Ellen Lupton

Curator; Writer; Lecturer; Designer; Educator / Graphic Design / United States / Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; Maryland Institute College of Art

Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read

I’m a designer who writes and a writer who likes to fuss with fonts, formats, and the techniques of publishing. Typography and writing are deeply connected. Writing makes thought exterior, converting fleeting notions into concrete things—indelible patterns of ink or pixels. My reading list includes in equal measure books that study (and exemplify) design processes and those that explore (and demonstrate) the qualities of strong writing. . . . View the complete text
5 books
Hans Wingler

This oversized compendium of Bauhaus source material was designed with ruthless rationality for MIT Press by the great Muriel Cooper. It is the Old Testament of design theory.

William Strunk Jr.
E. B. White
Maira Kalman Illustrator

There remains no better guide to writing than this classic work. E. B. White reframed the ideas of his own English teacher into a charmingly proscriptive guide to building seaworthy sentences. Maira Kalman repackaged The Elements of Style in a later edition by illustrating the original book’s exemplary prose with her concise, declarative paintings. No writer or designer should be deprived of Kalman’s ingenious reissue of this useful book.

Robert Bringhurst

Typography manuals abound, but few are a pleasure to read, handle, and behold. Bringhurst’s book is one of the best guides ever devised on the principles and practices of typography.

Richard Hollis

This compact little history of graphic design contains over 800 illustrations. In his crisp, smart narrative, Hollis follows the profession from the late 19th century to the close of the 20th. His book is small enough to fit in your purse and rich enough to account for the basic history of our profession.

Emil Ruder

Ruder’s succinctly titled book embodies the ideals of the Swiss international style in its text, its visual content, and its rigorously structured pages. Whatever your own postmodern proclivities might be, this book endures as a masterpiece of method.

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