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23 Must-Read Graphic Design Books | #MadeByMELO Creative Life

Updated: Apr 15

Spark creativity and explore art and design through this curated collection of books, full of indispensable instruction, guidance, and inspiration. Whether your a freelance artist looking for actionable advice about making a living from your creative work or a typophile who's fascinated by the ins-and-outs of compositions and typography showcased by top design houses and ad firms - this collection of must-read books is for you. No experience needed, just a curious mind and passion to develop your skills and grow as a creative. Let's explore the world of visual art, graphic design, and living inspired through 23 must-read books for artists and creatives.





23 Artistic Inspiration & Professional Development Books for Creatives

  1. "Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type" by Kimberly Elam

  2. "Extra Bold" by Ellen Lupton, Jennifer Tobias, Josh A. Halstead, Kaleena Sales, Leslie Xia, and Valentina Vergara

  3. "How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer" by Martina Flor

  4. "Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field" by Helen Armstrong

  5. "Time to Draw Deck" by Sarah Walsh

  6. "Just Enough Design" by Don Norman

  7. "Baseline Shift" by Julie Anixter

  8. "Thoughts on Design" by Paul Rand

  9. "How to Be Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul" by Adrian Shaughnessy

  10. "The Business of Design" by Keith Granet

  11. "Pink Flamingos and Yellow Pages: The Impact of Color on Marketing" by Judy Scott-Kemmis

  12. "Making the Movement: A Practical Guide to Graphic Design Activism" by Bonnie Siegler

  13. "The Senses: Design Beyond Vision" by Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps

  14. "Graphic Design Rules: 365 Essential Design Dos and Don'ts" by Peter Dawson, John Foster, and Tony Seddon

  15. "Never Use Futura" by Douglas Thomas

  16. "Printmaking Bible, Revised Edition" by Ann d'Arcy Hughes and Hebe Vernon-Morris

  17. "Creative Business Handbook" by Lisa Congdon

  18. "The Rules We Break" by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson

  19. "New Rules Next Week: A Guide to Future-Proofing Your Design Work" by Stefan Sagmeister

  20. "How Design Makes Us Think: And Feel and Do Things" by Sean Adams

  21. "The Art of Ruth Carter: Costume Design for Film and Television" by Ruth Carter

  22. "Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators: Conversations on Design and Race" by Kelly Walters

  23. "Type on Screen: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Developers, and Students" by Ellen Lupton



My personal favorites ranging from artistry and personal growth to professional development and all the things I wish I learned in design school.

"Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type"

  • Author: Kimberly Elam

  • Publisher: Chronicle Books

  • Description: This book provides a rich, easy-to-understand overview of grid systems and demonstrates a step-by-step approach to typographic composition. It presents design strategies that transcend simple function and allow grids to become a means of truly dynamic communication.

"How to Be Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul"

"Creative Business Handbook"

"Thoughts on Design"

"Type On Screen"

"Extra Bold"

"Graphic Design Theory"

"A Project Guide to UX Design, 3rd Edition"

"Foundations of Digital Art and Design with Adobe Creative Cloud, 2nd Edition"

"The Senses: Design Beyond Vision"

"Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don't teach you in design school, but should."

"The Rules We Break: Lessons in Play, Thinking, and Design"




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