Creative Latitude



Books for Jeff's reading list. Suggested by members of the and HOWmag forums

The Elements of Color by Johannes Itten

The Mac is not a Typewriter by Robin Williams

Photography by Swedlund

Jan Tschichold: A life in Typography

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte

Information Architects by Richard Saul Warman

The End of Print by Lewis Blackwell and David Carson

The Elements of Graphic Design by Alex White

Robin Williams' Design Workshop by Robin Williams

The art of looking sideways by Alan Fletcher

Idea index by Jim Krause

The artist way by Julia Cameron

The vein of gold by Julia Cameron

Graphic design, inspirations and innovations by Diana Martin

Design literacy by Heller and Pomeroy

Color harmony by Bride M. Whelan

Before & After page design by John Mc Wade

Using design basics to get creative results by Brian Peterson

The new graphic design school by Alan Swann

Visual language by Peter Bonnici

A smile in the mind by Beryl Mc Alhone and David Stuart

Minimal graphics by Catherine Fishel

Pioneers of Modern Design by

Chrome Yellow and Doors of Perceptions/Heaven and Hell by Aldus Huxley

From those Wonderful Folks Who Brough Your Pearl Harbour -- Front-line dispatches from the Advertising Wars by Jerry Della Femina



  About the author  

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for  Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, is the author of "The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career;" released by HOW Design Books in 2004. He can often be found preaching what he practices through speaking engagements at creative industry events around the country and writing for various design-related magazines and webzines. For more information about the designer's work click the link below.



  Profile »  
  Featured Profile »  
  Articles »  
« Back
Design by the Books
by Jeff Fisher, Engineer of Creative Identity, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

The education of graphic designer has just begun when completing a school’s design curriculum or starting a career in the field. Very soon after entering the “real” world of graphic design most designers discover just how little they know about the business. Since beginning work as a professional graphic designer over 25 years ago I have been collecting a library of books on graphic design, and the business aspects of design, in an attempt to continually educate myself. In 1998 I began compiling a “suggested reading list” in response to emails I receive from designers around the world and for posting on various Internet design forums when requests for such resources arise. The list is constantly changing and evolving as I discover new resources and new books are published.

Creative Latitude offered to post the list as an easily accessible resource for all designers. The suggestions will be updated when new list possibilities catch the attention of myself, and others contributing to this site. It will also need to be revised upon publication of my own book, “The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success; Ideas and tactics for a killer career,” when it is released by HOW Design Books in later 2004.

The recommended books are not the typical design annuals full of pretty pictures of design projects from around the world. Most are volumes jam-packed with valuable information from those with years of experience in various areas of the design industry. The design annuals may be great for inspiring designers, but the books on my reading list are suggested for the “continuing education” of designers of all ages and levels of experience.

A number of the books listed may be “out of print” or difficult to find. These resources may be found in local university of city libraries. Used copies may be discovered online at sites like,,,,,, or through Internet auction sites like eBay.

This is a list of my personal favorites and books I have found valuable in my own career. In each case these are books I have read, reviewed or flipped through at a bookstore. If your favorite design book (or even one you have written) is not on this list, it may be that I have just not come across a copy of it yet. At the time of this list being posted online an search for “graphic design” resulted in over 6500 book references. My hope is that this list helps make your selection of good graphic design books a bit less overwhelming.

CREATIVITY: All designers do occasionally experience “designer’s block” or difficulty in explaining aspects of design to others. The following books may give a designer a needed kick in the rear-end.

A Whack on the Side of the Head!: How you can be more creative, by Roger von Oech

Breaking Designer’s Block: 301 Graphic Solutions, by Rockport Publishers

Creative Sparks: An Index of 150 + Concepts, Images and Exercises to Ignite Your Design Ingenuity, by Jim Krause

Creative Utopia: 12 Ways to Realize Total Creativity, by Theo Stephan Williams

Creativity for Graphic Designers, by Mark Oldach

Designers in Handcuffs, by Pat Matson Knapp

Graphically Speaking: A to Z guide to Visual Lingo, by Lisa Buchanan

Idea Revolution, by Clare Warmke

Thinking Creatively: New ways to unlock your visual imagination, by Robin Landa

Using Design Basics to Get Creative Results, by Bryan L. Peterson

Visual Thesaurus: A Quick-Flip Brainstorming Tool for Graphic Designers, by Chris Goveia & Hatmaker

BUSINESS OF DESIGN: Designers are notoriously bad business people. Most design schools simply do not teach students how to run a business operation prior to sending them out into the big, bad world. Many of the following books are “must haves” for the designer striking out on their own or just wanting a better understanding of the business aspects of the industry.

AIGA Professional Practices in Graphic Design

Becoming a Graphic Designer: A Guide to Careers in Design, by Steven Heller, Teresa Fernandes

Business and Legal Forms for Graphic Designers, by Tad Crawford and Eva Doman Bruck (with a CD of business form templates)

Digital Design Business Practices: For Graphic Designers and Their Clients, by Liane Sebastian

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines

Graphic Designer’s Guide to Pricing, Estimating & Budgeting, by Theo Stephan Williams

The Business of Graphic Design, by Ed Gold

The Business Side of Creativity, by Cameron Foote

The Creative Business Guide to Running a Graphic Design Business, by Cameron Foote.

The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Clients: How to Make Clients Happy and do Great Work, Ellen Shapiro

MARKETING: To be successful in graphic design a designer must know how to sell themselves and their work. The listed books will assist any creative type in establishing a marketing plan for greater success. Some of the recommended books are not design-specific. However, all are great resources for the design businessperson.

BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, by Peggy Klaus

Designers’ Self Promotion: How Designers and Design Companies Attract Attention to Themselves, by Roger Walton

Footnotes: What You Stand For Is More Important Than What You Stand In, by Kenneth Cole

Get Noticed!, by Sheree Clark

HOW Magazine’s Annual Self-Promotion and Business issues

Off The Wall Marketing Ideas, by Nancy Michaels & Debbi J. Karpowicz

Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good: The Madcap Business Adventure by the Truly Oddest Couple, by Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner

Self Promotion Online, by Ilise Benun

Self-Promotion for the Creative Person: Get the Word Out About Who You Are and What You Do, by Lee Silber

The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Creative Marketing: Finding & Keeping Your Best Clients, by Linda Cooper Bowen

TYPOGRAPHY: The world of typography is much more complicated than just going online to purchase, or download, fonts. Many designers know little of the history of type or how it actually works in communicating a message. The suggested books will add to a designer’s education on the subject.

An Introduction to the History of Printing Types: An Illustrated Summary of the Main Stages in the Development of Type Design; by Geoffrey Dowding

Designing with Type: A Basic Course in Typography, by James Craig

Logo, Font & Lettering Bible, by Leslie Cabarga

Printing Types: An Introduction, by Alexander Lawson

Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use, by Daniel Berkeley Updike

Rookledge’s International Directory of Type Designers

Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works, by Erik Spiekermann

The Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst

The Non-Designer’s Type Book: Insights and Techniques for Creating Professional-Level Type, by Robin Williams

Type Rules!, by Ilene Strizver

GRAPHIC DESIGN HISTORY/INDIVIDUAL DESIGNERS: I come in contact with a great many designers who know little about the history of graphic design. Some do not recognize the names of pioneers or icons in our industry. The following selections will help give a designer some historical perspective of the career field of choice and an introduction to some of my favorite designers.

A History of Graphic Design, by Philip B. Meggs

Art Is Work: Graphic Design, Interiors, Objects, and Illustrations, by Milton Glaser

Frank Lloyd Wright: Graphic Artist, by Penny Fowler

Graphic Design, by Milton Glaser

Graphic Design: A Concise History (World of Art), by Richard Hollis

Graphic Design Time Line: A Century of Design Milestones, by Steven Heller, Elinor Pettit

Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Poster Shop, by Jim Sherraden

Josef Muller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design, by Lars Muller (Editor)

Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art, by Paul Rand

Paul Rand, by Steven Heller, Jessica Helfand

Some People Can’t Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry, by Julie Lasky

Swiss Graphic Design, by Robert Klanten (Editor)

The Graphic Art of Michael Schwab, by Michael Schwab

GRAPHIC DESIGN TECHNIQUES: Every once in a while a design refresher course is a great idea. These books cover a variety of ‘basics” in the field of graphic design.

Basics of Design: Typography and Layout, by Lisa Graham

Color Index: Over 1,100 Color Combinations, CMYK and RGB Formulas, for Print and Web Media, by Jim Krause

Designer’s Survival Manual: The Insider’s Guide to Working With Illustrators, Photographers, Printers, Web Engineers, and More, by Poppy Evans

Design Basics: Ideas and Inspiration for Working with Layout, Type, and Color in Graphic Design, by Joyce Rutter Kaye

Graphic Design Cookbook: Mix & Match Recipes for Faster, Better Layouts, by Leonard Koren

Graphic Design School, by Alan Swann

Graphic Design Solutions, by Robin Landa

How to Understand and Use Design and Layout (Graphic Designers Library), by Alan Swann

Idea Index: Graphic Effects and Typographic Treatments, by Jim Krause

The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman

DESIGNING ON A BUDGET: Budget considerations are always a concern for a designer - no matter what size the project. These books will give readers ideas on how to cut costs without cutting design quality.

Design Sense: Graphic Design on a Limited Budget, by Anastatia R. Miller

Fresh Ideas in Limited Budget Design: An Eye Opener, by Betsy Newberry

PRODUCTION/PREPRESS: Although it was predicted years ago, the “end of print” has not arrived. An individual preparing a design piece for the printing press should always communicate directly with the print house prior to finalizing the digital files for any job. The suggested books will help any designer to convey what they are trying to achieve.

Alleviating Prepress Anxiety: How to Manage Your Print Projects for Savings, Schedule and Quality, by Ann Goodheart

Getting It Printed: How to Work With Printers and Graphic Imaging Services to Assure Quality, Stay on Schedule and Control, by Mark Beach & Eric Kenly

Graphic Designer’s Digital Printing and Prepress Handbook, by Connie Sidles

Great Production by Design, by Connie Sidles

Pocket Guide to Digital Prepress, by Frank J. Romano

Pocket Guide to Digital Printing by Frank Cost

Pocket Pal, by International Paper Company

Production for Graphic Designers, by Alan Pipes

Professional Prepress, Printing, and Publishing, by Frank J. Romano

IDENTITY DESIGN: Not everyone is passionate about designing logos but I’m always being asked for possible resources about my favorite area of design.

Blue is Hot; Red is Cool: Choosing the right color for your logo, by David Carter

Bullet-Proof Logos: creating great designs which avoid legal problems, by David E. Carter

Corporate Identity Manuals (1976), by David E. Carter

Designing Corporate Identity Programs for Small Corporations, by David E. Carter

Designing Corporate Identity: Graphic Design As a Business Strategy, by Pat Matson Knapp

Designer’s Guide to Creating Corporate Identity Systems, by Rose DeNeve

Designing Identity, by Marc English

Design It Yourself Logos, Letterheads, & Business Cards, by Chuck Green

Designing Pictorial Symbols, by Nigel Holmes

How to Design Logos & Trademarks, by John Murphy & Michael Rowe

How to Design Logos, Symbols & Icons: 23 Internationally Renowned Studios Reveal How They Develop Trademarks for Print and New Media, by Gregory Thomas

Identity Design Sourcebook: Successful IDs Deconstructed and Revealed, by Rockport Publishers

Identity Solutions, by Cheryl Cullen & Amy Schell

What Logos Do and How They Do It, by Anistasia R. Miller & Jared M. Brown

Redesigning Identity, by Catharine Fishel

TM, Trademarks Designed by Chermayeff & Geismar, by Ivan Chermayeff

BRANDING: The most recent new “buzz word” in design is “branding.” The following resources will help answer many of the questions designers may have about this redefined aspect of the industry.

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design, by Marty Neumeier

Branding: Brand Strategy, Design and Implementation of Corporate and Product Identity (Design Directories), by Helen Vaid

Challenging the Big Brands: How New Brands Win Market Share with Innovative Design. by Judith Evans & Cheryl Dangel Cullen

Designing Brand Identity: A Complete Guide to Creating, Building, and Maintaining Strong Brands, by Alina Wheeler

Designing Brands: Market Success through Graphic Distinction, by Emily Schrubbe-Potts

CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS: In many situations even the local market will be international in scope. Designing with cultural considerations is becoming increasingly important.

Designing Across Cultures, by Ronnie Lipton

Global Graphics: Color - Designing with Color for an International Market, by L. K. Peterson

Global Graphics: Symbols - Designing with Symbols for an International Market, by Anistatia R. Miller

The Designer’s Guide to Global Color Combinations, by Leslie Cabarga

RESTAURANT GRAPHIC DESIGN: Another unique area of graphic design is the creation of images and materials for the restaurant industry. I often get requests for resources on this topic.

Logos of Bars and Restaurants, by David E. Carter

May I Take Your Order?: American Menu Design 1920-1960, by Jim Heimann

Menu Design, by Judi Radice

Restaurant & Food Graphics, by Judi Radice Hays

Restaurant Graphics: From Matchbooks to Menus, by Rockport Publishers

Restaurant Graphics 2, by Rockport Publishers

Retail & Restaurant (Design Library), by Rockport Publishers

Terence Conran on Restaurants, by Terence Conran

The Best in Restaurant Corporate Identity, by Stafford Cliff

WEB SITE DESIGN: These are not books about the technical aspects of web design, but rather in how to make web sites work well for you and your clients.

Designing Websites for Every Audience. by Ilise Benun

Professional Web Site Design from Start to Finish, by Anne-Marie Concepcion

Web Design That Works: Secrets for Successful Web Design, by Lisa Baggerman

GENERAL GRAPHIC DESIGN: The following recommended volumes don’t necessarily fit into specific categories. Still, they would be great additions to any personal design library.

Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy

Design Basics for Creative Results, 2nd Edition, by Bryan Peterson

Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design, by Steven Heller

Design of Advertising, by Roy Paul Nelson

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden

The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman

The Education of a Graphic Designer, by Steven Heller

The Nature of Design, by Peg Faimon & John Weigand

The Non-Designer’s Design Book, by Robin Williams

Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Graphic Problem Solving, by Judith Wilde & Richard Wilde

2004, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
  All contents © Copyright 2003, 2004 Creative Latitude | Sitemap