Recommended Reads: Books For Graphic Designers

#1 – Burn Your Portfolio

The "stuff they don't teach you in design school, but should." From how to handle difficult clients, to calculating your freelance rate, to writing carefully crafted emails, Michael Janda's casual and fun writing style make this book an quick, easy and enjoyable read.

This is by far my favorite design book, especially suited for those first looking to step foot in the design world. What makes this book unique is that it provides a ton of practical, real world advice and insight that designers encounter in their everyday work.


#2 – Thinking With Type

This is a great introduction to typography. Ellen Lupton easily lays out the history of type, its anatomy, styles, techniques and etiquette as well as outlines the various rules and common "type crimes" designers may encounter. There are also some great recommendations for iconic fonts to add to your type library. Each page is filled with useful visuals and examples that make this an informative read.

Also, check out Ellen Lupton's free Typography That Works course currently on Skillshare.


#3 – How To Be A Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

Most designers, at one time or another, get stuck in a rut. You may question the work you're creating or the clients you're working with. If you're not doing work that is meaningful you can easily lose motivation and become burned out.

This book gives insightful advice to any designer looking to maintain a healthy and positive outlook throughout their design career. It covers topics such as design ethics, interview do's and don'ts, criteria for good design, and determining the right time to freelance or set up your own studio.


#4 – Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything

Aaron Draplin is a pretty amazing dude! Just look at that front cover. This book is great for someone looking for design inspiration. It's packed with pages and pages of sketches, magazine spreads, products, logos, posters and more. His humble beginnings, down-to-earth nature and work ethic make me a fan!

For more on Arron Draplin check out his courses on Skillshare.


#5 – Before & After: How To Design Cool Stuff

Before & After originally started out as a design magazine created by John McWade back in the 1980's during the rise of desktop publishing. Its sole purpose was to teach graphic design.

Real-life projects are used as examples to explain the decision-making process of good design. John McWade brings clarity and understanding to the question of why certain designs work better than others. His design techniques are especially helpful for those interested in print and page layout design.

More can been found on their website Before & After.