The Top 20 Best of The Best Graphic Design Books

Compiled From 13 “Best Graphic Design Books” Articles

I've collated the results from 13 "best graphic design books" articles to create this semi-scientific ultimate best graphic design books list. Each design book was given a score between 20 and 1 each time they featured on one of the 13 articles. Jump to the bottom of the page to see exactly how the scores were calculated.

1. How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul

by Adrian Shaughnessy

96 points

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2. Thinking With Type

by Ellen Lupton

95 points

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3. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

by Alina Wheeler

74 points

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=4. The Elements of Typographic Style

by Robert Bringhurst

58 points

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=4. Making and Breaking the Grid: A Layout Design Workshop

by Timothy Samara

58 points

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6. Elements of Graphic Design

by Alex White

53 points

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7. 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design

by Steven Heller, Veronique Vienne

51 points

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8. Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

by Simon Garfield

50 points

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9. Paul Rand: A Designer's Art

by Paul Rand

45 points

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10. Grid Systems in Graphic Design

by Josef Mülller-Brockmann

42 points

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11. Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines

by Graphic Artist's Guild

40 points

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=12. Graphic Design : The New Basics

by Ellen Lupton, Jennifer Cole Phillips

38 points

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=12. Graphic Design, Referenced

by Armin Vit, Bryony Gomez-Palacio

38 points

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=12. The Art of Looking Sideways

by Alan Fletcher

38 points

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=12. The Big Brand Theory

by Gingko Press

38 points

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=16. A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design

by Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart

37 points

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=16. Know Your Onions: Graphic Design

by Drew de Soto

37 points

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=18. Type Matters!

by Jim Williams

33 points

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=18. Creative Workshop

by David Sherwin

33 points

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=18. Sagmeister: Made You Look

by Stefan Sagmeister, Peter Hall

33 points

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21. The Print Handbook

by Andy Brown

A cheeky (and unofficial) entry

View Store

How The Scores Were Calculated

Each design book was given a score between 20 and 1 for each of the 13 articles. If the book was top in the article it received 20 points. If it was bottom in a top 20 list then it got 1 point.

Some articles were not strictly top 10 or top 20 articles, but the books were still entered in the order they appeared on the page.

Want to see the full spreadsheet of 140 books? Or course you do. Here it is.

Amazon Review Bonus Points

Additionally each graphic design book received bonus points depending on how many stars it received on Amazon.

  • 5 stars: 6 bonus points
  • 4.5 stars: 3 bonus points
  • 4 stars and below: 0 bonus points

Books need to have at least five reviews to receive bonus points. If they have less than five reviews then they receive 0 bonus points.

Pages used

The following pages were used to create the scores:

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