TOP 7 Graphic Design Books for Beginners
Do you want to learn how to design and develop a brand and its visual identity? This is the place to start.
In this article, you´ll find a list of the 7 most essential graphic design books for starters – from minimalistic, simple logos to modern, innovative, and memorable ones, here´s all you need to start building your brand´s visual identity. We will also explore the steps involved in creating a brand’s aesthetic and some of the main principles of graphic design.
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a) Why is visual identity important for a business (or brand)?
Brand identity is essential for a company to differentiate its products or services from those of its competitors. It is the visual and sensory representation of a company’s values, personality, and unique characteristics.
A strong brand identity creates recognition and familiarity in the minds of consumers and helps to establish trust and loyalty.
b) Essentials of brand identity design
There are three main concepts that are fundamental when developing a company´s branding – Logotype, Symbols, and Typography.
A logo serves as the visual representation of the brand’s identity. It is often the first thing that people see and associate with a brand, and it can have a significant impact on a brand’s recognition and success.
A unique and well-designed logo can help a brand stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract the attention of potential customers, as well as help to establish a brand’s professionalism and credibility, a sense of trustworthiness and expertise, which can be an important factor for consumers when making purchasing decisions.
Symbols are pretty self-explanatory, just like the logotype, a symbol is a visual representation of a company’s brand that is not based on text. Symbols can be abstract or literal, and they are often used in conjunction with a logotype. A strong symbol can help to reinforce a brand’s identity and make it more memorable.
The Typography, despite often being underappreciated, refers to the design and use of fonts and typefaces in graphic design. Choosing the right typeface can be critical to creating a cohesive and effective brand identity.
Different typefaces can convey different moods and emotions, and they can help establish a brand’s personality and style.
Now that you know the basics, let´s take a look over the 7 best books for logo designers!
TOP 7 Graphic Design Books for Beginners
1. Logo Modernism by Jens Müller and Julius Wiedemann
Despite being a bit pricey, it´s a must-have for graphic designers and those who have an interest in starting a career in the area, it´s definitely worth the investment.
Focused on modernist ideas, the book showcases a vast collection of nearly 6000 logos – From art galleries to media outfits, airlines to retail giants, which serves as practical reference material.
In addition to being a priceless source for logos, the book includes eight case studies that explain well-known branding initiatives.
It´s a perfect illustration of one of the most basic beliefs in design – a well-designed brand is timeless. “Less is more” – The majority of the logos in the book are simply made out of basic geometric patterns made of triangles, squares, and other simple shapes.
With great skill, Logo Modernism seems to make the point that a logo doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. It serves as a great study tool, ideal for someone just starting.
2. Principles of Two-dimensional Design by Wucius Wong
Essentially, a graphic design guide for dummies.
In this book, Wong introduces us to the very basic essence of what is graphic design – the art of planning and executing ideas and experiences using text and visual material.
Focused on shapes, forms, and theoretical design concepts, it´s perfect for those only starting to get familiar with the vocabulary and early concepts of design as a whole.
Published in the 70s, despite seeming outdated, it showcases all essential elements of 2D Design, with simple terminology and exercises. The perfect balance between theory and practical projects.
The material covers everything from structure to contrast, from radiation to space and proportion – all of it while explaining what is design, and how it´s only useful if it´s practical and functional.
“His creations should not only try to be aesthetic but also functional, while reflecting or guiding the taste of the time”
3. Symbol: The Reference Guide to Abstract and Figurative Trademarks by Angus Hyland and Steven Bateman
In almost all branding strategies, symbols are essential. This manual examines the visual language of symbols in terms of their most fundamental component:
With an outstanding collection of a whooping 1300 symbols from all over the world, are separated into different categories considering their visual identity and other characteristics
Since the content is mostly displayed in images, is easy to interpret and read regardless of your mother tongue. It also serves as great research or reference material for learning or simply for inspiration.
4. Logotype: The reference guide to logotypes, monograms and text-based marks by Michael Evamy
An important and essential addition to the one mentioned above, Logotype features some of the world´s most outstanding identity and logo designers.
This one has a section for the often underrated element of graphic and logo design – Typography.
With a whole section dedicated to the fonts and their aesthetic, it gives examples, illustrations, and brief descriptions that are light and didactic, easy and fast to read. A must-have for those starting to develop a brand´s identity.
The rest of the book contains other aspects and examples of logotype design, but it´s ideal for beginners who appreciate well-developed typography.
5. Letters As Symbols by Paul Ibou and Christophe De Pelsemaker
In the design world, as mentioned before, we constantly hear
“less is more”. There are plenty of very good examples of why simplicity is key when creating a brand´s identity, and many of them can be found in this book.
Letters As Symbols contains a global selection of symbols, logos and trademarks, carefully and beautifully presented in a gorgeous bright yellow hardback book. Each section and logo is based on a letter of the Latin alphabet (from A to Z), which results in an excellent source of research and inspiration for artists, designers, and those wanting to start.
6. Japanese Optical and Geometrical Art by Hajime Ouchi
This Manual contains over 740 designs, with the most attractive and ingenious applications of geometrical and optical motifs to be found today.
With tricky circles, dots, squares, ellipses, curves, lines, angles, and complete alphabets, they all showcase an infinitude of balance, asymmetry, repetition, harmony, and mathematical exactitude.
It is great to do copying exercises, and slowly start building your own shapes and figures. Also serves as great inspiration and research content for those interested in OpArt.
7. Logo Design: Global Brands by Julius Wiedemann
Last but definitely not least, “Logo design” is a perfect compilation of the world´s most well-known and designed brand identities, and the most effective illustration of how, in a globalized context, more and more symbols convey values such as trust, quality, and reliability.
Available in English, french, and german, the book showcases the most brilliant corporate identity campaigns – from Google and Coca-Cola to Barbie, the manual breaks down how texts, typography, images, symbols and ideas are condensed into different organizations.
“No graphic designer can work without this book”
– Borse am Sonntag, Frankfurt am Main
While anyone can learn the principles and tools of graphic design, becoming a skilled and professional graphic designer requires more than just technical skills. A graphic designer needs to have a good eye for design, a strong sense of visual aesthetics, and a deep understanding of how design elements work together to communicate a message effectively.
Additionally, a graphic designer needs to be creative, adaptable, and able to solve problems with design. They need to be able to understand the needs of their clients or audience and create designs that meet those needs while also conveying the intended message.
Therefore, while anyone can try their hand at graphic design, it takes time, dedication, and practice to become a skilled and professional graphic designer.
Why not try it yourself?