Graphic design is applicable to an array of careers, including corporate branding, album covers, fashion design, and more. Although many graphic designers may work independently, they often work as part of a collaborative team to finalize or optimize a particular project. 

There are a lot of components to learn when it comes to graphic design, that's why learning from the experts can be highly beneficial. We've gathered up the best graphic design books in this guide so you can start gaining the knowledge you want.

Best Graphic Design Books

Even if you’re not an independent graphic designer, knowing the fundamentals of graphic design can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. Below are the top 10 books on graphic design to help you improve your skills and learn more.

1. Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton

Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton

Thinking with Type is a critical guide for graphic designers, writers, and editors. As it turns out, all of these readers can benefit from learning the fundamentals of design. In this best-selling book, you’ll learn about how to use typography for visual communication purposes, from the printed page to the computer screen.

Furthermore, this book contains the most recent information about style sheets, ornaments, captions, and more. Not only does Lupton explain each element of graphic design, but provides visuals to help you better understand how to be inventive within systems of typographic form. 

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2. How to be a Graphic Designer by Adrian Shaughnessy

How to be a Graphic Designer by Adrian Shaughnessy

Since it was published in 2005, How to be a Graphic Designer (without losing your soul) became an instant best-seller. A now trusted resource for graphic designers around the globe, this book combines practical advice and philosophical guidance to help young graphic designers embark on their careers.

By reading this, you’ll learn how to cultivate the much-needed professional skills of design, how to enjoy the creative process, and what the rise of digital culture entails for graphic designers. Whether you’re looking to set up a studio, find more work, or collaborate with new clients, this book is the next go-to tool for graphic designers everywhere. 

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3. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann

Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann

Grid Systems in Graphic Design is a visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers, and three dimensional designers. A grid system is the rigid framework created to help graphic designers stay organized and keep information on a page. The grid system has been established by both print and web designers to create well-structured, balanced designs.

Building a coherent system for page layout is necessary for any type of designer, making the grid system highly beneficial in a variety of ways. In this book, you’ll learn about the functions and rules of the grid system, as well as how to use each grid system presented to you. 

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4. How to by Michael Bierut

How to by Michael Bierut

How to is all about how to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things, look better, and change the world. In this design manual and manifesto, Michael Bierut, one of the world's most famous graphic designers, explains his philosophy on graphic design. In this entertaining guide, you’ll explore how Bierut was able to complete projects for the New York Jets, Saks Fifth Avenue, and more.

If anyone has used graphic design to change the world, it’s Michael Bierut. Each entry of this book illustrates his eclectic approach to his creative work. In this entertaining guide, you’ll gain insight on how graphic designers mix historic images, use working models, and more. 

This book is perfect for anyone interested in how design can put ideas together. Whether you’re a student, artist, or professional designer, learning about the impacts of visual communication will always motivate you to create more. 

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5. The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

The Elements of Typographic Style has been referred to as the solid foundation of typography for professional graphic designers. If you’re a graphic designer who’s looking to explore new fonts, this is the book for you. Perfect for both newspaper copyfitters or web graphic designers, this book is insightful and informative.

In this, Bringhurst explains the history of typesetting and spreads his enthusiasm for graphic design straight to the reader. This is a must-buy for anyone dealing with the printed or web page design.

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6. Logo Modernism by Jens Muller and R. Roger Remington

Logo Modernism by Jens Muller and R. Roger Remington

Modern design has shown the power of human beings to reshape their environment and escape the technological limits of the past. The distillation of modernism in graphic design is one of the most fascinating examples of this. In Logo Modernism, authors Muller and Remington bring together over 6,000 trademarks to examine how modernist attitudes gave birth to a new corporate identity. 

Ranging from media outlets to retail giants, elements of graphic design can be seen everywhere. Although often overlooked, modern movements have taken control over these visual elements. In this, you’ll learn about the history of modernism, graphic design, and how each famous graphic designer got their work out in the open. 

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7. 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design by Steven Heller 

100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design by Steven Heller

In 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, Steven Heller demonstrates the most influential ideas that changed the course of graphic design forever. In fact, those ideas have manifested themselves into recent designs. 

By reading this fascinating book, you’ll learn about font usage, design in the architectural realm, and the fundamentals of design. Instead of diving deep into the history of each subject, Heller gets straight to the point, explaining the why and how of each idea.

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8. Graphic Design: The New Basics by Ellen Lupton

Graphic Design- The New Basics by Ellen Lupton

In this best-selling introduction to graphic design, you’ll learn which key concepts of visual language inform the work of design. From logo, letterhead, to a complex website, graphic design informs almost all forms of imagery. Through concise commentary and visual demonstrations, Ellen Lupton explores the formal elements of two dimensional design.

By reading this, you’ll learn about visualization data, modes of representation, typography, and more. Whether you’re a new design student or an experienced professional, this book will help you apply your new knowledge and improve your designs. 

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9. Know Your Onions: Graphic Design by Drew De Soto

Know Your Onions- Graphic Design by Drew De Soto

Filled with applicable advice, Know Your Onions is a graphic design book filled with actionable tools. In this, you’ll learn how to develop your concepts and create designs that are engaging. Skip your years of on-the-job training by reading this book and you’ll feel like you’re speeding through your graphic design career with Drew De Soto as your mentor.

Gain 25 years of experience by the end of this book by reading about suppliers, studios, and attracting clients. 

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10. Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler

Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler

Designing Brand Identity is the best-selling toolkit for creating, building, and maintaining a strong brand. This book offers brand managers, digital marketers, and graphic designers a proven, five-phase process for creating an effective brand identity. Enriched with new case studies from world-class brands, this book teaches you how design influences audiences.

By reading this, you’ll learn about the latest design trends in global markets, social networks, apps, and more. Graphic design is one of the most important factors of marketing, making it useful for anyone in business to learn more. 

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Learning Graphic Design

All in all, the influence of graphic design can be seen everywhere, from a billboard on the street to a pop-up ad on your device. Learning about the elements and fundamentals of graphic design can help you establish a brand identity, jumpstart your design career, and improve your skillset. You can also add to your knowledge by taking a graphic design course, as well. So get reading, get learning, and develop your graphic design skills now.

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