Do you own these must-read graphic design books?

Following on from our article on influential web design books, what graphic design books do we rate? Here are five of our favourites...

1. "The Elements of Colour"

by Johannes Itten & Faber Birran

Itten's master work 'The Art of Colour' is a colossal £220 on Amazon and explores the impact of colour on art and design. But you can pick up this short, compacted version for less than £30.

Why? Because it's one of the best graphic design books around, a glimpse into the teachings of the man who has been called the 'definitive colour theorist of the 20th century'. What Itten doesn't know about colour isn't worth knowing.

2. "A Designer's Art"

by Paul Rand

Rand was one of the world's most accomplished graphic designers, best known for his logo work including IBM and UPS. The book not only features his best designs, but reinforces the simple fact that good design is about good communication.

It's an inspirational read and waves the flag for simple, iconic design.

3. "How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul"

by Adrian Shaughnessy

Sound advice from Shaughnessy on gaining employment, setting up as a freelancer, forming a company, dealing with clients, pitching and loads more.

As graphic design books go, this is insightful, intelligent, accessible and simply full of great advice, with the author calling on such luminaries as Neville Brody, Natalie Hunter, John Warwicker and Andy Cruz to help pull together his ideas.

4. "The Art of Looking Sideways"

by Alan Fletcher

By exploring how we think and how we understand things, the late Alan Fletcher created a tome that ultimately challenges how you think as a designer.

Colour, proportion, style and aesthetic are covered in witty, entertaining nuggets that constantly whirr in the mind. You should also check out Beware Wet Paint, one of Fletcher's other remarkable titles.

5. "Just My Type"

by Simon Garfield

Graphic designers are trained to look at type faces, but Garfield's book will encourage you to look closer. A well chosen font communicates to the reader on an almost subliminal level and it can make (or break) a design.

Chances are, the time you spend thinking about type is just not long enough. This useful book explains why.

Want more recommendations for graphic design books?

For a bigger list, check out 21 design books you must own on the Computer Arts website. Then let us know what graphic design books you can't live without in the comments below.