Those of us in the graphic design and web development field know that our education never stops. Technology is constantly advancing. Trends are always changing. Therefore, it’s important to stay current and strive to learn something new every day.
I’m a big reader; that’s how I keep on top of today’s most recent trends and techniques. Whether the medium is a blog post online, an article in one of the various design newsletters I subscribe to, or a good old-fashioned hard-copy book, reading is my link to continuing self-education.
I know what you’re thinking: “Who would want to read a book about web design? How boring….” I admit, maybe they aren’t for everyone, but I certainly have found some development publications to be incredibly helpful. Plus, any good design book is going to have a ton of large, glossy photos for inspiration, and you can’t beat a good picture book, right?
Designer Bogdan Sandu put together a convenient list of his suggestions on Books For Graphic Designers To Read in 2017 in his article on Design your way. I personally haven’t yet read any of the books on his list, but several of them have now been added to my “I’ll get to it as soon as I’m not working on a bunch of projects” list. See which books I plan on reading below, and be sure to take a look at Sandu’s full list.
Making and Breaking the Grid by Timothy Samara
$20.62 on Amazon
For designers working in every medium, layout is arguably the most basic, and most important, element. Effective layout is essential to communication and enables the end user to not only be drawn in with an innovative design but to digest information easily.
Making and Breaking the Grid is a comprehensive layout design workshop that assumes that in order to effectively break the rules of grid-based design, one must first understand those rules and see them applies to real-world projects.
This book is first on my list because, as a designer, coming up with exciting and attention-grabbing layouts is a difficult task for me. I find myself always getting caught in the “everything must be rectangular and fit into the grid” rut. It’s never too late to learn new ways to break the container and use purposeful layout techniques to direct your audience toward the most important content on a page.
Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler
$22.96 on Amazon
From research and analysis through brand strategy, design development through application design, and identity standards through launch and governance, Designing Brand Identity, Fourth Edition offers brand managers, marketers, and designers a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity. Enriched by new case studies showcasing successful world-class brands, this Fourth Edition brings readers up to date with a detailed look at the latest trends in branding, including social networks, mobile devices, global markets, apps, video, and virtual brands.
Branding projects often come up in my design work. As a freelancer, expect to be asked to tackle all sorts of problems, especially if your client is a small business. From color schemes and fonts, to logos and business cards, you’ll probably have to build (or rebuild) brands from scratch. It can’t hurt to have a few tried-and-true methods in your toolbox to make the whole process easier on you.
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
$12.99 on Amazon
Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of ornaments and captions, lining and non-lining numerals, the use of small caps and enlarged capitals, as well as information on captions, font licensing, mixing typefaces, and hand lettering. Throughout the book, visual examples show how to be inventive within systems of typographic form—what the rules are and how to break them. Thinking with Type is a type book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words.
Last added to my list is Thinking with Type. Typography is an integral—and inescapable—component of any design. Not only does it help create a cohesive aesthetic, but it also communicates to the viewer through visual language. And, since rich typography is trending in web design this year, it’s important to understand how to effectively pair typefaces for increased impact.
Have you already read read one of these books? Did you pick one for your reading list? I want to hear your review. Let me know if it’s worth a read in the comments below.