15 Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read


For starting designers, a few guidelines can make a real difference between a smooth debut, with a clean work flow and a stressful one, with tons of coffee both spilled and drunk. This set of books will provide a useful set of advices a designer should know: design, business, how to handle clients, pricing and more. Here they are.

Essential Principles of Graphic Design by Debbie Millman

1000 Graphic Elements by W. Harvey

A Smile in the Mind – Witty Thinking in Graphic Design by Beryl McAlhone & David Stuart

The Graphic Design Business Book – Tad Crawford

Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design by Bryony Gomez

Becoming a Graphic Designer: A Guide to Careers in Design by Steven Heller and Teresa Fernandes

Typeface: Classic Typography for Contemporary Design by Tamye Riggs

Graphic Design Exercise Book – Creative Assignments to Enhance Your Skills and Develop Your Portfolio by Carolyn Knight and Jessica Glaser

Great Graphic Design on a Budget – How to Do More with Less by Scott Witham

Graphic Design: The New Basics by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips

A History of Graphic Design by Philip B. Meggs

Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Books by Jason Godfrey

100 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers by PLAZM

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook Pricing & Ethical Guidelines

Thinking with Type: A Primer for Designers: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students by Ellen Lupton

Selling Graphic & Web Design by Donald Sparkman

Designing with Type – The Essential Guide to Typography by James Craig

How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman

How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy

Design Diaries: Creative Process in Graphic Design by Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright

Graphic Design: A User’s Manual by Adrian Shaughnessy

How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired by Fig Taylor

What is Typography? by David Jury

The Elements of Graphic Design – Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type by Alex W.White

Do you know any other useful books for graphic designers? Please share them with us.


  1. Areus says

    Seriously surprised I didn’t see Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. Every graphic designer should have that book.

    • Popcorn says

      i love how every time i see one of these lists, there is always some pretentious reply saying “oh that is good and all but you forgot blah, blah, blah…” MAKE YOUR OWN LIST THEN!

  2. Christina Moore says

    I’ll definitely be adding a few of those to my Christmas list! Since I am still in school, I am constantly working on side projects and building my portfolio, hoping that the hard work pays off. I came across this contest the other day were designers submit brochures, flyers, posters, etc. that they have transformed into pieces of art. There are tons of cool prizes, like a new Macbook or $1,000 in cash! Plus new pieces to add to your portfolio. Check it out! http://www.design-egency.com/