10 Of The Best Design Books You Have To Read Now

Whether you’re a product design student, or a graphic designer looking for books on design, this list promises you a successful career as a designer by teaching you the universal design principles. Design books are the best medium of learning and to get inspiration for your next creative design works.

As a designer, these books helped me to answer questions I had as a student, and later as a professional designer.

Here are the ten best books on design.

01. Universal Principles of Design

Universal Principles of Design by authors William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, Jill Butler, is an excellent book that condenses a variety of design rules. You can use it like a manual to find the information and know-how required to make a design work.

Inside you will find:

  • 80/20 Rule
  • Affordance
  • Flow
  • Expectation effect
  • Storytelling

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2. The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things by author Don Norman, is a must-read for any designer. The book depicts the flaws that plague the design of everyday objects, which makes our lives more trouble than they need to be.

Inside you will find:

  • The psychopathology of everyday things
  • The paradox of technology
  • The seven stages of action
  • Natural mapping
  • When a good design isn’t enough

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3. Graphic Design — The New Basics by Ellen Lupton

An excellent cover to cover the collection of value for people who are starting in graphic design.

Inside you will find:

  • Beyond the basics
  • Point, line, plane
  • Rhythm and balance
  • Pattern
  • Rules and randomness

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4. Don’t make me Think!

You can consider this book as your guide to make sure that the intended recipient of your design has the most natural way of getting what they want to be done.

Inside you will find:

  • Krug’s first law of usability
  • How we really use the web
  • Designing for scanning, not reading
  • The art of not writing for the web
  • Why your web site should be a mensch

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5. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann

This book focuses on both the conceptual and practical use of grid systems in graphic design. This excellent book helped me a lot with my first projects.

“The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses, and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice.”

– Josef Müller-Brockmann

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6. Designing Design by Kenya Hara

Using long overlooked Japanese icons and images in much of his work, Kenya Hara pays tribute to his mentors. In Designing Design, the author shows us the importance of “emptiness” in both the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan and its application to design.

Inside you will find:

  • Re-Design
  • Haptic
  • Senseware
  • White
  • Muji
  • Viewing the world from the tip Of Asia
  • What is design

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7. Dieter Rams — As Little Design As Possible

Dieter Rams is one of the most influential product designers of the twentieth century.

According to Dieter Rams, good design:

  • Is innovative
  • Makes a product useful
  • Is aesthetic
  • Makes a product understandable
  • Is unobtrusive
  • Is honest
  • Is long-lasting
  • Is thorough down to the last detail
  • Is environmentally friendly
  • Involves as little design as possible

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8. The Design Process

Get a fresh picture of the design process by taking a look at the different areas of design and their application.

Inside you will find:

  • Designing is in the mind
  • Process into practice
  • Exercises

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9. How To — Michael Beirut

How to by Michael Bierut, one of the world’s most renowned graphic designers, is a book about how to make a successful life as a graphic designer.

Inside you will find:

  • How to be A graphic designer In the middle of nowhere
  • How to think with hands
  • How to have an idea
  • How to raise a billion Dollars

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10. Idea Spotting by Sam Harrison

Read this book, and you’ll start being able to find creative ideas for your design projects. Help yourself get your points across and move changes for the user to the forefront of the designs.

Inside you will find:

  • Nobody spots hot ideas in cold offices
  • Explore ranges of possibility
  • Ask the question, play the fool
  • Who you gonna call?

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I’d love to hear what you think about this post in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.

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My name is Outmane, 2D / 3D graphic designer and artist from France.
I am an avid reader of books on creativity and innovation. I have a great appreciation for minimalism in art and design.

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