Oct 14/14
By Joe Ross

Design Books that Inspire

If you are lucky, at some point during your professional career you will come across an inspiring book that leaves an especially long-lasting impression on your work and quite possibly your life. This book may come in the form of a popular industry-standard tome, or it could be an unlikely gem that contains little nuggets of wisdom. I polled a few members of our team here in the studio to find out what book(s) have inspired them in their design career. Hopefully a few of these will be new potential reads that have similar effects on you...

Shaughnessy, A. (2005). How to be a Graphic Designer Without Loosing Your Soul. United Kingdom: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.
I’ve always liked the design and layout of this book, but beyond that, it also provides valuable information and practical advice. - Joe G.


Lupton, E. (2004). Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. Princeton Architectural Press.
Whether you’re a designer or just an enthusiast, this is a great book to learn about typography or just refresh your knowledge on the subject. - John


Hall, L., & Bierut, M. (Eds.) (1998). Tibor Kalman, perverse optimist. The University of California: Booth-Clibborn Editions.
Before there was Sagmeister, there was Tibor. - Jonathan


Monteiro, M. (2012). Design is a Job. A Book Apart.
This book provides great insight into a designer’s world. - Lauren


Rashid, K. (2006). Design Your Self: Rethinking the Way You Live, Love, Work and Play. Harper Design.
I read this shortly after graduating from college and I was in a very self-reflective mode. In his book, Karim challenges the reader to address all facets of their life and to integrate design into their lifestyle, not just their career. - Joe R.


Tufte, E. (1990). Envisioning Information. Graphics Pr.
Edward Tufte is the guru of information design and his book is celebrating the visualization of highly complex data. - Iro


Truss, L. (2003). Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. United Kingdom: Profile Books.
Not only is this book hilarious and witty, but the author calls out common ways we all use punctuation incorrectly and why we should pay more attention. - Kat


Rand, P. (1994). Design, Form, and Chaos. New Haven: Yale University Press.
This book demonstrates the power of simplicity. - Matt


Hall, L., & Bierut, M. (Eds.) (1998). Tibor Kalman, perverse optimist. The University of California: Booth-Clibborn Editions.
Bringhurst, R. (2002). The Elements of Typographic Style. Hartley & Marks Publishers.
An even tie between these two great books. The first is a visual feast and a collection of inspiring stories that give insight into Tibor Kalman's passion, wit, vision and unbounded creativity. The second is the holy typographic bible that every designer should read. - David


Cahan & Associates (1999). I Am Almost Always Hungry. Princeton Architectural Press.
A self-promo slash vanity project published in 1999 by Cahan and Associates (A now defunct San Francisco design firm where I had the pleasure of working for a few years). The book details their methods and showcases examples of their work for mostly hi-tech and bio-tech firms during the dot com era. The real magic was how the firm was able to produce such groundbreaking, engaging, and award-winning work from highly technical, often esoteric content. - Mark


- Joe Ross, Designer

Sharing is caring



Hits from the Blog