Inspiration can come from anywhere and at any time, but when I’m starting a new design project I typically look through a bunch of books to get those creative juices flowing. Since I don’t do a lot of graphic design on a regular basis these days I don’t add new design books to my collection very often, but I still have a handful that I really find useful and enjoy from time to time. Here are my top five favorite graphic design books from my bookshelf…
Graphic Design America Two: The Work Of Many Of The Best And Brightest Design Firms From Across The United States
I’m pretty sure I got this book as a random gift from my parents at some point, and as the title suggests it showcases some incredible works of graphic design. This is definitely one of the books I look through most often when I begin a design project to help me get some initial ideas out on paper. There is usually one small part of a one a design from this book that inspires an idea that I can build off of.
Pantone Guide To Communicating with Color
This is a great book to look through when you start thinking about the type of color pallet you want to use to communicate certain feelings, emotions, or themes through design. It has a ton of great examples to help jump start your imagination and even has specific Pantone swatch numbers on a good handful of color combinations in case you want to copy pallets directly from the book.
Communication Arts Design Annual 45
This is another book that is filled with great designs that help inspire ideas. I used to have a huge pile of Communication Arts magazines, but over the years I ended up throwing them all away except for two or three. After all, you don’t need to look through mounds of magazines in order to get those creative brain waves pumping, you just need a little stimulation.
Print’s Best Logos & Symbols 4: Winning Designs From Print Magazine’s National Competition
This is another inspiration book that is great to look at, specifically when designing a logo. This book helps me to remember to keep the mark simple and to the point by showing examples of some of the most effective branding ever created.
tellmewhy: The First 24 Months of a New York Design Company
I don’t necessarily look through this book often, but I first read it back in college and did a report on it for an art history class. I’m a sucker for success stories, so it was really interesting to read how a graphic design firm (karlssonwilker) started from nothing and became successful. The layout uses what became one of my favorite fonts (FF DIN) and has a lot of really cool elements worked into the design of the book.