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Best Design Books

December 19th, 2016

If you are someone who enjoys design, do not think that taking a look through helpful design books are just for professionals or design students. You and everyone else can get their hands on the best design books for you to be able to learn all about the craft that will surely benefit whatever it is that you do.

Here, we have a list of some of the best design books that has ever been created, and these were all highly recommended by professors from some of the top design schools in the world.

1. Thinkertoys

By: Michael Michalko

Michael Michalko reveals pertinent life-changing ideas and tools that will definitely make you think smart. This is considered as one of the best design books of all time since it teaches us all the vital things necessary for design: from linear to intuitive, Thinkertoys is one handbook that details innovative thinking methods that are highly effective for dealing with issues in an unconventional way.

2. Design Basics

By: Stephen Pentak and David A. Lauer

This is one of the best design books available for a 2D design course; it exhibits the essentials of art concepts via two to four-page spreads which makes it easier for you to refer to the texts and information while working. Another highly notable aspect of the book is that it features numerous visual samples coming from different periods, people, as well as cultures that are helpful for everyone to better understand the principle and elements of design.

3. The Creative Habit

By: Twyla Tharp

Every time the author is at a dead end when it comes to creativity and ideas, she often relies on a set of exercises that helps her get out of this dilemma; so her book, The Creative Habit, is filled with over thirty lifetime exercises that will ease your worries and fears when it comes to having a blank mind for various design tasks. This has also become one of the best design books since it thoroughly explains and helps you hone and further develop your creativity.

4. Visual Notes for Architects & Designers

By: Paul Laseau and Norman Crowe

Another one of the best design books available since it is a show-by-sample book that thoroughly displays highly effective and efficient methods, as well as procedures to keep a very useful visual diary. This book also demonstrates the various methods on how to create rapid sketches that work as records which can be utilized for future references; furthermore, the book also enhances your understanding while it also aids in the progress of various ideas.

5. The Industrial Design Reader

By: Carma Gorman

A book that is considered to be a highly effective guide that traces the whole history of industrialization, industrial design, as well as mass production that dates from 1850, all the way to the present. It is also known as one of the best design books available since it features over sixty inclusive essays that were written by highly exceptional theorists, designers, historians, advertisers, and even curators as they detail the most vital issues, accomplishments, and movements of industrial design.

6. History of Modern Design

By: David Seth Raizman

Raizman’s book is among the best design books available since it is a history textbook that is able to connect and exhibit the evolution of decorative arts, graphic design, and industrial design from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. History of Modern Design is also able to clearly illustrate the history of contemporary design while simultaneously providing a balanced and sequential survey of various design and art; additionally, the author also includes information on products as well as furnishings designed for mass consumption.

7. Design as Future-Making

By: Susan Yelavich & Barbara Adams

In this highly informative and helpful book, the authors inspect various designs and their effects when it comes to issues such as environmental health, social justice, political agency, as well as education. Generally, they thoroughly explain that design is socially and deeply political.

8. The Design Process

By: Karl Aspelund

The Design Process is one of the best design books that cover the processes of design such as searching for various ideas, all the way to defining and controlling the origin of inspiration. The book also emphasizes on the significance of a designer’s thoughts and ideas as opposed to their hands while simultaneously explaining the need to further understand an individual’s creativity to better communicate a collection of ideas to others.

9. Toward a New Interior

By: Lois Weinthal

The book focuses on interior design which is displayed through an array of essays that speaks mainly of film, architecture, and fashion; these essays will help establish the foundation of interior design theories while also molding the future’s interior space.

10. Thoughts on Design

By: Paul Rand

A book that is now back in print since the 70’s due to the fact that it is one of the best design books of all time; Rand clearly explained that all design should easily integrate function and form, and these are thoroughly stated through a variety of essays which are still relevant for today’s various design ideas.

11. Design as Art

By: Bruno Munari

Claimed as an illustrated journey into the many artistic possibilities and ideas of modern design, Design as Art is an easy-read book that explores and studies the design of everything around us.

12. Visual Display of Quantitative Information

By: Edward Tufte

One of the classic and best design books of all time since it focuses on statistical graphics, tables, and charts. Visual Display of Quantitative Information also features a variety of theories and practice of various data graphics, as well as illustrations of excellent statistical graphics that features a detailed analysis on how to precisely, effectively, and quickly exhibit data.

13. Type and image

The Language of Graphic Design

By: Philip B. Meggs

The book explains various arguments about graphic design being a part of every individual’s way of communicating but with a unique language just for itself. It is one of the best design books that features illustrated guides made perfectly for anyone since it is filled with efficient graphic designs that make use of image and type that reveals the very nature of graphic design.

14. The Anatomy of Design

By: Mirko Ilic and Steven Heller

A design book that features an iconic selection of design works that are exhibited in a useful and fresh format; in The Anatomy of Design, the authors selected around fifty samples of graphic designs that readers will dissect to learn about a variety of influences and inspirations to further enhance the design skills that they have.

15. Vision in Motion

By: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

The book illustrates where science, art, and design all meet; it is one of the best design books of all time which is why Vision in Motion can be very difficult to find, given that it is also currently out of print.

16. Humble Masterpieces

By: Paola Antonelli

This is created by Paola Antonelli, a MoMA curator who pays homage to a hundred pieces of different designs that are made brilliantly for us to enjoy; these simple brilliance that has been exhibited in the book ranges from Band-Aids to Post-Its.

17. Sustainable Design

By: Stuart Walker

Sustainable Design was created by Walker to have everyone stop and think about design in a different aspect – by first considering sustainability then processes after. This has also earned the title of best design books of all time since it also offers an innovative and compelling approach that thoroughly explores the practice and meaning of sustainable design.

18. Arts and Visual Perception

By: Rudolph Arnheim

Arts and Visual Perception applies different finds and approaches that relate modern psychology to the study of art. The author has also explained the many visual processes that take place when people look at or create various works of art; plus, he also shares how the process is able to arrange visual materials based on precise psychological laws.

19. Design in the USA

By: Jeffrey L. Meikle

The author explores then shares through the book, the history of design in America: ranging from hand-crafted artifacts and furniture of the 19th century, all the way to the information-based community of today.

20. Designing for the Digital Age

By: Kim Goodwin

One of the best design books that help individuals who design consumer electronics, enterprise apps, medical devices, and a lot more; this is a comprehensive book will full-colored illustrations that help you better understand the how-to’s of digital designing; it also features real-time exercises and examples that will further enhance your designing skills.