10 Books Every Designer Should Read

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The Essentials for the Modern Designer

Keeping current with industry news, software updates, legal information, and the million other things a designer is expected to follow on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis is difficult. There is so much new and current information to download and process that we often forget the fundamentals of design, the creative business and how to find and recognize inspiration.

To help all you busy designers, here is a list of 10 books that will remind us why we love design, what it is we really do, how to do it better, and refresh us on the little things like the basics of visual communication.

1. Made to Stick
by Chip and Dan Heath (2007)

A great look at what makes ideas stick. This book outlines some of the great ideas in business history and what some of the best businesses do to make their ideas last and grow their brands.

2. Interaction of Color
by Joseph Albers revised edition (2006)

Color is a magical thing that effects the body and mind in a way that space and the other design elements cannot. Interactions illustrates this one magical element by dancing color in various contrats from page to page.

3. Return to the Little Kingdom
by Michael Mortiz (2010)

Return to the Little Kingdom is the only book written by a writer that was there at ground zero when Apple as a company was born. It’s an amazingly insightful read, and you can just feel the D.N.A. of Apple Computers inside the young Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack.

4. Basic Visual Concepts and Design Principles
by Charles Wallschlaeger and Cynthia Busic-Snyder (1992)

This is about as close as anyone is going to get to a design Bible. This book is the most complete publication on what design is, what its elements are, what principles govern those elements and how you can use all that information to speak the language of design.

5. The Elements of Typographic Style
by Robert Bringhurst (2002)...
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