5 Great Books for Graphic Designers

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The field of graphic design is a constantly evolving one keeping current with your field is an absolute must. There’s always external research and review to be done, from reading design blogs to viewing the work of other designers on a regular basis.

But in addition to viewing online and digital content such as ezines, design galleries, and blogs, books are still an excellent investment of the graphic designer’s time and energy to consume. Here are five current books for graphic designers of every stripe.

1. Graphic Design School – 5th Edition, by David Dabner, Sandra Stewart, Eric Zempol

A must-read for the student or emerging professional graphic designer, Graphic Design School covers all aspects of design from print and magazine design to website and mobile app design. This foundational text is meant to serve as a basis for the beginning graphic designer, but is still well worth keeping on the shelf even if you’re a seasoned veteran of design.

2. 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design, by Steven Heller, Veronique Vienne

This landmark text presents a chronology of one hundred concepts that fashioned graphic design as we know it, including whitespace, layering, asymmetry, unusual typography, and much much more. It also includes methodologies past and present, as well as how these concepts have been applied to physical objects.

3. Designing Design, by Kenya Hara

Much of graphic design pays homage to Swiss and German influences; however, this fascinating text focuses on the influence of Japanese graphic designers and the importance of Japan as a hub of brilliant design. Well-researched and heavily illustrated, this book is a must-read for students in order to understand the influence of non-western design concepts.

4. Unflattening, by Nick Sousanis

A highly unusual book published by Harvard University Press, this text – praised by PrintMags as one of its top 25 design books – is a graphic arts publication based on the idea that imagery is much more important than words when demonstrating concepts of design. This groundbreaking and non-traditional text is yet another must-read for graphic designers of all levels of experience. Its comic book layout may well it a more interesting read than some of its counterparts, as this unusual approach to teaching graphic design is visually engaging in every aspect of its presentation.

5. Interaction of Color: 50th Anniversary Edition, by Josef Albers

A design text focuses solely on color theory and interaction, this intense standby text is critical for designers who want to deepen their understanding of color theory in design. With concise technicality, Albers breaks down how different colors interact with one another, describes the qualities of them, and simplifies the understanding of the complex and technical nature of color theory. Especially useful for students of graphic design, this text is nevertheless worthy of occupying space on your bookshelf as both teacher and reference at every stage of the graphic designer’s career, whether you are a first year undergraduate student or preparing for retirement.

Each of these books presents different facets of graphic design, and in various ways, will deepen the graphic designer’s understanding of their field across technical, stylistic, and historical concepts in graphic design. Whether you’re a lover of hard copy texts or e-books, taking a bit of time every day to read one of these excellent texts will increase your understanding of this dynamic, ever expanding, and fascinating field – and in so doing, will also make you a better graphic designer.

Related Resource: Top 20 Best Affordable Graphic Design Degree Programs

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