Recommend Me A Graphic Design Book

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by SubaruNation555, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. SubaruNation555, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010

    SubaruNation555 macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2007
    Arlington, VA USA
    I was wondering if there are any "must read" books out there in the graphic design world. Specifically aspects like: the principles of design, typography, the business itself, and the printing process.

    A Google search yielded several recommendations but I wanted to your get your suggestions as well. Thanks.
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Typography: Buy this book before any others:

    The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

    All else flows from there, including another fave: About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography by David Jury which has some good stuff on grids.

    Production for Graphic Designers by Alan Pipes is another classic, has dated a little, yet offers a broad overview of repro and press.

    A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design by Beryl McAhone is much loved by some ex-colleagues for doing a bit of brain-storming.

    Personally, I couldn't do without Color Index by Jim Krause. His other little Indexes are also great when you're feeling a little stuck. But the most important book of all for those in the UK and EU:

    PANTONE Color Bridge CMYK EC

  3. SubaruNation555, Nov 11, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010

    SubaruNation555 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2007
    Arlington, VA USA
    I'm thinking I'll at least stick The Elements of Typographic Style on my Christmas list. Thanks for your recommendations.
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Let us know what other books you find in your searches or might be considering. Tempted to buy myself a design book or two for Xmas, instead of the software reference books that seem to littering my place at the mo... and maybe others might pick up on your suggestions as well. :)
  5. Daelos macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2008
    final year undergraduate here. personal recommendation (note: i consider myself a typographer, not necessarily graphic designer so some bias in books):

    'Elements of typographic style',

    the 'looking closer' series (because critical engagement with the subject is very useful) - especially 3: good texts from history.

    Herbert Spencer's 'pioneers of modern typography', just cos, yeah. Seminal.

    David Crow: 'Visible signs' - all about semiotics

    'Grid systems' - josef muller brockmann - the defining book on creating grid layouts. very much based on the international style though and so can appear quite dogmatic (especially the examples) but nevertheless perhaps the best book if you only wanted to buy one for grids.

    (plugging my personal tutor) 'Shapes for sounds' by Timothy Donaldson. If you like type, this'll give you a framework for where the letterforms we use today have come from. more about language than type though.

    Also, 'Letters of credit', walter tracy. though difficult to come by.

    business side, Shaughnessy's 'how to be a graphic designer without losing our soul' is well regarded as a good read, especially if you're a student.

    Print processes - you should hopefully learn these on your course anyway, though my tutor who led workshops on printing processes, substrates, and speccing work for printers recommended a book published by AVA, don't remember its name though but will be on their website.

    'A concise history of graphic design' is also good - get you up to speed with the basic heritage of the profession. written by Richard Hollis.

    Agree with the above post about 'About face' by David Jury. Don't have it personally but have used it for essay research and was a very good book.
    'The new Typography' is a good read, though you'll be unlikely to gain visual inspiration from it - it'll give you an insight into the thinking of one of the most influential typographers of the twentieth century. (very dogmatic, read it as a statement of the times - Tschichold himself abandoned the principles he wrote in this book later in his career.

    hope that helps?

    work out what kind of designer you are, then look around is my best advice. most of my bookshelf is cultural anthropology, design history, critical design writing and typographic books - thats just me; my visual stimule comes appropriate to the brief more than visual trends in design so don't really know much about "coffee table" design books
  6. macaddict23 macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2006
    MacVille, USA
  7. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Don't worry, "There's a thread for that";)

    Use of colour… that's always been a bit of a weakness of mine and something I generally always fall a little flat on, fortunately you can seldom go wrong with black & white… or any such permutation, such as white & black… even white, grey & black, but only if I think the client can handle it. :D
  8. MarkHarrisonUK macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2009
    I realise that it's a little off what was asked for, but I couldn't let the thread go past without mentioning the work of Edward Tufte, and specifically the book "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information."

    If ever you end up needing to produce graphics to convey the actual meaning of numbers, I beg you read it rather than coming up with the horror that is most graphs.
  9. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Amen to that. His other books are excellent also.
  10. aaron.lee2006 macrumors 65816


    Feb 23, 2006
    Ontario, Canada
    Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Student by Ellen Lupton

    Logo Design Love by David Airey

    Both great reads and inspirational as well.

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