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Best Graphic Design Learning Books

Fred Shokwer

We get an average of 80 emails per month with people requesting learning referrals. They ask where can I go to learn this or that about design, photography, Photoshop, graphics, or other disciplines in the visual arts fields.What most don't realize is that for a very small price, there is a wealth of learning available in books.

A very common request we get is from people who will surf the web for hour upon hour, thinking they're learning something -- but in reality they're only getting frustrated. They'll send an email to me later to say they thought they saw or learned in the Design Center, but now cannot find it again. Or, they lament they saw it on another site and now it's gone -- can I help finding it.

With any of the following books, you have a resource right in your hand that you can use again and again -- keep it open -- and walk through the best tutorials and training the industry has to offer. So here, I've picked just a few of my favorites. . .

The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type

The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type This is the second MOST RECOMMENDED book on your shelf. All graphic designers must know and understand the use of white space, or negative space. WOW... here, Alex (the KING of white space) reveals the secrets of successful graphic design from the unique perspective of the page's white space. This unique resource is guaranteed to inspire more creative and thorough thinking. WARNING: This publisher frequently discontinues books when sold out. So, you want to be sure to get one.
The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type
Another one to just order! You have to have it no matter what it costs. ($16.47 save: $8.48 34%)

Art Direction and Editorial Design

Art Direction and Editorial Design (Abrams Studio) This book is a spectacular resource for eye-candy, grids, typography and layout! MUST HAVE! It's an accessible and comprehensive guide to visual journalism -- the design of magazines and newspapers, both in their print and online forms. Illustrated with case studies, examples, practical exercises, and tips, the book explains the fundamentals of editorial design and layout -- including branding, layouts, copy and images, design and production
Art Direction and Editorial Design
This is another one you don't even ask how much, you just BUY IT! ($21.28)

Designing Effective Communications: Creating Contexts for Clarity And Meaning

Designing Effective Communications: Creating Contexts for Clarity And MeaningMUST HAVE for students and teachers of graphic arts and communication -- Groundbreaking ideas on how we communicate a message -- this is important stuff! Considers messages conveyed through design, clothing, corporate logos, signs, teaching, even space exploration. In the essays that make up Designing Effective Communications, a diverse group of experts on communication design challenge the traditional "the medium is the message" theory. They discuss the physical, visual, cognitive, and cultural meanings of messages and look at how interpretation plays a fundamental role in the creation of meaning.
Designing Effective Communications: Creating Contexts for Clarity And Meaning
Regular price: $24.95 - our discounted price: $9.48 ~ Published by: Allworth Press; Paperback; 297 pages; web rating

Understanding Color : An Introduction for Designers

Understanding Color : An Introduction for Designers If you do not understand color, you cannot design with color. This essential book takes you from theory to practice -- enhance your skills in working with color -- connect the dots between your emotional, intuitive responses to color and the theories that explain them. Through authoritative, easy-to-follow instruction, you'll learn how to use color more comfortably, creatively, and effectively than ever before. Updated material for successfully designing with color in a digital environment * color marketing issues * tips for using color * exercises to reinforce color concepts -- ESSENTIAL for students and professionals in graphic design, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and industrial and textile design.
Understanding Color : An Introduction for Designers
Author: Linda Holtzschue ~ $55.00 - our discounted price: $39.05 ~ Published by: Wiley; Paperback; 208 pages

Visual Grammar: A Design Brief (Design Briefs)

Visual Grammar: A Design Brief (Design Briefs) Without a basic understanding of visual language, a productive dialogue between producers and consumers of visual communication is impossible. Visual Grammar can help you speak and write about visual objects and their creative potential, and better understand the graphics that bombard you 24/7. It is both a primer on visual language and a visual dictionary of the fundamental aspects of graphic design./ Dealing with every imaginable visual concept -- from abstractions such as dimension, format, and volume; to concrete objects such as form, size, color, and saturation; to activities such as repetition, mirroring, movement, and displacement; to relations such as symmetry, balance, diffusion, direction, and variation -- this book is an indispensable reference for beginners and seasoned visual thinkers alike.
Visual Grammar: A Design Brief (Design Briefs)
Author: Christian Leborg ~ $19.95 - our discounted price: $13.70 ~ Published by: Princeton Architectural Press; Paperback; 96 pages

Grids: Creative Solutions for Graphic Design

Grids: Creative Solutions for Graphic Design "Grid-ology" ... MUST UNDERSTAND -- A grid well used makes all the difference between a flat layout, and one that has real flair and visual appeal. This practical book gives designers of all levels the inspiration and know-how to create great layouts. Exemplary designs are overprinted with their underlying grid, and detailed captions discuss how the designers have utilized the grid to provide structure, and add movement, flexibility, and impact to their design./ Crammed with ideas for different ways of using space, type, and images, Grids also explores innovative ideas for navigational devices and information design.
Grids: Creative Solutions for Graphic Design
Author: Lucienne Roberts ~ $49.95 - our discounted price: $27.38 ~ Published by: Wiley; Paperback; 224 pages

Graphic Design School, Third Edition

Graphic Design School, Third Edition A carefully structured self-teaching guide, this completely updated edition of Graphic Design School provides current information on computer-aided design and the use of software applications in all aspects of design, including the creation of successful corporate logos, advertisements, and magazine design solutions.
Graphic Design School, Third Edition
Author: Alan Swann ~ $45.00 - our discounted price: $22.48

Identity Crisis: 50 Redesigns

Identity Crisis: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands Understanding branding and identity is essential for all graphic designers. This book showcases recent identity work for as variety of industries -- Acts as a guide designers can use to show their clients the power of rethinking and redesigning their identities/ Identity design (logos, letterhead, web sites, etc.) is one of the most popular topics in design books, and Identity Crisis takes a fresh look at this common subject by exploring the process of redesigning existing identities to help businesses refine their images, communicate with customers, and find success.
Identity Crisis: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands
Author: Jeff Fisher ~ $35.00 - our discounted price: $20.03 ~ Published by: HOW Books; Hardcover; 216 pages

Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design

Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function: Understanding Form and Function - provides a solid foundation in timeless design principles. With the help of more than 200 revealing illustrations, the book explores both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of 2D design, interweaving historical accounts with penetrating analyses of visual principles and issues found in important contemporary examples. This new edition demonstrates how competing approaches to 2D design--including those based on intuition, play, chance, and empirical research--can be used successfully, either alone or in combination.
Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function
Author: John Bowers ~ $45.00 - our discounted price: $35.08 ~ Published by: Wiley; Paperback; 128 pages

The list goes on and on

I could list several hundred, but for now, any of the above books can bring you up to speed in your chosen area of design gently and quickly. Visit the Designer's Bookshelf for many, many more titles which have been painstakingly reviewed to offer you the very best for your buck. They do not review books that don't offer real-world solutions to your learning experience -- bad books are simply ignored.

Go for it... and ...

Thanks for reading...

Fred Showker
Editor / Publisher, DT&G Magazine

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