9 Must-Read Books for Designers
A good design is an important aspect of any product – physical or digital. Besides the functionality of a product, design elements of a product appeal to the soft centers of the brain and has a tremendous impact on psychological, aesthetic senses too, and it can make-or-mar a product’s success in the market.
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. — Pablo Picasso
Designers come from different backgrounds, with some having studied arts and crafts at school and college, while others are self-taught. Regardless of their training, it is crucial that you as a designer understand the foundations of the Design field. In today’s design-driven world, designers take many avatars – graphic designers, UX designers, fashion designers, animation designers and so on.
To pursue one’s interest in design and to choose the right design career, here are 9 best design books that will strengthen your understanding of the fundamental principles of design and its applications.
9 Must-Read Books for Designers
1. Logo Modernism –By Jens Muller and R. Roger Remington
Taschen produces some truly spectacular books, and Logo Modernism is no different. Bringing together approximately 6,000 trademarks between 1940-80, Jens Müller examines the distillation of modernism in graphic design and how these attitudes and imperatives gave rise to corporate identity.
Müller includes a variety of logos, organized into three chapters – Geometric, Effects, and Typographic – in order to educate you and provide a comprehensive index of inspiring logo designs to inform your own work.
2. Steal Like an Artist –-By Austin Kleon
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative is a book on how to generate creative ideas. Kleon presents himself as a young writer and artist and emphasizes that creativity is everywhere and is for everyone. In his own words, “You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself.” He points out that no artist’s work is completely original and that trying to be completely original will intimidate the artist and eventually stifle their creativity. It suggests that artists embrace the inevitability of influence, celebrate living outside of emptiness, relax, and have fun with their art. Beyond that, it also offers tips on how to stay focused, optimistic, and be receptive to incoming inspiration.
3. Grid System in Graphic Design–By Josef Müller-Brockmann
Grid Systems in Graphic Design remains the definitive word on the use of grid systems in graphic design. Written by the legendary Swiss graphic designer Josef Mülller-Brockmann, this visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers and 3D designers is packed with examples of how to work correctly at the conceptual level. It’s a must-read resource for any practicing student or designer, regardless of whether you prefer the David Carson approach.
4. Thinking With Type –By Ellen Lupton
Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication. Ellen Lupton provides clear and focused guidance on how letters, words, and paragraphs should be aligned, spaced, ordered, and shaped. The book covers all typography essentials, from typefaces and type families, to kerning and tracking, to using a grid. Visual examples show how to be inventive within systems of typographic form, including what the rules are, and how to break them. Thinking with Type is the typography book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words. If you love font and lettering books, Ellen Lupton’s guide reveals the way typefaces are constructed and how to use them most effectively.
5. The Elements of Typographic Style –By Robert Bringhurst
Renowned typographer and poet Robert Bringhurst brings clarity to the art of typography with this masterful style guide. Combining practical, theoretical, and historical, this book is a must for graphic artists, editors, or anyone working with the printed page using digital or traditional methods.
6. Designing Brand Identity–By Alina Wheeler
A revised new edition of the bestselling toolkit for creating, building, and maintaining a strong brand from research and analysis through brand strategy, design development through application design, and identity standards through launch and governance, Designing Brand Identity, offers brand managers, marketers, and designers a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity. Enriched by new case studies showcasing successful world-class brands, this Edition brings readers up to date with a detailed look at the latest trends in branding, including social networks, mobile devices, global markets, apps, video, and virtual brands. Features more than 30 all-new case studies showing best practices and world-class Updated to include more than 35 per cent new material offers a proven, universal five-phase process and methodology for creating and implementing effective brand identity.
7. The Art of Hand- Lettering –By Helm Wotzkon
With over 30 years of experience in both Europe and America as a commercial artist specializing in advertising, Helm Wotzkow has written a thorough, practical guide to the art of hand-lettering. While leading the student step=by-step from beginning-level to advanced problems, he charges the text with so many suggestions and tips learned from long experience that even professional letterers will find useful new ideas on almost every page.
8. The Design of Everyday Things –By Don Norman
The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.
The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how — and why — some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.
9. Design is Storytelling –By Ellen Lupton
Good design, like good storytelling, brings ideas to life. The latest book from award-winning writer Ellen Lupton is a playbook for creative thinking, showing designers how to use storytelling techniques to create satisfying graphics, products, services and experiences. Whether crafting a digital app or a data-rich publication, designers invite people to enter a scene and explore what’s there. An intriguing logo, page layout or retail space uses line, shape and form to lead users on dynamic journeys.
Design Is Storytelling explores the psychology of visual perception from a narrative point of view. Presenting dozens of tools and concepts in a lively, visual manner, this book will help any designer amplify the narrative power of their work. Use this book to stir emotions, build empathy, articulate values and convey action; to construct narrative arcs and create paths through space; integrate form and language; evaluate a project’s storytelling power, and to write and deliver strong narratives.
Thank you for reading! This was my list on 9 must-read books for designers.
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