14 Essential Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read For Heavenly Inspiration

Books are your best friend.

There is an absolute truth to this statement, no matter how cliche it may sound to you. They are essentially a pathway to success filled with findings, lessons, and experiences of other people. 

This knowledge places you at an advantage and helps you get a headstart on several things, and this couldn’t be more true for graphic designers. 

Graphic design is one of the most exciting fields that are out there because it incorporates a digital platform into the traditional artistic process of creation and creativity.

However, despite its allure and appeal, graphic design is a challenging career to navigate. Most people don’t know which jobs they should take or how they can manage their brands with their graphic designing skills.

So if you are one of those people, don’t worry, because we have your back. In this article, we’ll help you answer these tough questions. Or rather, we’ll help you find the right person who can help answer these questions for you.

Wondering how? Well, here’s a great list of the most essential 14 books you need to read so that you can achieve all of your graphic designing goals.


1. Grid Systems In Graphic Design By Josef Brockmann

Brockman’s book is primarily for professional graphic designers because it’s beneficial for learning about the different ways to use grid systems. And although it was released some time back in 1961, this book is still handy for all professionals who need to become proficient in computer-assisted design.

Furthermore, it also contains practical examples of working at the correct conceptual level and adequately using the whole range of 8 to 32 fields. So for anyone who needs expertise in problem-solving, Grid Systems In Graphic Design would make a great choice.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design | Ownetic Items


2. The Elements Of Typographic Style By Robert Bringhurst

It’s rare to see a typographer and poet all in one, but Robert is one of the few! With his stern, authoritative teaching tone, his book proves to be very helpful. 

It starts by giving you historical and theoretical knowledge about graphic designing and then translates that into practical expertise by enabling you to complete the tasks yourself.

What’s even better is that The Elements Of Typographic Style contain the latest innovations in the intelligent font software, and therefore is an excellent choice for all graphic designers, editors, and even anyone who uses digital methods in jobs relating to print.

The Elements of Typographic Style / Robert Bringhurst – Draw Down


3. The Geometry Of Type: The Anatomy Of 100 Essential Typefaces by Stephen Coles

If there was anyone who could speak with real passion and love about something as simple as typefaces, it was Robert Cole.

In his book, you will find beautifully detailed information on the 100 different types of both modern and conventional typefaces. Each typeface has its characters analyzed and key features studied to illustrate how it affects the reader’s mood and the text’s clarity.

Additionally, alongside each typeface, you will find listed the best possible ways to use it, such as for a header or the main body. Consequently, Cole’s work is an excellent tool for font spotters, as well as graphic designers and even casual users.

The Geometry of Type – COPYRIGHT Bookshop


4. Just My Type: A Book About Fonts By Simon Garfield

Who knew graphic designing books could be so interesting? This one is less a manual and more of a story, narrating with great passion how the originators of different types lived their lives.

From Zapf and Neville Brody to Baskerville, and even Margaret Culvert, who was the creator of motorway fonts all around the world, this book discusses many of the most significant figures standing behind the emergence of typefaces.

It also mentions that crucial moment when fonts were introduced into the computer, and people started having preferences about typefaces.

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts: Garfield, Simon: 9781592407460: Amazon.com: Books


5. Logo: The Guide To Symbols And Logotypes by Michael Evamy

Michael Evamy’s book is an extremely informative and detailed guide to creating logos, and it also mentions some of the most memorable logos designed throughout history.

With a massive collection of around 1300 different kinds of logos and other symbolic figures that were made by graphic designing masters such as Paul Rand and Saul Bass, this book is a must-have.

Additionally, it’s also an excellent choice for people who are more interested in modern logo designers. It contains 150 design companies from across the globe, with every design categorized according to its most unique or distinguishing features.

Logo: The Reference Guide to Symbols and Logotypes (Corporate Identity Book, Branding Reference for Designers and Design Students) (Mini): Evamy, Michael: 8601422106497: Amazon.com: Books


6. How To Be A Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy

This book is a godsend for people new to graphic designing and with no idea of how to navigate their careers.

To help aspiring designers engage in meaningful and inspiring work and avoid becoming a hired worker doing monotonous designs, Adrian Shaughnessy uses his abundant experience to provide some key insights.

Apart from guiding emerging designers on how to establish their career successfully, this book also talks about the dos and don’ts of running a successful graphic designing business.

Furthermore, the newly updated version covers an even greater range of topics, discussing everything from professional abilities, the process of creation, and rising trends, to the issues of green ethics and the prevalence of the digital culture.

How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul - Adrian Shaughnessy — Bibliografik


7. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide For The Whole Branding Team By Alina Wheeler

Brands are tough to manage. No one disagrees with that, which is why Wheeler’s guide on brands is so essential for brand managers to read. If you’re looking for a comprehensive focus on initiating, building, and sustaining your brand, then look no further than this masterpiece!

Let’s look at all this book has to offer. It begins with a set of rigorous research and reviewing techniques to optimize your brand, then moves on to starting the creation of your design, which includes the design of applications. But the benefits don’t just end there.

Wheeler has also included identity standards and a helpful guide for navigating your brand’s launch and governance. All brand managers and designers must be well acquainted with this handbook to be able to sustain their brand identities effectively.

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team: Wheeler, Alina: 9780470401422: Amazon.com: Books


8. Pantone: The Twentieth Century In Color By Leatrice Eisman

Pantone is a name every graphic designer knows very well. To further understand Pantone and it’s rich past, the company has published this book. It talks about Pantone’s history, from what it was 100 years back to how it has transformed into what it is today.

Pantone’s popularity comes about as a result of the many unique colors it has gifted the world, from Midnight Navy and Rust to Pale Gold and Almost Mauve. If you’re interested in knowing how these colors originated, then Eisman’s book will be the perfect purchase for you.

The book also discusses some of the most significant creations of art and fashion and how they are connected to Pantone colors.

Pantone: The 20th Century in Color - Dwell


9. Know Your Onions By Drew de Soto

If someone offered you a book claiming that you would gain twenty years of experience after reading it, would you believe them? Probably not!

Drew de sotto’s book does just that, however. It starts by teaching you the essential tips to master creativity and then helps you translate that into success as a businessperson before moving to the essentials of excellent design.

Hence, for those who want a book that gets straight down to business, without wasting any time on technicalities or fluff content,  then Know Your Onions is the ideal choice.

Know Your Onions - Graphic Design by BIS Publishers - issuu


10. Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide For Designers, Writers, Editors, and Students by Ellen Lupton

Thinking With Type’s main advantage is that it offers practical information that can be immediately implemented to make a person’s designs significantly better.

When reading this, every graphic designer will gain practical knowledge about the different kinds of typographic forms, which you can then immediately put to use by incorporating them into your design method.

The book has three columns, which are letter, grid, and key. Each row then gives you detailed explanations, along with practical examples, to ensure you understand the content thoroughly.

Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton 


11. Logo Modernism By Jens Muller

Jens Muller talks about one of the most intriguing aspects of design, aesthetics. 

Since aesthetics plays such a massive role in all forms of art and architecture, from being present in the towering skyscrapers, as well as the minimalist room designs, every graphic designer must be thoroughly familiar with this.

Additionally, Muller also discusses the relationship between modernism and graphic designing and how that led to the emergence of corporate identity.

Logo Modernism (English, French and German Edition): Müller, Jens, Remington, R. Roger: 9783836545303: Amazon.com: Books

12. NASA Graphics Standard Manual

The updated NASA manual pays homage to the original NASA transcript that extensively detailed how the design was supposed to be for every aspect of NASA’s brand identity, from the lettering on its space shuttles to its website headers.

NASA Graphics Standards Manual, Reissued – COOL HUNTING®


13. The Designer’s Dictionary Of Color By Sean Adams

If you’re a graphic designer, then that means you must love colors. Or at least, we hope you do!

Sean Adam’s popular book does an in-depth study of the 30 most essential colors that are used in art and design. The colors are organized according to the spectrum and separate sections for easier readability and use. Additionally, you’ll also know about the relevant hues attached to each color chart and its palette variations.

Even for those who want some insight into color’s history and its relationship with culture, The Designer’s Dictionary is a great buy.

The Designer's Dictionary of Color: Adams, Sean: 9781419723919: Amazon.com: Books


14. Aendreas Uebele Material

We finish off this list by discussing one of the most prominent figures in German graphic design.

Starting as an architect, and then going on to bear responsibility for the images of the Reichstag as well as the famous Vitra campus, Uebele’s creative solutions are something everyone must read about.

In his book, you’ll read about 85 different projects that he engaged in. They’ve been divided into two different kinds of materials: the raw materials which they’re composed of, and the materials supplied by collaborators.

andreas uebele material: 9780995666429: Amazon.com: Books

Happy Reading!

Now that you know which books to read to help you become a successful graphic designer don’t waste another minute. Go to your nearest store, buy one of these books, and start reading!

And oh, don’t forget to share your exciting findings with us. We’d love to hear from you.

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan is a storyteller, brand strategist, and growth manager at GoVisually. She loves creating value-driven content for creative professionals.
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