40 books every graphic designer will want for Christmas

Looking for present ideas for the designer in your life? Something good to read is always a great solution to your gift-giving dilemma – and the design world is filled with them.

To help you out, we've sorted the wheat from the chaff and picked out the best. From modern classics to recent releases, here's some top design books from you to choose from, from typography to illustration to logo design and beyond.

01. The Typographic Universe: Letterforms Found in Nature, the Built World and Human Imagination

The Typographic Universe cover

This is unashamedly a coffee-table-bound sourcebook, designed to provide inspiration in the form of type and typography formed from a whole world of non-traditional materials including food, nature and architecture. While it wont teach you any new tricks, it does offer an interesting look at how type can be found and forged from everything around us. Perfect as a gift for the typophile in your life!

02. Make your own luck by Kate Moross

Graphic design books 2014

More of a memoir than a step-by-step guide, in this book illustrator and art director Kate Moross provides some invaluable insight into how to survive the often bumpy world of design from self-promotion to collaborating with others to that all-contentious issue of when to work for free. And she's certainly someone to learn a few life lessons from. By the age of 21, Morross had already set-up up a record label, designed a collection for Topshop and worked for a roster of big-name brands such as Nike and Google.

03. Type on Screen: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Developers, & Students

Type on Screen cover

The use of type on screen is a specialised discipline in itself, and this book aims to focus on the specific challenges and requirements screen-based applications have.

Building on established, classic typographical concepts and approaches, this book provides a useful repertoire of skills and techniques, including a section on how to animate type procedurally.

04. B is for Bauhaus by Deyan Sudjic

Graphic design books 2014

Director of London's Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic's anthology provides an A-Z list of contemporary culture, from authenticity to zips!

He uses his own personal experiences- his architectural background, curator of a number of museums around the world and co-creation of Blueprint magazine – to make assertions about some of the myths (and truths) in popular culture, from what makes a Warhol a genuine fake to the principles of Functionalism.

05. Typography 34 by Type Directors Club

Graphic design books 2014

Typography 24 is the latest annual instalment from the Type Directors Club, which curates some of the world's best typography work through its annual competition.

This book showcases some of the best and most exciting work from 2012. Over 2,300 designers submitted their work for consideration and the book celebrates innovation in type design across a variety of formats including books, magazines, corporate identities, logos and posters.

06. Postermania: New Poster Design

Graphic design books 2014

If you're interested in poster design then this is the book for you.

In Postermania: New Poster Design, author Cristian Campos provides an overview of contemporary poster design and selects some of the world's best illustrators and graphic designers to showcase a number of design styles such as minimalist, baroque, retro and futuristic, as well as the more traditional types of poster design.

07. Drawing Type by Alex Fowkes

Graphic design books 2014

Have you ever wanted to know more about the designer behind the typeface?

In his book, Fowkes takes us behind some real-world projects to interview a number of different typographers about their unique processes.

A typographer himself, Fowkes has created a number of typographical illustrations for the likes of Sony Music and Outlook Festival, and provides some working advice to help you draw serifs, san serifs and scripts.

08. How to be an Illustrator

Graphic design books 2014

As anyone will tell you, crafting your career as a successful freelance illustrator is hard so if you're after some advice on the practicalities of getting yourself seen and commissioned, then look no further.

Written by illustrator and agent Darrel Rees, the second edition of How to be an Illustrator provides invaluable advice on everything from creating a portfolio through to negotiating contracts – and how to make sure you don't flop when going it alone.

Graphic design books 2014

Known as the 'Father of the modern logo', Wilhelm Deffke (1887-1950) established the first modern advertising agency in Germany in 1915 and designed more than 10,000 logos that were both innovative and ground-breaking for their time.

A new monograph, and first book ever published about Deffke, Pioneer of the Modern Logo showcases his work as a commercial artist, architect, poster and book designer, and includes a number of unseen images alongside 14 insightful essays exploring his work.

10. Shadow Type: Classic Three-Dimensional Lettering

Shadow Type cover

This is perfect coffee-table matter for typography lovers. Drawn from work gathered across Europe and the United States, Shadow Type focusses on 19th and 20th century examples of 3D-shadow type that have been carefully and lovingly illustrated for signs, packaging, shopfronts and movies. There are over 300 different examples featured in the book, and the book itself is nicely produced using high quality stock, making it feel archival and specimen-like.

11. Adventures in Letterpress

Adventures in Letterpress cover

  • Author: Brandon Mise
  • ISBN: 978-1-7806733-3-2
  • Publisher: Laurence King

The resurgence of letterpress continues apace, and this book celebrates the fact by illustrating the work of artists and designers who have saved old presses from skips and scrap yards across the US. Featuring over 200 examples of finished work, the book also explores the process and practitioners behind the projects, and is an excellent source of inspiration as well as education!

12. Graphic Design for Fashion by Jay Hess and Simone Pasztorek

Graphic design books 2014

Simone Pasztorek and Jay Hess are the two fashion and design creatives behind the London-based creative studio byBOTH. In Graphic Design for Fashion, they shine the light on the best graphic design studios' work within the fashion industry, which includes everything from packaging to catwalk invitations - with exclusive insights from both clients and designers.

13. New Typefaces by Isabel Naegele, Petra Eisele and Annette Ludwig

Graphic design books 2014

With more and more new typefaces appearing all the time, it can be hard to keep up with some of the latest designs.

New Typefaces: Positions and Perspectives acts as a curator of some of the most unique and original designs of recent times, as well as interviews with a number of typographers to understand the thinking and influence behind their work. All in all, this book offers a fascinating insight into the creative world of type design.

14. Designing the Editorial Experience by Sue Apfelbaum and Juliette Cezzar

Graphic design books 2014

This book explores the increasingly varied mediums we use to consume content, from the traditional book format to mobiles and tablets, and what that means for designers, editors and even digital strategists.

With unique insight into the ever-changing world of publishing and some examples of the most creative editorial around, Designing the Editorial Experience: A Primer for Print, Web, and Mobile is a great book for exploring both the producers and consumers of editorial design.

15. Typefaces: The Complete Works by Adrian Frutiger

Graphic design books 2014

Adrian Frutiger is one of Germany's most talented and well-known typographers, designing over 50 different type faces and creating hundreds of logos.

Based on interviews and conversations with Adrian Frutiger himself, Typefaces: The Complete Works comprehensively references the great man's work and intends to be used as a source of inspiration for the next generation of type designers.

16. User experience design by Gavin Allanwood and Peter Beare

Graphic design books 2014

Do you consider user experience in your designs? This new book outlines the importance of user design techniques in helping you create targeted designs that perfectly resonate with the audience that see your work.

The authors explore the use of scenarios, personas and prototyping in idea development, and will help you get the most out of the latest tools and techniques to produce interactive designs that users will love.

With practical projects to get you started, and stunning examples from some of today's most innovative studios, this is an essential introduction to modern UXD.

17. An Essay on Typography

An Essay on Typography cover

This repackaged version of Eric Gill's 1931 manifesto on type offers a glimpse at the pre-digital era where handmade really represented craftsmanship. Famously opinionated, the essay isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea in a political sense, but it's nonetheless a useful bit of history that helps to illustrate the man behind the famous typeface.

18. 100 Greatest Typefaces Ever

We couldn't compile this list without including our own publication The 100 Best Typefaces Ever – the definitive guide to the greatest fonts ever created, in association with FontShop AG.

Over 180 premium pages, the book dissects the world's greatest typefaces, bringing you some insightful background on each and interviews with their creators.

19. Illustration: Meeting the Brief

Graphic design books 2014

If your job is to create illustrations according to a specific brief, then this is the book for you.

In Illustration: Meeting the Brief, author Alan Male looks at the overall project, from concept to completion, through a number of illustrative examples and asks you to consider things in the process that you may not have done so before, such as how the image conveys information, the message and the use of truth or metaphor, as well as that all-important reminder to remember both audience and client in the process.

20. Creative Advertising: An Introduction

Graphic design books 2014

This is great book to read if you're creating art for brands. As the title suggests, Creative Advertising: An Introduction
examines advertising and branding practices and showcases some of the very best examples of creative advertising out there.

It also acts as a how-to guide for succeeding in the industry, with advice on portfolio presentation, making contacts, collaborating with others and how to develop your skills as an individual.

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