Graphic design is everywhere, from road signs to Christmas cards. But how can you learn to find your feet as a beginner

Well, a few experts out there have managed to put together some helpful manuals. We’ve found you all the greatest ones, to help you turn yourself into an incredible designer.

This guide discusses six of the best books for beginner graphic designers, which include:

  • How to… — Michael Bierut
  • Logo modernism — Jens Müller
  • Designing brand identity — Alina Wheeler
  • The elements of typographic style — Robert Bringhurst
  • Graphic design — Stephen J. Eskilson
  • How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul — Adrian Shaughnessy

Best books for beginner graphic designers:

How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world

Michael Bierut

Despite the long title, the first book on our list is straight to the point – it’s the ultimate ‘how to’ guide. Bierut is a partner of design consultancy firm, Pentagram. He’s worked across multiple mediums like:

  • Signs
  • Logos
  • Packaging
  • Print
  • Websites

Design elements are well-represented in the book, making it an excellent introduction for people new to the industry. 

It can show you the different things you could do with graphic design and hopefully inspire you to experiment with different elements.

The newest version of the book even includes some insight into how Bierut’s creative mind works, with sketches alongside finished pieces.

There’s a wide range that spans the large hardback book.

(Available on Amazon)

Logo modernism

Jens Müller

If you are interested in exploring the art of creating logos, then this is the best book for you, with a catalogue of over 6,000 examples

It’s the ultimate guide to trademarks between the 1940s-1980s, documenting  the shift toward a more simple logo style.

Featured logos  include household brands ranging from:

  • Airlines
  • Art galleries
  • Retail companies
  • Media organisations

In the book, Müller examines the logo design process. As the award-winning creative director of Vista Design Studio, Muller is an authority on the subject and a great guiding light for beginners.

Beyond logo design, Müller provides instructive lessons on how corporations choose to adapt how they present themselves. Which is a vital insight for anyone who’d like to produce work for big client’s.

(Available on Amazon)

Designing brand identity

Alina Wheeler

Another of the best books for beginner graphic designers discusses what ‘brand identity’ means, excellent if you are interested in branding.

For a client, their brand could also feature their:

  • Colours
  • Layouts
  • Patterns
  • User interface
  • Typography

If you learn how to offer a range of branding abilities, you may find more opportunities as a designer

You may even perfect writing brand guidelines that the companies can follow to be consistent across their marketing.

Wheeler compiles over 700 illustrations to explain the principles of branding thoroughly. The book also has over 400 quotes from the brand experts, CEO’s and designers to get across how important it is for many industries.

(Available on Amazon)

The elements of typographic style

Robert Bringhurst

How your words look can be just as important as what you say. That’s why typography is such an essential element to graphic designers, and many decide to specialise in it.

But even if you don’t have a great interest in fonts, it can still be essential to know the basics. That’s why one of the best books for beginner graphic designers is this classic style guide.

It acts as both a historical case study of how designers present words and an inspirational tool to help create the new fonts of the future. 

You compare many sides by side to find your favourite typefaces to use, or the creative in you might decide to repurpose them into something new.

Over the years, it had updates to provide new readers with the most practical information to become a titan of type.

(Available on Amazon)

Graphic design: A history

Stephen J. Eskilson

As a new designer, you might not realise the vital role graphic design plays throughout history. 

Graphic design’s influence can’t be understated, as a beginner you’d benefit from a glance at those who came before.

Eskilson has put together the history of your favourite art form comprehensively and visually. 

The book looks at graphic design throughout its use in:

  • Politics
  • Economics
  • War
  • Colonialism
  • Gender
  • Film
  • Technology

Updated recently to include a new chapter on digital trends, the book also provides insight on modern times.

Through a chronological timeline of graphic design, you can learn from all of the most influential movements within your practice

Eskilson offers a treasure trove of inspiration to help you develop your ideas and give you a creative edge early in your career.

(Available on Amazon)

How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul

Adrian Shaughnessy

All of the previous books can provide you with a wealth of visual inspiration to help in your field, but none explain the day to day life of a designer.

One of the best books for beginner graphic designers is this guide from a senior tutor at the Royal College of Art, Shaughnessy.

It covers lots of practical advice about:

In one book, Shaughnessy can help you navigate the industry to get those creative and impactful ideas out there. The second edition of the book even brings in other experienced designers to add more wisdom to each topic.

(Available on Amazon)

You’ve got the best books, get the best bookkeeping with Countingup

Even with a library full of design knowledge, bookkeeping as a beginner graphic designer is tough.

Fortunately, Countingup makes it much easier. It’s a business account with built-in accounting software to help you manage your fiance through an app on your phone.

With it’s easy to use invoicing feature, you’ll be able to create and send bills to your clients. Make billing for your out-the-box thinking, seamless and simple.

Get started for free.

For more tips on graphic design, see:

Related Resources

Read more