7 Books that every Graphic Designer should read

Posted on Sep 15, 2017 in Blog

7 Books that every Graphic Designer should read

Entering in to the world of graphic design can be exciting! There is so much to discover to improve your knowledge and skills.

Here are some books I can recommend that I found helped me most along the way – hopefully they can help you to grow too and be as successful in your design career as you would like to be…


1. Graphic Design: A New History 

by Stephen J. Eskilson

This book is great for teaching the complete background and history to graphic design. It’s a really thick, content-heavy book full of useful information and stories – it’s great to educate yourself on where the beginning of graphic design stems from. It’s important to understand this as it can help connect the past, present and future of design and form the decisions you make, adding more substance and context to your design work.


2. Graphic Design: A Concise History

by Richard Hollis

Again, this book teaches about the background and history in graphic design – the more you understand this, the better designer you can be, by playing on or remodernising styles in a new way or understanding the reasons as to why good design works.


3. Making and Breaking the Grid

by Timothy Samara

I found this book along with Josef Müller-Brockmann’s book below brilliant in understanding grids and how they can create structure and bring design together through working with them. Sometimes you have to know the rules to break them! So when you can understand how using grids can enhance your design work, you can then afford to break them at times to add visual interest and create a unique point of interest.


Typography is an key element of graphic design. Learning about kerning, font choices, alignment, visual hierarchy and of course… dreaded widows, will really enhance your skills and knowledge and enable you to become a better designer.


5. Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A Visual Communication Manual

by Josef Müller-Brockmann

Swiss design is known to be leading in design. As mentioned above, I loved learning about grids – it was a real eye-opener and offered so much more opportunities to create good design that worked well and looked visually appealing. Swiss designer Josef Müller-Brockmann is the master of grids and this book gives you a whole new system and way of working to add structure and order to your design work.


6. How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

by Adrian Shaughnessy 

I love the title of this book. Irish designer Adrian O’Shaughnessy shares his tips and tricks on how to make it in the design world and many of the things that he has learned along the way. This is especially a good book if you want to become a freelancer or are thinking of setting up your own studio. It’s a good book to dip in and out of for helpful pointers.


This book is inspiring and makes you think. It is more advertising focussed and features clever ways of looking at things and selling products /services by portraying the story or idea in unique ways. It’s a large, easy to read book, which will leave you enthusiastic about creating your own ideas and how you can look at things differently.


An Added Extra:
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be

by Paul Arden

Another book I love I added in as an extra. This isn’t strictly a graphic design book, although it is a creative book, centred around the design industry. I think you can find it inspiring no matter what you work at. It encourages the reader to think differently…bigger…to do the opposite…and to challenge what you see and think. It’s a small book which is inspiring, really easy to read and a great book to keep after you have first read it, to dip in and out of it, for fresh ideas or motivation when you need it.

The award-winning designer Paul Rand’s ‘Thoughts on Design‘ is another good book to read if you have got through this list! Happy reading and good luck bringing your design career ambitions to life or becoming a better designer if you are already working in the creative industry 🙂