15 Great Books for Designers

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There’s a whole array of books out there that are aimed specifically at designers. Whether you’re a web, graphic or interface designer, there’s a book out there for you. Here are 15 that we think are great.

Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design – Michael Bierut

Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design brings together the best of designer Michael Bierut’s critical writings ranging from the serious to humorous, flattering to biting, but always on the mark. Bierut is widely considered the finest observer on design writing today.

How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer – Debbie Millman

How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer contains an abundant supply of bravery, audacity, candor, humor, and yes, even inspiration from notables like: Michael Bierut, Neville Brody, Seymor Chwast, Chip Kidd, Milton Glaser, Jessica Hefland, Paula Scher, James Victore, and Massimo Vignelli.

Bulletproof Web Design – Dan Cederholm

No matter how visually appealing or content-packed a website may be, if it’s not adaptable to a variety of situations and reaching the widest possible audience, it isn’t really succeeding. In Bulletproof Web Design, author and web designer extraordinaire, Dan Cederholm outlines standards-based strategies for building designs that provide flexibility, readability, and user control–key components of every sucessful site.

Make It Bigger – Paula Scher

An outspoken voice in the world of graphic design for more than twenty years, Paula Scher has developed a worldwide reputation for her bold, modern graphics and her incisive, sometimes stinging, critiques of the design profession.

Making and Breaking the Grid – Timothy Samara

Without a clear, balanced layout, even the most interesting information is likely to be ignored. But balance doesn’t have to mean boring, as cutting-edge designers are showing with exciting new deconstructionist looks. Making and Breaking the Grid is both a practical workshop in traditional layout design and a bold and inspirational guide to breaking the rules.

Designing Brand Identity – Alina Wheeler

Designing Brand Identity helps companies create stronger brands by offering real substance. With an easy-to-follow style, step-by-step considerations, and a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity, the book offers the tools you need, whether a brand manager, marketer, or designer, when creating or managing a brand.

How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul – Adrian Shaughnessy

Graphic designers constantly complain that there is no career manual to guide them through the profession. Now, design consultant and writer Adrian Shaughnessy draws on the wealth of his experience to provide just such a handbook.

The Elements of Graphic Design – Alex W. White

This very popular design book has been wholly revised and expanded to feature a new dimension of inspiring and counterintuitive ideas to thinking about graphic design relationships. The Elements of Graphic Design, Second Edition is now in full color in a larger, 8 x 10-inch trim size, and contains 40 percent more content and over 750 images to enhance and better clarify the concepts in this thought-provoking resource.

The Elements of Typographic Style – Robert Bringhurst

Renowned typographer and poet Robert Bringhurst brings clarity to the art of typography with this masterful style guide. Combining the practical, theoretical, and historical, this edition is completely updated, with a thorough exploration of the newest innovations in intelligent font technology, and is a must-have for graphic artists, editors, or anyone working with the printed page using digital or traditional methods.

Designing with Web Standards – Jeffrey Zeldman

You code. And code. And code. You build only to rebuild. You focus on making your site compatible with almost every browser or wireless device ever put out there. Then along comes a new device or a new browser, and you start all over again.

The Web Designer’s Idea Book – Patrick McNeil

Volume 2 of The Web Designer’s Idea Book includes more than 650 new websites arranged thematically, so you can easily find inspiration for your work. Author Patrick McNeil, creator of the popular web design blog designmeltdown.com and author of the original bestselling Web Designer’s Idea Book, has cataloged thousands of sites, and showcases the latest and best examples in this book.

The Unusually Useful Web Book – June Cohen

The Unusually Useful Web Book is the only book you need to find out everything you need to know about web sites. In fact, it’s 2 books in 1. You can skim the sidebars and checklists for tips and techniques you can use right away. Or you can follow along with the main text for a detailed discussion of planning, designing, building, and maintaining your web site.

Recharge Your Design Batteries – John O’Reilly, Tony Linkson

As a designer, if you find yourself going down the same route time and again, and feel in need of an injection of ideas, then Recharge Your Design Batteries will help shock you out of your complacency, inspire you to look in new directions for radical solutions, and invite you to hone entirely new skill sets.

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design – Jason Beaird

A simple, easy-to-follow guide, illustrated with plenty of full-color examples, this book will lead you through the process of creating great designs from start to finish. Good design principles are not rocket science, and using the information contained in this book will help you create stunning web sites.

Introducing HTML5 – Bruce Lawson, Remy Sharp

Suddenly, everyone’s talking about HTML5, and ready or not, you need to get acquainted with this powerful new development in web and application design. Some of its new features are already being implemented by existing browsers, and much more is around the corner.

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