...and don’t forget typography and color!
5. Ellen Lupton – Thinking with Type
Thinking With Type is a practical typography resource that introduces the principles of typography, and explains how to choose and work with type across a range of projects and applications.
Read more at thinkingwithtype.com. It’s also available in print.
6. Sean Adams, Terry Stone, Noreen Morioka – Color Design Workbook: A Real World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design
Color Design Workbook gives an introduction to color theory, and presents a wide range of case studies and examples of color systems. This is a thorough, practical point of reference for using color – one of the most difficult topics for design beginners.
Available here: Color Design Workbook
See also our 11 tips for building great color palettes.
Then, find out about user experience design and design thinking.
7. Steve Krug – Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach To Web Usability
This classic text is named after “Krug’s First Law of Usability”: Don’t Make Me Think. If you’re interested in user experience design – how to make a user’s experience of a product or service both efficient and enjoyable – this book is a great place to start.
Available here: Don’t Make Me Think
Find out more at Steve Krug’s website
8. Tim Brown – Change By Design
In Change By Design, IDEO CEO Tim Brown explains design thinking – a collaborative, human-centered approach to innovation – and how it can help to transform products and organisations.
Available here: Change By Design
Read our write-up: Great Design Thinkers – Tim Brown On Design Thinking
Get different perspectives on the industry.
9. Aaron Draplin – Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything
Aaron Draplin’s first book, Pretty Much Everything, tells the story of his career so far. Inspiring, fun, and brutally honest, he explains how he got started in the industry – completing small design gigs, working on a snowboarding magazine, and even creating the Field Notes brand of notebooks.
Available here: Pretty Much Everything
Check out Aaron Draplin’s awesome TED Talk
10. Phil Cleaver – What they didn’t teach you in design school
What they didn’t teach you in design school is packed with practical advice from Phil Cleaver, a designer with over 40 years of industry experience. His tips range from putting together a portfolio and what to wear to interview, to exporting documents for handoff and managing relationships with external contractors.
Available here: What they didn’t teach you in design school
And finally, take a look at these manifestos – and remember not to let all this reading inhibit your own creativity.
11. Michael Bierut – How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World
Pentagram partner Michael Bierut presents a retrospective of his career, offering deep insight into his process through preliminary drawings, models, as well as finished work.
Available here: How To Use Graphic Design
12. Frank Chimero – The Shape of Design
Frank Chimero describes himself as a multi-disciplinary designer, accidental writer, and lapsed illustrator. He’s best known for The Shape of Design, this beautiful and insightful meditation on the designer’s vocation. It’s available to read online for free.
Available here: The Shape Of Design
Read our take: Great Design Thinkers – Frank Chimero on The Shape of Design
Learn the fundamentals with Designlab
We offer mentor-led short courses like Design 101, as well as an immersive UX Academy program to prepare you for a career as a professional user experience designer. Find out more over on our Courses page, and drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The Designlab Promise: We believe that education should be both rigorous and affordable—you shouldn’t have to break the bank to get the skills you need to take the next step in your life.