Top 10 books for graphic designers

My Top 10 Books for Graphic Designers

I think any graphic designer who has trained in print design will always have a soft spot for actual books. I have a Kindle, but there are hardly any graphic design books I would opt to download on that rather than buy the real thing. They’re usually full of pictures, for a start. Can you imagine a kid being happy with reading Spot (you know, the lift the flaps book from your childhood) on a black and white Kindle? No. Some books just work better in real life.


Here (in no particular order) are my top picks:

How To be A Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul

Great for people just starting out, but even seasoned designers will find it a good read, especially if you’re considering leaving employment to go freelance/set up your own business.


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

Designing brand identity

Branding projects are often a graphic designers favourite. Knowing the theory behind branding is important, and this book is the absolute best for learning all about it. Due for a new release in November 2017, I’ve already reserved my copy!


Information is Beautiful

Information is Beautiful

If you’re wanting some infographic inspiration, this is the book for you. Beautifully designed, great for flicking through to see the variety of ways you could display data and statistics. You might learn something in the process too!


Basics Design

Basics Design Series - Layout

Ok, this isn’t just a recommendation for one book – it’s an entire series! Absolutely ideal for anyone just starting off in design, these books cover everything – layout, format, grids, print & finish and lots more! So if you think there’s a technical area you’re lacking in, it’s certainly worth checking these little gems out.


Ladies of Letterpress: Dedicated to the Proposition that a Woman’s Place is in the Printshop

Ladies of Letterpress

Ok, full honesty here – I don’t actually HAVE this book yet, but I’ve drooled over it many a time in the bookstore and it is top of my list as soon as I can afford it. Heck, I have a birthday coming up, perhaps somebody would like to buy me it. It’s absolutely jam packed of the most beautiful letterpress artwork. And it comes with POSTERS! So the beauty does not ave to stay contained within the book itself! Oh my goodness!


Know Your Onions: Graphic Design: How to Think Like a Creative, Act Like a Businessman and Design Like a God

Know Your Onions

With a title like that, what’s not to love? Ok, I’m easily sold… but for the more discerning amongst you I’ll elaborate. It’s great for those starting out, but I’ll put money on even those who have been in the graphic design game a while learning something new from this. Written in a way that’s really easy to digest, something that you can keep on going back to.


Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business

Work for money, design for love

I read this book when I first went freelance. It gave me SO much useful information, and a lot of inspiration. If you’re looking for a book to give you more confidence in running your own business, and some really useful, practical tips, then this is for you.


My Creative (Side) Business: The insightful guide to turning your side projects into a full-time creative business: Volume 2 (Insightful Guides for Freelancers)

My Creative (Side) Business

This is the most recent book I’ve read that relates to my career. It’s fantastic if you’re looking for ways to bump up your income using passive income streams. I thought I had already thought up all the passive income streams open to me… I was wrong! This book contains some great inspirational stories from people who have found some fantastically creative ways to make a little (or a lot) of extra money in addition to their standard income.


All Messed Up

All Messed Up

It hasn’t got a wealth of reviews on Amazon, but I actually really like this. It’s a nice reminder that sometimes great ideas come from mistakes. A lesson in not being too precious in your experiments, letting things flow organically and seeing where they go.


Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills

Be a free range human

Ah, the book that started it all. It was actually my partner reading this which set him off on his freelance career, closely followed by me. If you’re currently in full-time employment and actually considering going freelance, you won’t be considering it after reading this. You’ll be doing it. Employers – if you see one of your employees reading this, you might want to hide it, or start looking for their replacement!


That brings me to the end of my list, but I would love to hear what graphic design books you would recommend to me! Leave a comment and let me know!

Write a Reply or Comment