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Best Books for Graphic Design Students

Learning is an unending process but the curiosity to know and discover is the real driving force behind learning. Career like Graphic Design is the one in which learning is going to help you grow more and more. You may have learned the basics and principles but real designs come off the track and for that you need to know what the track was, otherwise you will be lost

somewhere between in a void of knowing and unknowing. So as to make you aware about the right track you should follow before you plan to break the rules. here are some of the best books that you should read at least once.

This roundup collection of Best Books for Graphic Design Students are based on the information collected from various websites which includes the sales, reviews and  recommendations by famous designers. I personally have some of these books and I planning to buy and read the left out books in coming future. I have myself learned a lot form these books and they have helped me a lot in terms of rules, inspiration, better practices etc. in short i should say these have improved my designing skills a lot.

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
-Oscar Wilde



1. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design

Meggs' History of Graphic Design

As a designer, having a copy of Megg’s History of Graphic Design is very helpful. Not only is it a thorough history of design touching upon the start of the alphabet, typography, printing, web design, and everything in between, it’s great to get some inspiration for your next project. This latest edition is full of high quality, colorful images and fantastic examples of graphic design pieces that at times in history have been decorative, inspirational, informative, useful and educational.

Going through this 570 page book, it’s easy to see how extensive the world of graphic design is. Megg’s touches upon several design movements (Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Post Modernism, American Craft), as well as international design, and the way they reflect the times and lifestyles and influence on the world. While this tried and true Megg’s History of Graphic Design has been brought up to date, it should be reminded that this is written as a text book and is heavy on copy. The final chapter makes this latest edition complete with it’s write up and visual examples of digital design. I mean, this book is showing cave drawings in Chapter 1 and magazine covers on an iPad in the last chapter!


2. Graphic Design: A Concise History

Graphic Design: A Concise History

This is an excellent guide to the history of graphic design,  full of samples (about 800 though largely black & white).It has lots of useful information on the history of graphic design from early posters to the electronic age.

This authoritative documentary history begins with the poster and goes on to chart the development of word and image in brochures and magazines, advertising, corporate identity, television, and electronic media, and the impact of technical innovations such as photography and the computer. For the revised edition, a new final chapter covers all the recent international developments in graphic design, including the role of the computer and the Internet in design innovation and globalization. In the last years of the twentieth century, at a time when “designer products” and the use of logos grew in importance, the role of graphic designers became more complex, subversive, and sometimes more political—witness Oliviero Toscani’s notorious advertisements for Benetton. Digital technology cleared the way for an astonishing proliferation of new typefaces, and words began to take second place to typography in a whole range of magazines and books as designers asserted the primacy of their medium. Designers and companies discussed here include Neville Brody, David Carson, Design Writing Research, Edward Fella, Tibor Kalman, Jeffery Keedy, LettError, Pierre di Sciullo, Tomato, Gerard Unger, Cornel Windlin, and a host of others.



3. The Elements of Graphic Design

The Elements of Graphic Design

A good book for beginners, learn some basics of graphic design as well as parts of the history. In this book you’ll learn some key concepts of space, unity, page architecture, and typography. The main strength of this book is the way the information is broken down. There are only so many ways that you can introduce and explain the principles and elements of design (balance, hierarchy, space, color, etc.), but this book does it in a way that I had not seen before. Rather than listing one at a time and discussing each, there are four sections: Space, Unity, Page Architecture and Type. The traditional principles and elements are then discussed in the context of these umbrella topics. I like this approach because it puts the different elements of design into a larger context that is easier for the student to understand. There is more connection between the different elements, and it is clear to see that the foundational principles and elements of design are not used in a vacuum, but interact with each other.


4. Designing Brand Identity

Designing Brand Identity

Branding is much more than just logo design, it even goes beyond graphic design. This book is a real guide to become better at understanding what branding is and creating powerful brands.

The book’s split into three parts:Basics 
The difference between brand and brand identity, and what it takes to be the best.”Process 
This section answers the question “Why does it take so long?” and addresses collaboration and decision making.”Best practices
“These highly successful projects created by branding firms and design consultancies inspire and exemplify original, flexible, lasting solutions.”



5. The Art of Color: The Subjective Experience and Objective Rationale of Color

Itten’s classic book is its deeply philosophical, even quasi-religious approach to color. Itten was as much interested in the spirituality of color as in developing a theory of color. Another great aspect of the book is the numerous master paintings beautifully reproduced and intertwined with his own theories and color diagrams. You get paintings by Rembrandt, Renoir, Monet, El Greco, Seurat, and so many others. Itten is always contrasting the objective and the subjective aspects of art and color, and it makes for a fascinating reading experience. Itten has a mature perspective on these painters and their relation to color.


6. Making and breaking the grid

For designers working in every medium, layout is arguable the most basic and most important element. Effective layout is essential to communication and enables the end user to not only be drawn in with an innovative design but to digest information easily. Making and Breaking the Grid is a comprehensive layout design workshop that assumes that to effectively break the rules of grid-based design one must first understand those rules and see them applied to real-world projects. Text reveals top designers’ work in process and rationale. Projects with similar characteristics are linked through a simple notational system that encourages exploration and comparison of structure ideas. Also included are historical overviews that summarise the development of layout concepts, both grid-based and non-grid based, in modern design practice.





7. Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles

This book offers a novel overview of typeface design, exploring the most beautiful and remarkable examples of font catalogs from the history of publishing, with a special emphasis on the period from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, when color catalogs were at their height. Taken from a Dutch collection, this exuberant selection traverses the evolution of the printed letter in all its various incarnations via exquisitely designed catalogs displaying not only type specimens in roman, italic, bold, semi-bold, narrow, and broad, but also characters, borders, ornaments, initial letters and decorations as well as often spectacular examples of the use of the letters. The Victorian fonts, sumptuous and sometimes unbelievably outrageous, are accorded a prominent place in this book. In addition to lead letters, examples from lithography and letters by window-dressers, inscription carvers, and calligraphers are also displayed and described.


8. Thinking with Type

Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of ornaments and captions, lining and non-lining numerals, the use of small caps and enlarged capitals, as well as information on captions, font licensing, mixing typefaces, and hand lettering. Throughout the book, visual examples show how to be inventive within systems of typographic form—what the rules are and how to break them. Thinking with Type is a type book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words. The popular online companion to Thinking with Type ( has been revised to reflect the new material in the second edition.




9. Logo Design Love

David Airey’s “Logo Design Love” is something different: it’s a guide for designers (and clients) who want to understand what this mysterious business is all about. Written in reader-friendly, concise language, with a minimum of designer jargon, Airey gives a surprisingly clear explanation of the process, using a wide assortment of real-life examples to support his points. Anyone involved in creating visual identities, or wanting to learn how to go about it, will find this book invaluable. – Tom Geismar, Chermayeff & Geismar

In Logo Design Love, Irish graphic designer David Airey brings the best parts of his wildly popular blog of the same name to the printed page. Just as in the blog, David fills each page of this simple, modern-looking book with gorgeous logos and real world anecdotes that illustrate best practices for designing brand identity systems that last.

David not only shares his experiences working with clients, including sketches and final results of his successful designs, but uses the work of many well-known designers to explain why well-crafted brand identity systems are important, how to create iconic logos, and how to best work with clients to achieve success as a designer.

 10. Stationery Design Now

Whether you’re starting your own business or simply trying to stay in business, three paper-based items are absolutely crucial to your company: letterhead, envelope, and business card. These three items, along with your logo, are the pillars of a well-defined corporate identity. Though seemingly ephemeral, the subliminal communications value of elegant stationery cannot be overestimated. The best stationery works hard for you, front-loading your corporate or freelance image, and conveying your company values in the most tangible way. Traditionally, many of the world’s most successful companies, whatever their size, have relied heavily on sharply-focused stationery. No matter if you are a lawyer, a tradesman, or a bank, a restaurant, a doctor, an engineer or a university: these three elements of corporate identity are vital for any successful business.

This book presents over 200 outstanding stationery projects from companies all over the world, analysing their strengths, with comments from specialists on the role of corporate identity today. For anyone considering new stationery, or even an upgrade, Stationery Design Now! is an indispensible reference work.


 11. Package Design Workbook: The Art and Science of Successful Packaging

A comprehensive reference volume, this book provides readers with a thoughtful packaging primer that covers the challenges of designing packaging for a competitive market in a very hardworking and relevant way. The book addresses all aspects of the creative process including choosing a package format, colors and materials, final finishes, and special considerations such as awkward objects and unique display considerations. As with other books in the “Workbook” series, it offers case studies in the back half of the book with the text focusing on why specific colors, formats, type treatments, and finishes were chosen, and what the resulting effects on the consumer and for the client were.


Further Reading


12.How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul

How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul has become a trusted resource for graphic designers around the world, combining practical advice with philosophical guidance to help young professionals embark on their careers. This book brings the essential text up to date with new chapters on professional skills, the creative process, and global trends that include social responsibility, ethics, and the rise of digital culture. How to Be a Graphic Designer offers clear, concise guidance along with focused, no-nonsense strategies for setting up, running, and promoting a studio; finding work; and collaborating with clients. The book also includes inspiring new interviews with leading designers, including Jonathan Barnbrook, Sara De Bondt, Stephen Doyle, Ben Drury, Paul Sahre, Dmitri Siegel, Sophie Thomas, and Magnus Vol Mathiassen.



Recommended for everyone


13. It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be is a handbook of how to succeed in the world – a pocket ‘bible’ for the talented and timid to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible. The world’s top advertising guru, Paul Arden, offers up his wisdom on issues as diverse as problem solving, responding to a brief, communicating, playing your cards right, making mistakes and creativity, all notions that can be applied to aspects of modern life. This book provides a unique insight into the world of advertising and is a quirky compilation of quotes, facts, pictures, wit and wisdom, packed into easy-to-digest, bite-sized spreads. If you want to succeed in life or business, this is a must!

Paul Arden began his career in advertising at the age of 16. For 14 years he was Executive Creative Director at Saatchi and Saatchi, where he was responsible for some of Britain’s best known campaigns including British Airways, Silk Cut, Anchor Butter, InterCity and Fuji. His famous slogans include ‘The Car in front is a Toyota’ and ‘The Independent – It is – Are You?’. In 1993 he set up the London-based production company Arden Sutherland-Dodd where he is now a commercials director for clients such as BT, BMW, Ford, Nestle and Levis.


Any recommendations from your side?

I know there are lot of other good design books present in the market apart from the ones listed above, so if you know any good book that is worth being listed her then please share the name of those books, we will be happy to add it to our list with a proper recommendation credit next to it having your name and the website link.


About Niteesh Yadav

He is a creative person who likes sketching and designing. He is a self taught graphic designer, illustrator and artist who loves to create new things inspired from his surroundings. # Editor in Chief of Indicreative