10 Best Design Books to Perfect your Designing Skills

If you are a design student and are struggling to find the perfect book for yourself, you have come to the right place. We understand that learning design is not a child’s play, be it graphic design, or something else.

These design books offer you a wide range of topics with a constant focus on becoming a more smart designer, preparing you for a great career as a designer.

We have actively curated this list for your individual design requirements, whether you’re a graphic design undergraduate seeking design concepts or a seasoned designer looking for publications on design systems. To improve as a designer, use this list of design books as a guide on what to study, research, and apply.

10 Best Design Books to Perfect your Designing Skills

1. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

Designing Brand Identity An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

Author: Alina Wheeler, Debbie Millman
Publisher: Wiley
Edition: 5th
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the book:

Whether you’re in charge of a rebranding initiative for your organization or need to teach your employees or students about brand principles, Designing Brand Identity is a must-have resource. Designing Brand Identity is a collection of resources for branding success and best practices for inspiration, from research to brand strategy to design execution, launch, and governance.

For all brand builders, global and local, Designing Brand Identity is a thorough, pragmatic, and easy-to-understand reference. It’s a must-have for anyone putting together a complete brand strategy.

This is a book that should be read by every designer and marketer. I was able to have a better understanding of the value of a brand and the role of a brand gatekeeper as a result of this article.

What you’ll learn

  • Fundamentals, process fundamentals, and case studies
  • Over 100 branding topics, checklists, tools, and illustrations
  • 50 case studies that outline the goals, method, strategy, solution, and outcomes
  • Over 700 drawings of brand connections
  • More than 400 quotations from branding professionals, CEOs, and design geniuses

You can buy this book from here.

2. Thinking with Type

Thinking with type A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students

Author: Ellen Lupton
Publisher: Princeton Architectural
Edition: 2nd
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the author

Ellen Lupton is a designer, curator, writer, and educator. She works at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City as a Senior Curator of Contemporary Design. Health Design Thinking and Extra Bold, a feminist career guide for designers, are two new ventures. Lupton is the founder and head of MICA’s Graphic Design MFA Program.

About the book

The authoritative guide to utilizing typography in visual communication, Thinking with Type is a must-have for anybody interested in visual communication. Ellen Lupton gives specific instructions for aligning, spacing, ordering, and shaping letters, sentences, and paragraphs. From fonts and type families to kerning and tracking to grid use, the book covers all you need to know about typography.

Visual examples demonstrate how to be creative within typographic form systems, including how to defy the restrictions and what they are. Plus, hundreds of fresh examples, activities, and new eye-opening demonstrations of fundamental font design using letters.

Designers, authors, editors, students, and anybody else who works with words will enjoy Thinking with Type. Ellen Lupton’s tutorial illustrates how fonts work if you enjoy font and calligraphy books.

What you’ll learn

  • The use of decorations and captions in print and web style sheets
  • Numbers, both lined and non-lining
  • The usage of tiny caps and capital letters
  • Combining fonts
  • Font formats as well as font licensing

You can buy this book from here.

3. The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things Revised and Expanded Edition

Author: Don Norman
Publisher: Basic books
Edition: Revised
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the author

Don Norman, a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, has doctorate degrees in both engineering and psychology. Emotional Design, The Design of Future Things, and Living with Complexity are just a few of his numerous books. He currently resides in California’s Silicon Valley.

About the book

Design doesn’t have to be difficult, which is why this approach to human-centered design emphasizes the importance of use with aesthetics.

This brilliant — even freeing — the book argues that the blame rests not with ourselves, but with product design that overlooks user demands and cognitive psychology principles. The issues vary from confusing and concealed controls to arbitrary links between controls and functions, as well as a lack of feedback or other help and onerous memorizing expectations.

It demonstrates that good, useful design is achievable.

The guidelines are simple: make things visible, make use of natural linkages that link function and control, and utilize restrictions wisely. The objective is to assist the users with the right approach on the right thumbstick at the appropriate moment.

You can buy this book from here.

4. 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design

100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design

Author: Steven Heller
Publisher: Laurence King Publisher
Edition: 2nd
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the author

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at SVA in New York and the co-founder of the MFA in Design Criticism program. He worked at the New York Times for 33 years as an art director.

The author is the editor of AIGA VOICE and a contributing editor to Print, Eye, Baseline, and I.D. He has written over 120 books about design and popular culture. He was awarded the AIGA Lifetime Achievement Medal in 1999.

About the book

This book, the latest in the “100 Concepts that Changed…” series, shows how ideas have inspired and defined graphic design, as well as how those ideas have expressed themselves in design products. Technical overprinting, rub-on designs, and split fountains are among the 100 choices, which also include stylistic swashes on capitals, loud font, and white space; items dust jackets, design handbooks; and techniques paper cut-outs, pixelation.

You can buy this book from here.

5. LOGO Design Love

Logo Design Love A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, 2nd Edition

Author: David Airey
Publisher: Peachpit press
Edition: 2nd
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the author

David Airey operates an independent graphic design agency in Northern Ireland, where he collaborates with customers all over the world to help them expand their companies via distinctive, meaningful, and expressive design.

About the book

The second version of David Airey’s Logo Design Love is completely revised and enlarged, including additional case studies, drawings, and logos, as well as more suggestions for interacting with clients, insider anecdotes, and practical knowledge for getting the job done well.

With the use of client case studies from famous designers, David shows you how to create a memorable business identity from beginning to end in Logo Design Love. He demonstrates how designers produce successful briefs, generate ideas, price their services, and communicate with clients as a result of this process.

What you’ll learn

  • Best techniques for transforming a logo into a whole brand identity system
  • Why is one logo more powerful than another?
  • How to Design Your Own Iconic Icons
  • What distinguishes certain designers from the rest?
  • 31 practical design suggestions for long-lasting logos

You can buy this book from here.

6. The art of looking sideways

The Art of Looking Sideways

Author: Alan Fletcher
Publisher: Phaidon press
Edition:1st
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the book

The Art of Looking Sideways is a visual intelligence primer that delves into the inner workings of the eye, hands, brain, and creativity. It’s an endless well of tales, quotes, photos, strange facts, useless information, curiosities, serious science, jokes, and recollections, all of which are focused on the interaction between the verbal and the pictorial, as well as the human mind’s boundless resources.

All of this content is presented in a marvelously innovative set of pages that are themselves masterful displays of the expressive use of text, space, color, and images, loosely organized in 72 chapters.

You can buy this book from here.

7. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

Change by Design, Revised and Updated How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

Author: Tim Brown
Publisher: Harper Business
Edition: Revised
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the author

IDEO’s CEO and President is Tim Brown. IDEO is a multinational consultancy that contributed to ground-breaking technologies such as Apple’s first mouse and the Palm V. It is ranked separately among the top ten most inventive organizations in the world.

About the book

The myth of creativity holds that amazing ideas emerge fully formed from geniuses’ heads. Most innovations, in actuality, are the result of a thorough assessment process in which exceptional ideas are found and refined before becoming new services and capabilities.

Change by Design outlines design thinking, a collaborative process in which a designer’s sensibility and approaches are used to match people’s wants with not just what is technically doable, but also what is financially viable. Design thinking transforms a requirement into a demand. It’s a human-centered problem-solving strategy that encourages people and organizations to be more imaginative and creative.

You can buy this book from here.

8. A designer’s art

Paul Rand A Designer's Art

Author: Paul Rand
Publisher: Princeton Architectural press
Edition: Illustrated edition
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the author

Paul Rand was a prominent American graphic designer of the twentieth century. He not only taught graphic design at Yale for over thirty years, but he also created the iconic logos for IBM, ABC, and UPS. He passed away in 1966.

About the book

If Paul Rand was the most significant American graphic designer of the twentieth century, Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art is the most essential collection of his work. A Designer’s Art is a comprehensive collection of Rand’s most important and well-known designs that provides a unique look into his design process and thinking.

This long-out-of-print updated version of Rand’s classic book faithfully reproduces the original’s graphic excellence. There are almost 200 pictures and twenty-seven articles in this edition, as well as a new afterword by Steven Heller. Anyone with an interest in current design should read this book.

You can buy this book from here.

9. The Graphic Design Idea Book: Inspiration from 50 Masters

The Graphic Design Idea Book Inspiration from 50 Masters

Author: Steven Heller
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Edition:1st
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the author

Steven Heller is the editor of AIGA VOICE and a contributing editor to Print, Eye, Baseline, and I.D. He is the author of over 120 design and popular culture publications, including Design Literacy, Paul Rand, and Stylepedia. The author was awarded the AIGA Lifetime Achievement Medal in 1999.

About the book

This book serves as a primer on the fundamentals of effective design.

Key works by prominent designers help to explain technical aspects and motivate readers to try out fresh ideas in sections addressing the fundamental principles of design. Form, story, color, type and image, decoration, simplicity, and wit and humor are among the topics explored.

As a consequence, you’ll get an instantaneous and simple-to-understand reference to expert graphic design approaches.

You can buy this book from here.

10. Designing design

Designing Design

Author: Kenya Hara
Publisher: LarsMuller
Edition: 4th
Available in: Kindle, Paperback

About the book

Kenya Hara (born 1958), who represents a new generation of Japanese designers, pays homage to his predecessors by incorporating long-overlooked Japanese motifs and imagery in much of his work.

In Designing Design, he emphasizes the importance of “emptiness” in both Japanese visual and philosophical traditions, as well as its application to design, through numerous examples from his own work.

He joined the board of directors of the Japanese label MUJI in 2001 and has played an important role in shaping the company’s character as a communication and design advisor ever since.

You can buy this book from here.

Conclusion

That’s a wrap for this article. However, the market is flooded with so many design books for your to explore. Do your research and get your hands on the best ones to polish and perfect your design skills. No matter which book you read, it is important to get down to the basics first before you move on to the more complex books. Which of these books have you read already? Let us know via comments.

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