If you are at all serious about communication – of which design is a localised technicality – then the following list of books are a must read.
You wont find any of the usual collections of eye candy and coffee table fodder in this list; but you will find books that will be of benefit.
They are listed in no particular order.
- Wolfgang Weingart. Wolfgang Weingart: My Way to Typography.
A must have book by a great typographer.
- Vaughan Oliver. Visceral Pleasures.
Oliver’s clever use of unusual typefaces raises this book above the level of mere eye candy. I remember well his outstanding album cover designs for 4AD. Deserves a place in your library.
- R. H. Thouless. Straight and Crooked Thinking.
Classic text on the use and abuse of language. Shrewd and humorous in its analysis of the crooked use of language and argument. Was a set book when I was a Humanities undergraduate in the 80s. Ok early 80s! Out of print but you can pick up a second hand copy if you scout around in the usual places.
- Robert Bringhurst. The Elements of Typographic Style.
Classic reference text on all things typographic. A must have reference text for students and pros involved in typography.
- Brockman, Josef, Muller. Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design. Switzerland, 2000.
The master of Swiss graphic design. One for the library.
- Skinner, Kevin. Cryptic Crosswords. UK.
The art of saying a lot with very little. Books such as this can provide you with some ideas/new ways to explore textual structures and syntax.
- Blackwell, Lewis. David Carson: Second sight. London, 1996.
Inspirational guru of 90s textual deconstruction. All the more interesting as Carson does not have a background in art or design. Deserves a place in your library for sure.
- Timothy Samara. The typography Workbook: a real world guide to using type in graphic design.
Useful primer on the practicalities of typography.
- Arnold Schoenberg. Fundamentals Of Musical Composition.
Brilliantly informative text by Arnold Schoenberg. Used this book a great deal in teaching. If you are serious about music, then….
- Schoenberg, Arnold. Preliminary Exercises in Counterpoint. London, 1982.
Another great educational resource by Arnold Schoenberg. If you are serious about music, then….
- William Lidwell. Katrina Holden. Jill Butler. Universal principles of design.
Good reference book for the library.
- Erik Spiekermann. E.M Ginger. Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works.
Useful information on typography in a compact form. Authors attempt to be humorous and fail. Never the less a useful text.
- Rob Carter. Digital Color and Type.
Using color in typographical layouts. Useful book for students and others beginning design.
- Birdsall, Derek. Notes on book design. Newhaven and London, 2004.
Must have book by book designer, Derek Birdsall. Fantastic insight into the authors book design work – first hand accounts. Great! Get it.
- John Salmon, John Ritchie. Inside Collett Dickenson Pearce.
A fantastic book looking at the work of Collett Dickenson Pearce from the 1960s to the present day. The art of communication does not get any more effective than this. Unfortunately this book is out of print and used copies are prohibitively expensive. However if you have the cash there are a couple of copies for sale on Amazon for around £299 each!