme of this book is experimenting with ideas.

We discovered that true to its name, it’s all about problem-solving and thinking creatively. Many exercises test how you’ll get out of any impasse. Regardless of your age or aptitude, it aids in developing creative thinking skills and techniques. We concluded that being innovative is a skill that many people can develop.

We also came across chores, exercises, and puzzles where you can use those methods. Whether you are “right-brained” or “left-brained” is unimportant. This book’s exercises, methods, and real-world examples will teach you to be more creative.

We discovered that this places less emphasis on theory and instruction than other books. The life stories might even make the theoretical information from the earlier works seem less important. Instead, this is one of the tools that will help you learn how to develop your skills and ask the correct questions.

 

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Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Michalko, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 11/04/1991 (Publication Date) - Ten Speed Press (Publisher)

 

6. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal like an artist
Steal Like an Artist. Austin Kleon. Image Credits: Amazon

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This book was released before “Show Your Work,” so we advise reading both. This is a global manual for creative types like artists. It’s brimming with encouraging phrases, sound guidance, and affirmation that any artist like you would value.

For instance, it is true that coming up with something novel these days is extremely challenging. Understandably, notions of originality and uniqueness are fuzzing up if we think back to postmodernist ideas. Every piece of art is a replica or an inspiration, but this does not mean you should cease creating your own.

You can gather your work as a graphic designer and look to others for guidance. You can research and evaluate their artistic approach and incorporate it into your own. Perhaps you’d also try a creative method that is fundamentally different. But keep in mind that it doesn’t constitute plagiarism.

This book gives readers a way to arrange their knowledge of inspiration. Since plagiarism is illegal, it is not theft in the traditional sense. However, it does provide advice on how to use your surroundings as motivation for your creative endeavors.

 

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Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Austin Kleon)
  • By artist and writer Austin Kleon
  • A collection of positive messages and exercises to realize your artistic side
  • A New York Times Best-seller
  • 10 Things nobody told you about being creative!
  • ERROR:#N/A

 

7. The New Typography; A Handbook for Modern Designers. Jan Tschichold

The New Typography; A Handbook for Modern Designers.
The New Typography; A Handbook for Modern Designers. Jan Tschichold. Image Credits: Amazon

This classic and foundational book concentrates on typography, so we won’t lie and say it’s a fun read, but it is necessary. Reading this will help aspiring graphic artists build a strong theoretical and practical foundation. It’s not a light read, though, unlike the earlier novels.

Even with the illustrations, it might seem tedious, as with many outdated writings. Though you might not want to read them, think of it as perusing foundational theoretical texts. You know how dry old theories can be if you’ve ever taken artistic training. They can even help you fall asleep if you need it–which most artists do.

However, this book will provide a wealth of knowledge and information despite being first published in 1928. It will be helpful for nascent graphic artists to learn the key ideas. They’ll learn about the standardization of specific forms.

Also, they will see how that process grew into a larger movement that impacted the graphic design industry. We think that experience can be very motivating and exciting.

 

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The New Typography (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism (Paperback))
  • Tschichold, Jan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 09/01/2006 (Publication Date) - University of California Press (Publisher)

 

8. Sketchnote Handbook, The: the illustrated guide to visual note taking. Mike Rohde

The sketch note
Sketchnote Handbook, The: the illustrated guide to visual note taking. Mike Rohde. Image Credits: Amazon

This is for you if you need visuals to learn. Taking notes visually involves combining words, images, and shapes to represent information. It doesn’t make the comments more understandable.

We discovered that even if you don’t always use visuals for note-keeping, this book reads quickly—it took us about 2 hours. The information is simple to follow. This will allow you to concentrate and fully engage in taking visual notes. So much interesting data and practical guidance are beneficial for note-taking in general.

We believe this will enable you to express your ideas through sketches and geometrical forms as a creative individual. Sketches can be used to take notes during the various classes and speeches you attend. They’re often called “mind maps” or “sketchnoting,” and they can help you save time.

You may refer to it as notetaking and have been doing it since you were small. Illustrations that communicate the same idea are more practical than writing everything out word for word.

 

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Sketchnote Handbook, The: the illustrated guide to visual note taking
  • Rohde, Mike (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 12/03/2012 (Publication Date) - Peachpit Press (Publisher)

 

9. Typographie: A Manual for Design. Emil Ruder

Typographie
Typographie: A Manual for Design. Emil Ruder. Image Credits: Amazon

Articles and studies published over a year ago are considered obsolete in the sciences. However, we are artists and always reflect on the classic masterpieces and history that built our industry. This book, published in 1981, is an example of that.

After reading it, we can all concur that it is a must-read classic work on typography. We should pay it the attention it deserves because it is another fundamental book. In our opinion, this is incredibly helpful for newcomers learning the basics of writing. You’ll learn more about the fundamentals, which will help you with future tasks.

Its relatively light text and wealth of typographical samples may appeal to you as a benefit. We noted that the ideas presented in this lesson played a significant role in how typography has evolved.

Always study the masters, the classics, and the rules, as our instructors have always advised. Once you’ve mastered those, you can explore endlessly.

 

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Typographie: A Manual of Design
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ruder, Emil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 274 Pages - 03/01/2001 (Publication Date) - Niggli Verlag (Publisher)

 

10. The Art of Color. Johannes Itten

The Art of Color
The Art of Color. Johannes Itten. Image Credits: Amazon

When our parents and teachers started teaching us how to read and write as children, color was first presented to us. One of the most fundamental ideas we teach our kids, but who realized it could be so challenging?

You soon discover color theory is a whole science and field of study when you start researching it. And once you start art education, there’s more to it! In the arts and graphic design realm, it’s merely one component of a whole.

You can arouse the viewers’ feelings, reactions, and recollections by using color in the right way. In this manner, you can control how a good or business is viewed. As a graphic designer, you should acquire this crucial skill.

We think you should read this book to understand color theory. Both beginning and experienced artists will benefit greatly from this guide. It includes a subjective perception of color, light physics, and combined harmony. Also, we can learn about composition fundamentals, making this a must-read for aspiring designers.

 

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The Art of Color: The Subjective Experience and Objective Rationale of Color
  • Hardcover Book
  • Itten, Johannes (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 12/01/1997 (Publication Date) - John Wiley & Sons (Publisher)

 

11. Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

Interaction of Color
Interaction of Color. Josef Albers. Image Credits: Amazon

This book has been referenced by instructors, artists, and students since 1963, so we thought it would make a great recommendation. True enough, it provides comprehensive content and good examples for artists.

The author explains the complex principles of color theory, which is considered the “last word” in color theory. The Art of Color is the book that gets you started, and Interaction of Color is the journey’s end.

The notion of color inspires some profound thoughts. For instance, we’ve read that color constantly deceives because it’s not always perceived as it really is. To learn colors effectively, experience and experimentation are key.

It might have the impression of being targeted at artistically inclined and delicate people. However, the tasks and examples make concepts that make no sense to you clearer. And for these reasons, we wholeheartedly urge anyone working in graphic design, including you, to read this.

 

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Interaction of Color: 50th Anniversary Edition
2,110 Reviews
Interaction of Color: 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Albers, Josef (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 06/28/2013 (Publication Date) - Yale University Press (Publisher)

 

12. The Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing by Micheal. C. Janda

The Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing
The Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing by Micheal. C. Janda. Image Credits: Amazon

As a graphic designer, you know that rates are essential for independent contractors. After all, not all logo designers work for businesses. Unfortunately, not everyone can appreciate the advantages of supporting musicians’ careers.

Some customers have a long history of declining to pay the artist’s suggested fee because they feel it is excessively high for a sketch. They must realize they are paying for the time and materials invested in acquiring the desired abilities.

However, you can increase the profitability of every endeavor you work on with the help of this book. Because it greatly aids freelancers and agencies in charging clients for their services and skills, we decided to suggest it.

Additionally, you can expect to find succinct instructions about the pricing factors used in graphic design. It aids in your education and understanding of the methods used to determine the market worth, the client’s budget, and the production cost. Thus, you can set reasonable prices for your client’s wallet and talent level.

As fellow artists, we understand the need to be compensated for our talents. After all, it takes so much effort, study, and time to master our craft. It’s only right that we make a living from our investments; this book teaches us how to do it.

 

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The Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing: Price creative work with confidence. Win more bids. Make...
  • Janda, Michael C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 206 Pages - 02/07/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

 

13. Graphic Design: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded version by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Philips

Graphic Design: The New Basics
Graphic Design: The New Basics. Image Credits: Amazon

Everybody requires a good primer on their particular subject or industry. In order to grasp the fundamentals of graphic design, this is a necessity. You’ll discover succinct and straightforward ways to explain the ideas you need to know from what we’ve read. These explanations are supported by instances to make them simpler to comprehend.

It’s possible to state that the book uses a “show-don’t-tell” method to teach you graphic design. You’ll gain more knowledge of the components of two-dimensional architecture and visual examples.

In this edition, we found that there have been replacements and additions of new chapters to the original publication. You can expect the new chapters to be about visualizing data and typography. There are also chapters on Gestalt principles and representation modes. It attempts to be up-to-date while maintaining its core introductory concepts.

 

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Graphic Design: The New Basics
  • Lupton, Ellen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 264 Pages - 07/14/2015 (Publication Date) - Princeton Architectural Press (Publisher)

 

14. Thinking With Type 2nd Ed: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students by Ellen Lupton

Thinking With Type 2nd Ed: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
Thinking With Type 2nd Ed: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. Image Credits: Amazon

We appreciate this book’s humor, attention to detail, and thought-provoking ideas, among other things. It’s a joy to read because so many humorous passages will amuse and inform you. Veterans may already know some of the information, but the opposite is accurate. Some people assert that they discovered tips and tricks that even they, as seasoned professionals in the field, were unaware of.

Since learning never stops, whether you’re an artist or not, new methods continue to develop. Additionally, gaining information moves you one step closer to becoming an expert in your field. To do that, you must become an expert in fonts, type families, kerning, and tracking. This guide clearly explains how to align letters, words, and paragraphs, making it a handy resource.

This second version has even more details about using ornaments, captions, and capitalizations. That’s how we came to understand that this is a resource for many amateurs and experts, from logo designers to different artists.

You’ll discover that the ideas are laid out to allow you to review the information. Also, there are jokes to keep you entertained and aid in easier material absorption throughout the book.

We came across charming images that will keep you interested the entire time. It is educational and fun to read because of how cleverly it was written.

 

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Thinking with Type, 2nd revised ed.: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
  • Lupton, Ellen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 11/03/2010 (Publication Date) - Princeton Architectural Press (Publisher)

 

15. How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Andrian Shaugnessy

How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Andrian Shaugnessy. Image Credits: Amazon

Several works describe producing art as giving a part of your soul into your work. Whether Tanizaki’s The Tattooer or Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray, every artist injects a part of their soul into their craft. That’s why we artists usually feel tired after finishing one of our pieces, whether it’s a painting, sketch, or digital image.

Another book that provides graphic artists with a ton of useful information about freelancing. You’ll discover that it discusses traits and behaviors required of contemporary creators.

These are located in various parts of the book, such as those devoted to job searching, employment, or studio setup. These apply to multiple situations in which graphic artists may find themselves. Because of this, it is a handy guide for anyone freelancing. It will help prevent them from “losing their soul” due to the stress and workload.

Another interesting bit we found is its appendix which contains names of organizations, websites, and books. You can also find the names of other designers in the appendix. The book further contains valuable interviews with various graphic designers. That way, you can obtain advice from seasoned professionals. These come in very handy when considering things from various angles. Not to mention, the subjects cover a wide range of problems in the society of freelance artists.

As a result, any freelance graphic designer should study this book. Even though we may have already suggested one book, it’s ideal to have additional sources. This, in particular, will assist you in concentrating on essential aspects of your industry, like working with clients. In this manner, the continuous toiling at your craft will prevent you from losing your soul.

 

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How to Be a Graphic Designer withou: New expanded version
  • Shaughnessy, Adrian (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 09/08/2010 (Publication Date) - Princeton Architectural Press (Publisher)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is graphic design difficult to learn?

Learning to design is not difficult, but it requires creative thinking, an aptitude for art and design, and time and dedication. It also requires tools to learn and apply the principles and theories of design. It is also best to read about the subject or take classes to understand it in-depth.

While not any degree is required, the job just requires skills and creativity. The best qualification is a bachelor's degree in graphic design, web design, or art, and the larger companies require it.

Is it possible to learn graphic design in a month?

If you have a good grasp of graphic design basics, you can learn it in two months. However, it takes several months or years depending on your abilities to master the methods of your skills.

 

Best Graphic Design Books in 2024

The best books are those written and assembled to continue developing talented designers. These works help us build solid artistic foundations and enable us to adapt to and advance in contemporary society. Although technology has changed our relationship with the arts, the design world continues to uphold numerous traditional principles.

Even though times change and different branches emerge from it, the fundamentals stay constant. Technology has also altered how we connect with customers and enhance our standard of living. For this reason, it’s still important to study modern works in addition to the classics. Thankfully, fresh and understandable works have been published recently. 

Our compilation of books will enable you to focus your market research. Also, we hope it fosters your development as a creative person who shares their enthusiasm with others, much like the writers of these works. 

Every creator, after all, occasionally requires some inspiration and direction. Having someone who can support their efforts and emotions is very helpful. Whether going through a difficult time or an artistic block, everyone needs support from their mentors and family. 

Keep it creative!


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