The 10 Best Graphic Design Books

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This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in February of 2018. Whether you’re a professional in the field, contemplating starting a business or just keenly creative, you’ll find the graphic design books on our list both inspiring and instructive. In addition to being visually stimulating, they include everything from essential advice, actionable tips, and handy techniques to branding guidance and problem-solving for when you get stuck. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Logo Modernism

2. 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design

3. Pretty Much Everything

Editor's Notes

April 15, 2020:

We wanted this list to include a healthy sampling of the many facets of graphic design, so you'll find volumes on color theory like Interaction of Color, texts that focus on logos and branding such as Symbols: A Handbook for Seeing and Logo Modernism, and visual feasts meant to inspire and educate, like Pretty Much Everything.

When updating this list we decided to remove Super Graphic and Show Your Work!. Super Graphic is extremely visually appealing and could in itself give inspiration to a graphic designer simply from its layout, however, its main focus is the comic book universe. Because it doesn't provide much in the way of instruction and is mostly meant for entertainment, we replaced it with Just My Type. A more useful volume, this book covers over 500 years of typeface history and will do much to expand the reader's knowledge on the subject, which easily translates to graphic design. Typography is quite vital to the profession, so if you're looking to learn more, consider our list of typography books.

And because Show Your Work! is largely based around very basic concepts and mostly centers on being affirming and inspirational after that, we felt something more practical could take its place. You'll find Graphic Design School in its stead. If you love structure and appreciate the pedagogical aspects of a textbook, then this selection should serve you well. It is accessible, comprehensive, packed with a wide range of examples, and perfect for beginners. It covers practical aspects of the profession, like coding, software, preparing files for print, creating banner ads, and a lot more.

We also updated 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design to reflect its most recent edition, rather than the 2014 printing.

Special Honors

Adobe Photoshop Any working graphic designer will tell you that Adobe Photoshop will be one of the most important and oft-used tools in your creative arsenal. This professional-level imaging application can be used to manipulate photos, create graphics, crop, remove objects, retouch, play with color and effects and more to make posters, packaging, banners, logos, and websites.

Fiverr If you're thinking about picking up a book on graphic design to gain some insight to the industry, then you should also consider spending some time on Fiverr. It's an online marketplace where freelancing creatives provide an extensive variety of projects for paying customers. You can check out the Graphics & Design section to see the types of products and services professionals offer as well as sign up to be a vendor if your design chops are up to snuff.

4. Graphic Design School

5. The Non-Designer's Design Book

6. Just My Type

7. Symbols: A Handbook for Seeing

8. Grid Systems in Graphic Design

9. Interaction of Color

10. Meggs' History of Graphic Design

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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