Being big bibliophiles here at InVision, we asked some of our favorite designers to recommend the book that inspired them the most this past year. Check out the 90* most popular answers and the top designers who recommend them, plus 5 inspiring periodicals.
*We've recently updated this list to include 15 more of our favorite designers’ recommended books. Happy reading!
Inspired by Typography
Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise FiliA beautiful Monograph of Fili's lavish and elegant typography
Just My Type by Simon GarfieldGarfield uncovers where fonts come from and why we need so many.
Decorative Logo DesignThis image-heavy book explores the marks and logos of charming brands.
Dangerous Curves: Mastering Logotype Design by Doyald YoungThis book exhibits Young's amazing collection of typography by focusing on the form and curves of the letters.
"Doyald Young's 'Dangerous Curves' showcases his own work and is an incredible study tool and reference book for lettering work."
The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert BringhurstThis manual travels between art, history and technical knowledge, serving both as a reference book and a readable story.
The Ten Commandments of Typography/Type Heresy by Paul FeltonFelton playfully relates typography to religion in this cheeky book that includes "commandments" and "sacrilege."
Type Matters! by Jim WilliamsThis book is a well-structured answer to modern problems of layout design on computers.
Thinking with Type by Ellen LuptonThis best-seller serves as a guide to typography from digital to print, explaining the rules and how exactly to break them.
"I love the examples featured in 'Thinking with Type' and the process behind them. It’s a must-have book for every typeface geek."
Inspired by Product Design
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir EyalThis book discusses the four-step process embedded in popular products to encourage user behavior.
Designing for the Digital Age by Kim GoodwinThis book serves as a roadmap to create useable, helpful products, from team-building to iteration.
Living with Complexity by Donald A. NormanNorman picks apart the argument for simplicity and vouches for complex (but well-designed) products that shadow our rich lives.
The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. NormanNorman delves into product design from the scientific viewpoint of a cognitive psychologist to explain why some products work and others frustrate.
Inspired by People
Lance Wyman: The Monograph edited by Adrian ShaughnessyThis monograph is the first major publication devoted to Lance Wyman’s entire output.
Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!) by George LoisLois, the original "Mad Man" offers witty advice on life and business.
Herb Lubalin American Graphic Designer by Adrian ShaughnessyThis biography chronicles the life and career of Lubalin, arguably the world's most influential typographer and graphic designer.
"Herb Lubalin is one of my idols, and this book is just a giant collection of his work. If you want good design, it's all in there!"
George Nelson: Architect / Writer / Designer / Teacher by Stanley AbercrombieThis illustrated biography explores Nelson's classic mid-century modern designs.
Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design Hardcover Jennifer BassWorking in graphic design, corporate identity, and even short film, Bass created some of the most recognizable imagery of the 20th century.
Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible by Sophie LovellThis exploration of Ram's life includes photographs, sketches, and other archival material to explain why we still use products he designed a half century ago.
Kern and Burn by Tim HooverThis book includes interviews with 30 designers detailing their failures and successes as they created careers for themselves.
Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonIsaacson writes an honest portrait of the iconic designer based on extensive interviews with Jobs himself as well as his family, friends, and colleagues.
"'Steve Jobs' by Walter Isaacson inspired me so much. It changed the way I think and how I live my life right now. It really changed the way I look at designs these days, and how I want to be better at it everyday."
Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products by Leander KahneyThis biography explores the man behind design at Apple, from overcoming dyslexia to becoming the lead designer of his generation.
The Vignelli CanonVignelli himself describes what he considers good design and his process behind his work.
The Manual - Issues 1-3 by variousEach issue contains six articles and six personal lessons from six different authors.
Inspired by the Future
Design Forward by Hartmut EsslingerEsslinger explores how design can have an impact on sustainability for the future in both the environment and the economy.
Design Is the Problem by Nathan ShedroffShedroff calls designers to focus on sustainable products and solutions.
Obey the Giant by Rick PoynorThis collection of essays by Poynor describes the increasing connectivity of commerce and culture.
World without Words by Michael EvamyEvamy shows how simple design can explain so much without words and how culture is moving toward a world without words.
Predictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThis book brings to light the hidden forces that shape our daily decisions in life.
"I’ve shifted to books about how people work, how we write, how we live, business, sales. All of the things that good designers—and good people—should know about, but we often neglect because we’re so focused on our craft."
The Craft of Words By The StandardistasThis book uncovers the importance of words in design and why designers must think of words as an equally important design tool.
The Creative Habit by Twyla TharpTharp's books offers prescriptions and exercises to release your creativity from its often-stuck mindset.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel KahnemanNobel Prize-winning psychologist Kahneman differentiates between our quick, "gut" way of thinking and our other slower, more logical system.
Inspired by Icons and Logos
Geek-Art: An Anthology by Thomas OlivriOlivri's anthology consists of almost 800 examples of "geek art."
The Icon Handbook by Jon HicksHicks goes from the basics to the finished in seven steps, laying the roadwork for a predictable way to create an icon.
Logo Creed by Bill GardnerThis book goes from discovery to research to development to delivery and gives examples from lead designers about their own processes.
Logo Design Love by David AireyAirey's book goes beyond just images of logos in order to step into the process of creating them.
Monogram logo by Leterme Dowling and Counter-PrintThis image-heavy book consists of 452 logos and ciphers from around the world.
"The last book I purchased, ‘Monogram Logo: Monograms & Ciphers’, is a collection of categorized monograms and ciphers from around the world and logos from some of the world's greatest design companies."
Symbol by Angus Hyland and Steven BatemanThis well-organized book shows more than 1,300 symbols organized into groups and subgroups.
Inspired by Business
Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success by Ken SegallSegall discusses how simplicity at Apple is more than just design—it's in every aspect of the business.
Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco UnderhillThis research-based book reveals that we have a method to our madness when shopping.
How Google Works by Jonathan Rosenberg and Eric SchmidtChocked full of skills and techniques on how Google's "Smart Creatives" operate in a fast paced, creative environment. A must read for any designer working in a product company.
Design is a Job by Mike MonteiroThis easy read explains how to build your business backbone while feeding your creative talent.
Drawn to Business by Bill Beachy of GoMedia.usBeachy tells his story along with 15 others of how to build a successful design company.
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul ArdenArden's book is a inspiring read for designers and non-designers alike, and he offers his wisdom on a wide-variety of business problems.
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy WallaceCo-Founder of Pixar, Catmull writes for managers and employees, calling them to be creative, passionate, and unique.
I've been reading 'Creativity, Inc' lately and really enjoying it. Also 'Execute' by Josh Long and Drew Wilson was a big inspiration for me last year"
Manage Your Day-To-Day by Jocelyn K. Glei and 99UThis manual shows how to stop working hard and start working smart in a workplace that never seems to stop.
Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier HanssonThis book explores the benefits and challenges of remote work as more companies look to decentralize the office.
Inspired by UI
Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences by Stephen P. AndersonSpeaker and author Stephen P. Anderson takes a fresh approach to designing sites and interactions based on the stages of seduction.
Don't Make Me Think by Steve KrugIn this classic handbook on information design, Krug shares why intuitive navigation is vital for the success of any web-based product.
"'Don’t Make Me Think' by Steve Krug was the first time I read a book about web that gave me 'wow' moments. I can understand easily and scientifically some behavior that designers should notice."
About Face by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin and Christopher NoesselThis book explores interaction design with a new focus on the shift to mobile.
Interaction Design by Yvonne Rogers, Helen Sharp and Jenny PreeceThis book has a multi-disciplinary approach to interaction design focusing both on technical and social issues.
Product Design for the Web by Randy J. HuntEtsy's creative director explains why web designers need to think more like product designers in order to create the next great thing.
Simple and Usable by Giles ColborneExamples and case studies tout the importance of simplicity in design.
Designing for Emotion by Aarron WalterWalter looks at psychology and how it influences today's design in this book, focusing on how to make users fall in love with your design.
Designing with the Mind in Mind by Jeff JohnsonJohnson explores the science for UI designers, explaining the theories of cognitive psychology.
Inspired by Graphic Design
Above the Fold by Brian D. MillerThis book focuses on the timeless fundamentals of good web design
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. TufteA book about the theory and practice of how to design visual data.
The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard WilliamsThe Academy Award-winning animator behind "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" writes an informative handbook on the underlying principles of animation.
Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-BrockmannMüller-Brockmann's theories on grid design covered in this book are essential to computer-assisted designers.
"A lot of our digital work is inspired by print design and so 'Grid Systems in Graphic Design' has been phenomenal in helping us gain a better understanding of grid systems outside the digital realm and ultimately has helped our entire design process as a studio evolve."
Design, Form, and Chaos by Paul RandRand draws from his own experience and others that inspired him to share his process of creating good design.
Data Points by Nathan YauYau focuses on the graphics side of data visualization in his follow up to "Visualize This".
Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture by Casey ReasThis non-technical guide serves as an introduction to the history, theory, and practice of software in the arts.
Graphic Design Before Graphic Designers by David JuryJury gives a history of printing and includes almost 800 illustrations, most in color.
How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian ShaughnessyShaughnessy writes for young graphic designers, focusing on how to run a successful business and manage their creative process.
Meggs' History of Graphic Design by Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. PurvisThis academic textbook is the gold standard for graphic design history.
Inspired by Method and Theory
Drawing Ideas by Mark Baskinger and William BardelBaskinger and Bardel's book is a drawing bootcamp that aims to enhance reasoning skills and ultimately product creation.
"I’ve really came to appreciate grabbing a mechanical pencil and sketching out ideas on good paper. 'Drawing Ideas' gave me further insight into how that passion can be put to good use in my daily workflow as a web designer."
90 Degrees by Andrew KimThis iBook exclusive explores the art of knolling.
Designing Brand Identity by Alina WheelerThrough case studies, this book provides a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity.
Designing Design by Kenya HaraHara focuses on the importance of emptiness in design while crediting underrated Japanese icons and images.
Designing News by Francesco FranchiA relative newcomer to the design field, Franchi explains his process behind his editorial design of IL and how the news and media industry should pivot.
Geometry Makes Me Happy by Index BooksSections including art, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, and interior design explore the role of geometry in creative expression.
Interaction of Color by Josef AlbersThis handbook and teaching aid presents Albers’s singular explanation of complex color theory principles.
Just Enough Research by Erika HallHall presents an easy, cross-disciplinary approach on how to do research to create a solid foundation for your project.
Notes on the Synthesis of Form by Christopher AlexanderAlexander presents an entirely new theory of the process of design by which a form is adapted to the context of human needs.
The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero This anti-textbook focuses on the "why" rather than the "how" of design.
Sass for Web Designers by Dan CederholmCederholm shares how Sass, the popular CSS pre-processor, provides a clear-cut path to taking better control of your code.
Inspired by the Classics
Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill ButlerThis cross-disciplinary reference for design pairs clear explanations of design concepts featured with visual examples of those concepts applied in practice.
"I don't have a formal education in graphic design, so this was a great book for brushing up on formal design principles."
Art as Therapy by Alain de BottonPhilosopher Alain de Botton shares a new way to look at familiar masterpieces, noting that they can actually be therapeutic for their audiences.
The Noble Approach by Tod PolsonThis book shares Noble's approach to animation design from concept to final frame, illustrated with sketches and stunning original artwork spanning the full breadth of his career.
Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design's Golden Age by Steven Heller and Louise FiliThis well-organized handbook shows typefaces, handwriting, neon signs, and more.
Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey ZeldmanNow in the third edition with essential updates for the modern web, this classic, industry-changing guidebook remains the essential source for creating fast, effective websites.
Responsive Web Design by Ethan MarcotteEthan Marcotte explains how to think beyond the desktop and craft beautiful designs that anticipate and respond to your users’ needs.
Inspired by Innovation
Life's a Pitch: How to Sell Yourself and Your Brilliant Ideas by Roger MavityIn just about any job, but particularly creative jobs, pitching is an essential skill for success.
Everything I know by Paul JarvisDescribed to be "It’s a swift kick in the creative ass without fairies, unicorns or new-age clichés."
Creativity for Sale by Jason SurfrAppThe man behind IWearYourShirt and BuyMyLastName shares a practical guide on how to turn passions into profits.
Execute by Josh Long and Drew WilsonThis book shows you how to move fast and stay inspired. The book itself was written, designed, and off to the printer in 8 days.
The Good Creative by Paul JarvisJarvis outlines the 18 habits of the world's most respected artists.
Steal Like An Artist by Austin KleonKleon urges readers to remix, borrow, steal, and re-imagine to play with creativity.
Show Your Work! by Austin KleonKleon's follow up to "Steal Like an Artist" focuses on how to use your network and how to let your network use you.
Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven JohnsonJohnson identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines.
Inspired by Web and Print Magazines and Their Publications
Computer Arts MagazineThe industry-leading title for graphic designers, Computer Arts is the magazine for people who believe design matters.
Offscreen MagazineOffscreen is an independent magazine about people who use the internet and technology to be creative, solve problems, and build successful businesses.
Smashing Magazine and its publicationsSmashing Magazine is a website and blog that offers resources, books, and advice to web developers and web designers.
DIS MagazineThe self-described "post-internet lifestyle magazine" has an editorial mission to interrogate and collapse hierarchies.
Dwell MagazineDwell is an American magazine devoted to modern architecture and design.