Books are a necessity of all designers repertoire. Design books can provide inspiration, new knowledge, refreshing techniques, or just to pass the time and look at pretty pictures. Even though I have only been a designer for just over four years, I have still amassed a fairly decent amount of design books (the shelf on my bookshelf is currently bowing). These are the top books that I have come to own, that I find highly useful for designing everyday. Each book I would recommend to all designers. Please feel free to comment about other great books that I may have missed (or should pick up).
Logo Design Love, The Smashing Book and Logo Lounge are newly added!
David Airey’s Love Design Love is a great resource for anybody thinking about getting into Logo Design. Even if you don’t plan on designing logos, this book is still a great resource for learning about client relations, sketching, and creating successful designs. The book is very easy to read, and is well written.
The Smashing Book is a book from Smashing Magazine about best practices in modern Web design. A different web design professional from around the web writes each of the ten chapters including: Jacob Gube (SixRevisions), Chris Spooner (Spoongraphics), David Leggett (UXBooth), and Steven Snell (VandelayDesign).
I own the first two of these books (in an ever-growing series) and enjoy flipping through them from time to time to get inspired. Each book has 2,000 logos from all around the world. They are all separated into easy to find categories, which makes scanning for a specific type of logo easy. These books are great resources for anybody that designs logos (or ever will).
Even though I have CS4, I still refer to this guide to brush up on Photoshop shortcuts and tricks. The CS4 version is here on Amazon if you want the newest one.
Whenever I am stuck for inspiration, these gems of books (3 books in one little case) provide just the answer. Whether I need general design ideas, layout ideas, or color palette ideas, these books have it all.
This controversial design book by Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic is packed full of excellent design. The topics range from the Iraq War to ‘corporate media,’ with plenty of great design mixed in. Plus Milton Glaser is one of our times greatest designers.
Every graphic designer must know the background of his profession. Each and every style of design today can be traced back to thousands of years ago. This books explains it all, from 35,000 year old cave paintings, to present day design.
‘Missing Manual’ books are literally that, the manual that should have shipped with the product. If you own DW CS3, this is the manual for you! (or pick up the CS4 one here.
This book looks at examples of logos, identities, promotions, brochures, and magazine design that have proven, successful track records. It then explains why each was successful. Very useful book and knowledge to have about design.
I have only begun learning Flash, but this book is proving very useful to a beginner. It splits each chapter into one hour sessions of learning, which is great for someone who wants to learn, but doesn’t have much spare time.
This book is geared more towards magazine and printed material, but nonetheless an interesting read. The author hand sketches most of the artwork showing the do’s and dont’s of print layouts. Even if you just flip through this one at the book store, you will get something out of it.
This book is THE source of inspiration that I come to first when I am designing a website. The author has spent countless hours separating all of the web into distinct categories, and then picking the cream of the crop sites that belong in each. I am patiently waiting for the second installment of the book (maybe this site will be in there).
I have not finished this book yet, but from what I have read, it is a must read for anybody that writes for the web. Whether you write a blog, do web design, or copy-writing work, this book will greatly increase your knowledge of web writing.
Goes into every tiny aspect of being a graphic designer (mainly freelance but also in-house), from picking a good partner to work with, to setting up an office. The book is a very quick read, with priceless knowledge from some of the todays top designers (it also has great interviews with some of them as well). I would recommend this book to every designer out there!
There are 8 (that I know of) Web Design Index’s published, this one (number 3) being the most common one, that you will find it at most book stores. I own volumes 1-3 and each is packed full of great inspiration of amazing websites.