Thinking with Type
(2nd Edition)

Ellen Lupton

Another worth-it textbook that I have pointed many friends to when they want to get into typography. Very accessible and easy to read.

The Elements of Typographic Style

Robert Bringhurst

This is called the typographer’s bible for a reason! So much helpful information about hierarchy and structure.

79 Short Essays on Design

Michael Bierut

Whether classic or witty, reading the musings of other designers always offers new insights. A lot of big names in this book!

Typography Sketchbooks

Steven Heller, Talarico Lita

Playful and inspiring, the type in this book is much more organic than you’d see if it had all been created digitally. You’ll want to doodle.

Type, Sign, Symbol

Adrian Frutiger

Letterforms need the same consideration any graphical shape might have when it comes to balance and proportion; Frutiger highlights ways to look at both.

The Icon Handbook

Jon Hicks

This book is a good source of inspiration for illustration styles as well as an excellent reminder to be aware of consistency and readability in icon design.

Just My Type

Simon Garfield

Garfield focuses on the subtle (and not-so-subtle) roles that typography plays in our lives. This is a good read for type addicts and newbies alike.

Don’t Make Me Think

Steve Krug

An approachable introduction to usability and accessibility; how something works should be as important to designers as how it looks. User experiences and interactions matter.

The Education of a Typographer

Steven Heller

A collection of essays from various designers and educators aimed that emphasize working by hand first and computer second.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design

Josef Müller-Brockmann

Another staple. Grid-based design will never go out of style; this book illustrates many different grid structures and proportions.

Things I have learned in my life so far

Stefan Sagmeister

The organic typography and honest reflections drew me in. This is one of those books that has added worth in its print form; looking at things digitally does not have the same visual impact.

How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

Debbie Millman

Reflections on design from some of the biggest names in the craft: Glaser, Sagmeister, Scher, Carson…

Interaction of Color

Johannes Itten

A color theory classic, and for good reason. With blending modes and digital tools, we take for granted the skill and precision of creating cohesive color relationships.

The Cheese Monkeys

Chip Kidd

The only fiction piece on this list. The narrator, to his family’s dismay, studies to become a graphic artist in the 1950s; the lessons he learns are worthwhile and based on Chip’s life.

Pretty Pictures

Marian Bantjes

Marian’s super-ornate, detailed illustrations, patterns, and typography are an inspiration.


Chen Design Associates

This book focuses on using handmade elements in graphic design. I’m a big fan of incorporating textures and sketches from the non-digital world.

Meggs’ History of Graphic Design
(5th Edition)

Philip B. Meggs

This 5th edition was a required text in undergrad but has been one of my best references.

AIGA Professional Practices in Graphic Design

AIGA, Tad Crawford

Filled with advice to protect clients and designers, this book focuses on the graphic design business.

Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design’s Golden Age

Steven Heller, Louise Fili

Sometimes you need a great, big beautiful book of lettering. This is that book.