5 classic design books for summer reading

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5 classic design books for summer reading

Summer always has those moments when you’re too hot to do anything but curl up on the couch with a good book. Even better, is grabbing some design books that help you grow as a designer and design appreciator.

In this article, we round up five design books that are sure to inspire you this summer. Happy reading!

1. Shigeo Fukuda Masterworks

A lesser known designer that deserves a lot of attention is Shigeo Fukuda. Luckily for you, his designs translate beautifully into book format. Shigeo Fukuda Masterworks is a thorough retrospect of his work and his offering to the graphic design community.

Sit back, get comfortable and be mesmerized by the seamless transitions between representational and abstract line work that only Fukuda could pull off.

2. Grid systems

In 1981 Josef Müller-Brockmann released Grid systems, a shot heard round the graphic design world. His deep and inquisitive perspective on grid systems changed the game entirely, shifting how graphic design exists as we know it today.

You can’t say you’re a grid expert until you read this one. The ideas and practices outlined in this book can be recognized in virtually every project made with a grid system.

3. Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art

It should be considered a gift that Paul Rand not only designed brilliantly throughout his life, but also took the time to articulate himself through writing. In Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art, Rand breaks down some of his most famous designs and outlines the process that went into each piece. This book features high quality print reproductions, as well—so it’s a treat for both the eyes and the mind.

4. The New Typography

53 years before Brockmann’s Grid systems flew off the shelves, there was Jan Tschichold’s The New Typography. Written in Germany in 1928, this book essentially wrote the laws on typography and continues to set the standard for how we use type today.

Jan Tschichold’s obsession and in-depth look into typography is fascinating. Every chapter offers more than a bite-sized chunk of information to chew on—plenty to process for many of design projects to come.

5. Pentagram: Marks

When it comes to logo design books, it’s a no-brainer to pick one up that retrospects 44 years of logo design from one of the top design firms in the world. Pentagram: Marks covers all of their famous designs while not missing anything in between. There’s probably a lot more Pentagram logos that you didn’t know about!


It’s safe to say that these recommendations are a solid sampling for those on the hunt for classic graphic design books. With that said, don’t be afraid to use these recommendations as pivot points to other books.

Nearly every great graphic designer has at least a few books made in their name, and the amount of retrospects and surveys leave a vast landscape for exploration. Keep cool this summer and read on!

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