12 Design and Business Books I've Read & Recommend (Part 2)

12 Design and Business Books I've Read & Recommend (Part 2)

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Graphic Design Books

In this two part series I outline some great design and business related books that I have read & highly recommend. I give a short insight of each book, along with suggestions on who it may be for and the official product description.

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Find part one here.

The 4-Hour Workweek

by Tim Ferris

4 hour workweek book

This book written by the well known Tim Ferris was an insightful read on how one can outsource ones life to live a 4 hour work week. Although I am still working longer than 4 hours a week there are many principles in this book that I still use today which allow me to have more time to travel & spend with family and friends. This book will certainly change your philosophy of working life. My utmost highest recommendation of reading.

Product description:

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Whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, this book is the compass for a new and revolutionary world. Join Tim Ferriss as he teaches you:

  • How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
  •   How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and freuent “mini-retirements”
  • What the crucial difference is between absolute and relative income
  • How to train your boss to value performance over presence, or kill your job (or company) if it’s beyond repair
  • What automated cash-flow “muses” are and how to create one in 2 to 4 weeks
  • How to cultivate selective ignorance—and create time—with a low-information diet
  • What the management secrets of Remote Control CEOs are
  • How to get free housing worldwide and airfare at 5080% off
  • How to fill the void and create a meaningful life after removing work and the office

Non-Designers Type Book

by Robin Williams

Non designers type book

This book is a must read for anyone starting out with design or anyone that has to deal with type on a regular or irregular basis – even if you are not a designer. The book teaches you the basics of typography in simple, easy to understand terms with examples on the way.

Product description:

This latest addition to Robin Williams’ Non-Designers line of books not only defines the principles governing type but explains the logic behind them so readers can understand and see what looks best and why. Armed with this knowledge, and putting into practice the secrets Robin reveals for making type readable and artistic, readers can then go on to create beautiful, sophisticated, professional-looking pages on their computers for output as hard copy or for use on Web pages.

Each short chapter explores a different type secret including use of evocative typography, tailoring typeface to project, working with spacing, punctuation marks, special characters, fonts, justification, and much more. It is written in the lively, engaging style that has made Williams one of the most popular computer authors today. And it uses numerous examples to illustrate the subtle details that make the difference between good and sophisticated use of type. The non-platform specific, non-software specific approach to the book makes this a must-have for any designer’s bookshelf – from type novices to more experienced graphic designers and typesetters.

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by Michael Evamy

Logo Book

Although not technically a book that you can read (I think there is about 12 pages of text) it is an awesome showcase of the best logo designs, shown in black and white. A must for anyone that has to design logos or is interested in logo design.

Product description:

The logo bible – this book provides graphic designers with an indispensable reference source for contemporary logo design. More than 1300 logos are grouped according to their focal form, symbol and graphic associations into 75 categories such as crosses, stars, crowns, animals, people, handwritten, illustrative type, etc.

To emphasize the visual form of the logos, they are shown predominantly in black and white. Highlighted logos are shown in colour. Logos are also indexed alphabetically by name of company/designer and by industrial sector, making it easy to piece together a picture of the state of the identity art in any clients marketplace.

The Unlimited Freelancer*

by Mason Hipp & James Chartrand

Unlimited Freelancer

The Unlimited Freelancer was a book that I reviewed here on Just Creative Design a few months back and it has had some great reviews since! The Unlimited Freelancer is a book teaching you how to enjoy more free time by doing what you love every day – it’s very to the point. This book is for freelancers who have been at it for a while and have some knowledge of the business of design.

Use the affiliate code “JCDReaders” to get 20% off – the first 10 buyers get the discount. Click here to read more / purchase the book .

Product description:

Overcome freelance limits and unleash your true business potential.

There are ways to overcome almost every difficulty that comes with freelancing, tactics that experienced freelancers and small business owners have been using for years.

In this book, we’ll teach you exactly how to implement them — and exactly how to take the next steps in growing your business.

Here are some things you’ll learn:

  • How to completely avoid the typical freelance feast or famine cycle
  • How to handle more clients, make more money, and work less
  • How to grow and expand your business, or stay small and agile
  • How to work with others to get more clients and improve your services
  • How to build valuable assets that bring in money over the long-term
  • And lots more:

Photoshop CS4 Quicksteps

by Carole Matthews, Gary David Bouton

Photoshop CS4 Quick Steps

The first and best design book I’ve ever owned. Back then it was only Photoshop CS (not CS4) however it was so easy to understand that it really helped me get a headstart on how to use the basics of Photoshop. A great book for those just starting out with design.

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Product description:

Your full-color, fast reference to Photoshop CS4

In this thoroughly revised guide, full-color screenshots and brief instructions show you how to use the latest version of Photoshop quickly and easily. Learn how to edit and retouch photos, work with the drawing and painting tools, add text, use layers, create special effects, and prepare art for print or the Web.

Photoshop CS4 QuickSteps covers the latest photography-related tools and techniques, including RAW file formats, Bridge, special effects, and more. Screenshots with callouts show and explain exactly what you’ll see on your computer screen while you’re doing a task, and color-coded tabs make it easy to find just the information you need.

Computer Arts Magazine

Computer Arts

Ok technically this isn’t a book but I thought I would add it here as this magazine is simply awesome… I’ve been subscribed to CA for over a year and a half now and it is by far my favourite magazine. Great articles, inspiration and tutorials!

And if you leave a comment on this post I will send out the latest issue (April 2009) plastic wrapped to you free of charge to one lucky person! I will contact the winner via email at the end of this week.

Product description:

Computer Arts is the one-stop shop for professional advice on creating digital art and illustrations.

Computer Arts, the world’s best-selling magazine for digital artists and designers, boasts a strong line-up of tutorials every issue, covering everything from manipulating photographs with Photoshop to creating amazing vector illustrations with Illustrator. You’ll also find tonnes of tips and tricks for web design, typography, 3D, animation, motion graphics and multimedia. It’s the one-stop shop for professional advice.

Each month, the magazine also reviews the latest hardware and software releases, gives creative tips and technical advice, and interviews the leading lights in the global design world.

Other recommended design books (by @Vonni)

Do you have any recommended graphic design books?

70 thoughts on “12 Design and Business Books I've Read & Recommend (Part 2)”

  1. What a well timed post! I just sat down to check your book list after finishing “The Logo Design Workbook” you recommended. Thanks for making my next choice an easy one.

  2. Nice article Jacob. It really comes in handy, since I have some questions to ask you:
    * Does the Non-Designers Type Book provide any value over Thinking with Type and The Elements of Typographic Style? Since I’ve read these two books, it isn’t being easy to find other type books of value.
    * Do you really recommend Computer Arts over .net?


  3. Already subcribe to the magzine, & the big logo book, picked it up the other day, put it back down after seeing the price.

    Interesting selection, I shall have to check them all out at some point, good post ! I think I need to do one of my own now.

  4. Thanks Jacob for finishing off a well-rounded list. It seems there is plenty to appeal to most people. I have a question – do you (or any other readers out there!) know of any physical bookstores that stock design books? I know I can get them online, but I sometimes like to have a quick flick to get a feel of them.

  5. I am currently on a 1 year round the world trip and am hoping to get into the world of design on my return to the UK. I bought my first copy of the Computer Arts Magazine in Hong Kong and found it very inspiring. I said to myself I will definately be subscribing on my return home.
    Great blog by the way, I’ve been following for a while now. Keep up the great work.

  6. Great list Jacob, ‘4 Hour Work Week’ and ‘Unlimited Freelancer’ look particularly interesting. Thanks for the recommendations Jacob.

  7. Great list, this is really useful – I found How To Become A Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul to be an excellent resource. Cheers

  8. Thanks for the tips! I still can’t believe you’re only 20/21 and uber experienced about the field already.
    I plan on going freelance someday if ever i get the courage to do so..haha..
    I’ve been looking for art magazines here in the phils but they’re pretty hard to come by… 🙁
    what other magazines do you recommend?

  9. I’ve been to the computer arts website a few times, i like it. Do they deliver to the US?

    Gotta get me a free copy if they do, maybe a subscription.

  10. Hey Jacob,

    Great job with the list. I’ve read so far two on the list you’ve come up with.. nice to know I’m on the right track with my picks. 🙂 Is the offer for the April 2009 copy of Computer Arts still up? I’m subscribed to Communication Arts, and am really interested in getting a more technical based mag. Let me know!

    Cheers. 🙂

  11. Hey Jacob, thanks for the book list. I’ve been looking forward for part 2. I plan on reading every book since you recomend them. Let us know how the 79 Short Essays turn out. Thanks again, you’re a credit to society!

  12. Thanks for an insightful list, I have started to read through previous chapters of Computer arts and as said they come with really good tutorials and ways for you to showcase your portfolio.
    I will be interested in the April copy and would be adding the Photoshop Cs4 quicksteps to my budget.


  13. Thanks,
    I can’t wait to read the books you recommended, especially the one that will help me expand and get money for what I do.
    Your posts have helped me a lot.
    Thank you! 🙂

  14. Thanks for the helpful hints as always. I am going to add the type book to my reading list since that is the aspect of design i am attempting to gain a deeper knowledge of.
    I found the Type Idea Index (Jim Krause) and Designing with Type (James Craig & Irene Koroi Scala) are some additonal great resources in this subject.
    I too am a big fan of Computer Arts magazine. I wholeheartdly agree that is one of the top publications available for articles, tutorials and inspiration. While I do not subscribe, I find myself buying several a year and keeping them around for easy reference.
    Keep the suggestions coming Jacob! They are always well received.

  15. Thanks for the great list Jacob (both of them). It’s always good to see the sort of articles, books and mags that inspire great designers such as yourself. Keep up the great work.

  16. I would love a copy of CA sent to me to see if I would like to subscribe.

    Easy Street Interactive
    NH Web Design, Search Engine Optimization/Marketing

  17. Hi Jacob. I’m Aya I’m from Egypt. I’m reading your blog for a few month now, its amazing. I hope that some day I could be such a help for people, like you. I’ll try to read them all but as books are very expensive here in egypt and low salary and 10 working hours a day its realy hard to read them all. so I’ll go for the 4-hour workweek book in the begining. So I’ll find time to read the rest

  18. Hi Jacob!
    Nowadays I am a subscriber of your site, and it is always usefull to read your newsletter.
    Earlier I was stubling uppon your site, nowadays I found it a good value.
    This beeing said, I add that posts like this, and the previous part 1, are very good, although subjective.
    I am a big fan of Computer Arts, not for a year or two, but over 6 years, my school library has a subscription, and I, through my brother in England, subscrided it also, and bought either some issues. Big fan, like you can see… Nowadays my subscprition ended, my school stoped receiving it… Well… Website to keep an eye over it.
    About the books, they seem quite nice, and here I relate to the other post I commented and say that I really feel that KNOWLEDGE should be free. I respect other people work, I intent always to buy whatever I like, but I feel that the access to the stuff should be free worldwide. It isn’t yet! Not your fault, obviously!
    Regarding also this post I have to mention that the post itself is quite well written and quite well explained.

    Very good, thank you! Keep them coming!

    Márcio Guerra

  19. Hi Jacob,

    Another great post. I have been subscribed to your blog for several months now and have found it to be a great source of inspiration and information. Thanks and keep it up.


  20. I’ll come across your website and found it more interesting in Logo Design. Great collections, thanks for the information you share, i’ll come back often.


    Dux Marketing

  21. Yowzah! I would love a copy of the magazine! I’ve been drooling over the site for a few months now, but haven’t been able to bring myself to spend that big a chunk of money without being able to look through it first.

    Thanks for the post too, by the way. As a mostly self-taught designer, I’m always on the lookout for ways to stretch myself and learn more.

  22. Great post! I have that Robin Williams book (along with the other one) and it’s great. Can I ask how much you pay for your CA subscription? It costs $25 an issue in the shops 🙁

  23. Great list.. I have been looking for a book to send my sister who is just getting into photoshop and CS4 quicksteps sounds like the perfect thing! ThankS

  24. Hey, I Want that Computer Arts Magazine issue! 😀 I didn’t know Robin Williams non-designers’ was actually a series of book, I only knew one of them. Great list.

  25. Thank you everyone for your comments and good luck for those that want the free copy of CA magazine.


    Well good luck with the reading!


    The winner will be contacted next week.


    Typography is one of the hardest parts of design I believe so this book is a good start to getting a firm grip on it! Thanks for the other recommendations too.


    Glad you liked The Logo Designer Workbook. What is your next choice of book?


    The Non Designers Type book is a book for the very basics of typography so if you have already studied Typography before, it probably wouldn’t be of much use.
    Re CA and .net I believe they are two very diff mags, but of personal preference I prefer CA.


    The Logo book do you mean? I believe it is worth the price tag.


    Borders usually has the widest range in my opinion, you can sit in there for hours reading the books.


    Thanks Ellie and enjoy your trip.


    Enjoy your reads if you choose to get them.


    It helps to put the work in, age really doesn’t play a key role in determining ones success. The Computer Arts mag you can get sent to your door if you wish. .net mag is also great and IDN if that is still around. Hope it works out.


    Thanks for the recommendations and yeah Seth Godin’s books are great, in particular “Purple Cow”.


    Yeah they deliver to the US. It’s based from the UK I believe.


    Yup, still up. Will be contacting the winner next week.


    Enjoy the Four Hour Work Week and be sure to check out your libraries for other titles… it saves a lot of cash!


    I will be contacting the winner of the free copy next week.


    I pay around AUD$13.50 per issue delivered to my door, made possible by a 12 month subscription. $25 is quite expensive I agree but subscriptions can bring the cost down.

  26. Thanks a lot for the collection and the review. I hope reading through some of them will definitely strengthen my designing skills.

  27. Hey! thanks for the tips. I always read your articles and let me tell you that I found this page very useful and inspirational. keep doing this. I would like you to post some tips about books design or editorial design.

  28. thanks for share Jacob.

    congratulation for your third blog. i follow it too.

  29. Thanks! Photoshop Creative and Advanced Photoshop should be also in this list as magazines.

  30. Jacob,

    Just as an FYI: When I printed this article, the copyright in the footer had 2008 instead of 2009.

    Just thought you should know.


  31. Hey Jacob,

    I was going into town today to look at some new design books to read over my school break!

    Been subscribing to your blog now for just over a month and have really been impressed with the info and the content. Keep up the good work!


  32. Hello Mr. Cass,
    My boyfriend Bronson is a HUGE fan of yours!
    He is currently in school for graphic design; I believe he has a bright future ahead of him. I was planning on getting him some books and other products for graphic design for his birthday next week.

    What would you recommend and do you have any advice for him?

    Thank you,

  33. Hi Jacob,

    This site is very helpful for me. Your list of books is like my list with the books i want to read.
    There is also “White space is not your enemy”. I really love that book.

    All the best from Belgium!

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  35. I have fun with, lead to I discovered just what I was taking a look for.
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