Top 12 Best Design Books for Beginners

Design screen

More and more, design is an essential part of the business world and our everyday life. When it comes to creating a brand, design is one of the most important factors, it’s what will distinguish you from other brands and raise attention to the desired target.

When it’s made with dedication, attention, and creativity, it will generate a sensation of trust and curiosity towards that brand. A clear example of this - the logo, this little detail is more important than many might think, as a logo is the first thing a client sees and will impact their judgment.

If you are looking to journey into the design world, then the best way to do it is by looking into the right information. Therefore, here are 12 of the best books that will help you begin this journey. Let’s find out.

1. Design of Everyday Things

Check out on

Originally published in 1988, the “Design of Everyday Things” was written by Don Norman. This book explains the link between what’s created and who creates it. Norman expresses the idea that design influences the way objects are interpreted and how much it influences our judgment through everyday things, but also how a bad design leads to frustration and incapacity to easily understand those same objects. Not a common book, but a powerful one.

2. The Shape of Design

Check out on

An atypical book from the common design books. Written by Frank Chimero, this book studies the idea of questioning instead of explaining. An important part of the design world is understanding the reason for doing it, what this work makes you feel, and what story your work is trying to tell. For those with a passion for design, this passionate book is an absolute must.

3. Thinking With Type

Check out on

Specifying an essential part of the design: Typography. This book was launched in 2004, by Ellen Lupton, and it helps future designers dealing with the eternal conflict of choosing the right font for your work. Typography might not sound so important, but it’s a great part of the process. A useful book, not only for designers, but also for editors or writers.

4. The Non-designer’s Design Book

Check out on

This book is easy to read for those who don’t have much knowledge in design. Written by the design instructor Robin Williams, this book is a quick and practical way of someone learning, with tips and training exercises, how to help anyone interested in beginning their design journey.

5. How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Thing Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World

Check out on

By far the book with the longest title, written by one of the most renowned graphic designers, Michael Bierut. A book that is less of a practical guide, but a guide made with the knowledge and accomplishments of the author. A publication that will give the reader tricks and tips followed by the author through its career, as well as his most iconic jobs. A real inspiration for all the aspiring designers.

6. Paul Rand’s: A Designer’s Art

Check out on

This publication gives an idea of the theories and creative process of the author, Paul Rand. Paul is one of the most influential American designers, and in his book, he gives the reader a small description of his work, but also how he connected with his clients, how he responded to its crowd, and the passion he has for his art. Completed with essays and a great number of illustrations, it’s a necessity for anyone passionate about design.

7. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Check out on

Published in 2012 by Austin Kleon, this book is a New York Times Bestseller from the day it was published. A work that explores creativity, showing that this is something that lives inside of everyone, how much it’s important to use it, and learning without feeling demotivated that every artist has a source of inspiration, and it’s important to embrace it. This book gives great suggestions on how to boost creativity. Captivating, original, and perfect to encourage your artistic sense.

8. Graphic Design: The New Basics

Check out on

Written by the same author of “Thinking With Type”, Ellen Lupton, this book gives a full idea of the design world. Exploring all the elements that compose it through visual explanations, it offers the reader a connection between the simpler and more complex elements of this area. A design book destined for everyone who wants to learn and ideal for all the design students out there.

9. How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

Check out on

A completely different book from the typical design publications. Adrian Shaughnessy and Stefan Sagmeister used this book to pass on a more raw truth about the design business, like the challenges of finding work, what to do when that isn’t possible, how to deal with hard clients, and a few other difficult parts of the job. Dedicated to helping the young designers that want to start their careers, it shows what to avoid and what to be careful about.

10. Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

Check out on

David Airey’s book shows the public the experience of designing logos. Focusing more on the process of creating a logo, it guides the reader through the whole process from the beginning until the finished process, using as examples real cases and passing on his personal experiences.

11. The Design Process

Check out on

Written by Karl Aspelind, the design process is a book that leads the reader through his seven steps of the design process. Starting from the moment the idea appears in his head until the final result, this book will give you full intel with the perspectives of designers from different areas. It includes a chapter with exercises to put the reader to test and bring its ideas to life.

12. Graphic Design Visionaries

Check out on

A compilation of 75 of the most influential designers in the world. This book by Caroline Roberts tells the journey of each of these designers during their professional career in graphic design. Written chronologically, it shows the evolution and development of the design and it’s a guide by some of the most brilliant minds in the field.

A Final Word

Design is a growing field that every day brings more creative minds to the profession, however, there’s a lot to learn about all the small things that revolve around design, and luckily there are a lot of creative minds out there ready to share their knowledge with those beginning in the field. Hopefully, these books will give you complete insight, so choose the one you relate to the most, and good readings!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.