Sometimes the quickest way to get creative inspiration for a project is to see what others have done. You’re not looking to copy anything, of course, but rather see a concept, color, shape, typeface or any other element that might spark your next great idea. This list of graphic design books provides inspiration in different areas of design.
To create Area, 10 carefully selected curators (from teachers to art directors) were each asked to select 10 of their favorite designers who have recently entered the field and made an impact. Each of the 100 selected designers is featured on four pages, with select work and an introduction by the curator. The result is an incredible resource showcasing the best graphic design work from 1998-2003. In addition, each curator was asked to pick a “classic,” a favorite piece from any time period which are featured at the end of the book, with commentary.
Los Logos (2002)
Los Logos is a 400-page showcase of modern logo design. With very little commentary, it’s a great book to flip through to see 3,500 examples of contemporary logos. To collect the logos, the authors invited designers to submit their work. The collection is divided into Logos, Lettering, Typograms, Combinations and Collected Themes, and ends with some logo statistics. Want more? Dos Logos and Tres Logos are also available.
The Art Book (1994)
Available in two sizes, The Art Book takes a unique approach to art history by presenting 500 of the greatest artists (from medieval to modern times) in a single A-Z listing. Each artist is presented on one page, with just one classic work and a description. At the end of the book is a list of museums to visit around the world…even more inspiration.
Web Design: Portfolios (2005)
With over 200 online portfolios presented, Web Design: Portfolios is a great guide to some of the best work online. The portfolios themselves, as well as the work within them, will provide you with hours of inspirational browsing. Along with screenshots, each portfolio includes interesting bits of information such as the amount of hours the jobs took to complete.
1000 Type Treatments presents excellent use of typography. The book is divided into six chapters each showing different types of media; Flyers and Leaflets, Books and Magazines, Logos and Stationery, Brochures, Posters and Banners, and 3D, Outdoor and Digital. The interesting type layouts and use of fonts are sure to provide inspiration for all types of design projects.
Tell Me Why tells the story of the first two years of karlssonwilker, inc., a New York-based design firm. For those looking to break into the freelance business or start a firm of their own, Tell Me Why will give you a realistic look at the trials, tribulations and successes of starting a design business. Karlssonwilker’s unique work is showcased throughout the book, along with tales of their best parties, landing clients, and setting up an office space.