Design Studio of 

Reading for Designers

Should I spend more time working or more time reading? Time is relative, and my only answer is to maximize the impact of each by being smart and selective about both. Many of the books on this list have significantly shaped my approach to design, meaningful work, and intentional practice, and I strongly recommend them, especially the first three. It’s a very incomplete list, and I would love to hear others’ suggestions.

  1. The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  2. De Bono’s Thinking Course by Edward De Bono
  3. The Gift by Lewis Hyde
  4. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design or Taschen’s History of Graphic Design
  5. Wabi-sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren
  6. The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton
  7. How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built by Stewart Brand
  8. The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan
  9. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  10. Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
  11. Don’t Make Me Think Steve Krug
  12. The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley (IDEO)
  13. Rick & Dick by Center for Urban Pedagogy
  14. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
  15. Rework by Jason Fried & 37signals
  16. Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek
  17. Getting to Yes
  18. W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America
  19. Edward Tufte
  20. Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley & David Kelley (IDEO)
  21. Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist
  22. How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy
  23. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier
  24. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann
  25. Companies We Keep by John Abrams