10 Best Design Books Every Creative Should Own

December 16, 2015In Framework4 Minutes

By nature, most designers are curious individuals – so its only fitting that most have an impressive library of design books to inspire and educate them. Design is everywhere, and constantly changing – so there is always more to learn and different perspectives to gain.

Recently, the Versions Collective sat down to a collaborative session to share their favorite publications. Here are the top ten must-have best design books for any designer – just in time to get them under the tree.


The Laws of Simplicity
John Maeda

In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda has crafted ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design — guidelines for needing less and actually getting more. This messaging is a core driver for todays design and user experience.

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Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
Ellen Lupton

Type is a huge part of visual and contextual design and it can change the whole course of a project – both good and bad. Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen.

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Thoughts on Design
Paul Rand

One of the seminal texts of graphic design, Paul Rand’s Thoughts on Design is as relevant today as it was when first published in 1970. This classic design perspective book is must have addition to the library of every designer.

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Above the Fold: Understanding the Principles of Successful Web Site Design
Brian Miller

Above the Fold is about the timeless fundamentals of layout, usability and measurement that lead to a successful digital product. A clear choice for every graphic designer.

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Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th Edition
Alina Wheeler

Designing Brand Identity is a detailed look at the latest trends in branding, including social networks, mobile devices, global markets, apps, video, and virtual brands.

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The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Walter Isaacson

Exploring the trials and tribulations inventors and entrepreneurs went through to to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities. A great history and perspective on the successes and failures they experienced – great reminders of perserverence for any businessperson or designer.

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The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
Twyla Tharp

Visionary creative Twyla Tharp shares her secrets for developing and honing your creative talents. An inspirational look at the creative process and how to engage in best practices to produce your best work.

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How to
Michael Beirut

Offering a inspirational perspective for artists, designers, students and pretty much any creative mind – How to is a brilliant insight to the design process of one of this century’s most renowned creative minds.

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Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services
Kim Goodwin

From assembling a design team, planning and conducting user research to collaborating in design meetings this comprehensive, full-color volume addresses all of these and more with detailed how-to information, real-life examples, and exercises. A true handbook for the digital world.

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Logo: The Reference Guide to Symbols and Logotypes
Michael Evamy

An invaluable resource to draw upon in the research phase of identity projects. Features include indexed logos alphabetically by name of company/designer, creating a picture of the state of the identity art in any client’s marketplace.

Revolutionizing UX Design with the Binary Approach to Project Management

Embracing a clear approach to task completion—where tasks are strictly marked as 'done' or 'not done'—can significantly enhance the efficiency, clarity, and accountability of UX projects. This project management method offers a straightforward…

Human-Centered Design: The Heart of Creating Impactful Digital and Physical Experiences

Whether it be digital, physical, or conceptual, one philosophy consistently emerges as the cornerstone of impactful and effective creation: Human-Centered Design (HCD). At its core, Human-centered design isn’t just a methodology; it’s a…

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The Conundrum of Empathy in UX Design: A Driving Force or an Unrealistic Ideal?

Empathy is often touted as the backbone of user experience (UX) design, a tool to perceive and feel what end users might experience. However, the practicality and efficacy of empathy in UX design is a subject of intense debate. While empathy can be…