Best graphic design books

Programming & Design

Graphic designers today are expected to be fluent in many design languages and benefit from having the biggest desktop computers.

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Which graphic design books are best?

Graphic design is the art and science of combining text and graphics to project ideas and experiences. Good graphic design uses color, form, line, shape, size, texture, and space. Where graphic design was once all print, today it also means website design, user experience design, and motion graphics.

A good graphic design book is a great place to learn DIY graphic design and a great book is a valuable asset to graphic design pros who want to up their games. If you want to learn how to see and think like a professional designer, The Non-Designer’s Design Book includes specific tips on designing newsletters, brochures, flyers and more.

What to know before you buy graphic design books

Books are great ways to learn new things. They are also great resources for professionals who want to brush up on their techniques and see what other people in their field are up to. There are many different categories of graphic design books, so take a look at these different classifications before you go shopping.

Design principles

Everyone who wants to practice a craft needs to learn the principles first. Books on design principles teach the fundamentals and building blocks of graphic design. If you are new to graphic design, this is the place to begin.

Creativity

All graphic designers struggle with the creative process at some point. Books that focus on innovation and brainstorming help graphic designers find a creative spark. 

Running a business

Graphic designers study art and science, not business. Even the most creative artists struggle with how to run a business effectively. Books on how to go about bidding your graphic design work and how to manage clients can be a great way for creative people to learn the business dos and don’ts. Freelancers can especially benefit from real-world advice on the business side of graphic design.

Technology

In our very visual world, today’s graphic designers go far beyond print and into website design and motion graphics. Some graphic design books teach the principles of video design while others introduce graphic designers to coding.

History

A field like graphic design has a long history, and there are many books that tell how things got started, what happened along the way and how we got to where we are today. People who like to know the evolution of their craft are drawn to these books that are great repositories of the work of people who have made significant contributions to the history of graphic design.

All-in-one

All-in-one books try to package everything about a subject into just one book. All-in-one graphic design books are no exception. Because so much is covered, much of it gets touched on only lightly. An all-in-one book may be a great choice for someone who’s considering a career in graphic design.

What to look for in quality graphic design books

You will want to choose the graphic design book or books that will help you become more successful. Take a look at this set of traits that are essential to becoming a great graphic designer. Start with a book or books written to teach the lessons that will most help you grow professionally.

Creativity

This is the engine that drives graphic design. Even the most creative people have dry spells, and anyone can learn something from seeing how other people approach different things.

Technology

As the technological world continues to grow, graphic designers are called upon to work with website-building and user-experience design teams. People who don’t learn about tech graphic design may feel left behind.

Running a business

Artists rarely have been taught the nuts and bolts of running a graphic design business. It would be a shame for a really great designer to best less successful for lack of knowing how to manage clients, build relationships and make hard business decisions.

How much you can expect to spend on graphic design books

Quick-read books cost $15 or less. For about $15-$25, books go into greater detail about the specific subject matter. For over $50 you will find graphic design books that are industry standards with hands-on exercises and lots of practical information.

Graphic design books FAQ

Will I need a degree to get a job as a graphic designer?

A. Few freelancers have four-year degrees. Most find work by having impressive portfolios. Those who want full-time work at agencies are expected to have university training to even be considered for better jobs. 

Is there one graphic design book that is better than all the others?

A. There is so much to graphic design that no single book can contain everything. 

What are the best graphic design books to buy?

Top graphic design book

The Non-Designer’s Design Book

The Non-Designer’s Design Book

What you need to know: Hundreds of thousands of people have learned to make professional designs using this book’s four surprisingly simple principles.

What you’ll love: Mac and Windows users learn how to see and think like professional designers. This book shows users how to design with color and type as well as how to combine typefaces for maximum effect. It also includes specific tips on designing newsletters, brochures, flyers, and more all in a lighthearted style.

What you should consider: This book is best for those who have had no prior training in graphic design.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top graphic design book for money

Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

What you need to know: This book is for graphic designers who have struggled to complete design projects on time with maximum creativity.

What you’ll love: This book of exercises features 80 creative challenges to help graphic designers do their best under deadline pressure. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions and background stories that help you refresh and improve your innovation skills. This book also includes design examples for each of the 80 challenges and tips for brainstorming.

What you should consider: This book is not for beginners but for graphic artists looking to hone their existing skills.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should

Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should

What you need to know: This is a great resource for freelancers and those who are setting up their own graphic design business. 

What you’ll love: This book contains the unwritten rules of business that graphic designers learn only after putting in years on the job. The author uses humor to present lessons of success and failure learned from running an agency. Get the lowdown on bidding work, managing clients, and building relationships by learning real-world practices and professional dos and don’ts.

What you should consider: This is not a book about design, but instead about real-world advice on the business side of graphic design.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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