Best! Books! Ever! (Part 1!)

Best! Books! Ever! (Part 1!)

Women on a mission! Andrea Dunham and I are on a crusade to compile the Best! List! Ever! We're hoping you'll indulge us when we come to your online doorstep in pursuit of the one design book on your shelf that you can't live without.

The easiest place for us was to start was with our coworkers, so to get things rolling, I strong-armed my SpotCo designers into action:


1. The 12 lb. typography tome, Typography, by Friedl, Ott and Stein is one of those books that instills a sense of security, I always keep it close. It's too easy to grab inspiration from every corner of the earth these days, so when it comes time to explaining how you've come to a typographic solution--which can be a hard sell depending on where you are on the totem pole--there's validity in knowing where your solution came from. I love it and steal from it all the time. 

                                         --Bashan Aquart, Designer; SpotCo


2. Alan Fletcher's The Art of Looking Sideways is one book I cannot live without. It is a book that any designer should own; filled with a vast array of quotes, word play, images, anecdotes that encourage me to explore new ideas and keep my creative juices flowing. My favorite thing to do with this 500+ page work-of-art is to close my eyes and flip to a random page, and see what inspiration will come from it. Alan Fletcher was a genius... and I am honored to have met him just months before he passed away. His thoughtfully designed book balances color, typography and subject matter in ways the make it the perfect addition to any designer's coffee table.

                                                                --Greg Coleman, Designer; SpotCo


3. Sometimes a book is such an attractive and satisfying object that the decision to own it is made before ever opening the cover. Fortunately for you and me, Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005 delivers on the promise made by its appealing package. Spanning 70 years of Penguin paperbacks, this book documents both the evolution of book cover design and the publishing industry. I find it particularly inspiring for showing how designers can establish a strong brand or visual style across an entire series in new and interesting ways. And I have a total soft spot for the covers of the 1960's.

                                                          --Amanda Spielman, Designer; SpotCo


4. Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Mike Perry is one of those books that I can open to any page and instantly think, "I wish I was awesome." I love hand drawn type and this book is my favorite source of inspiration when the opportunity to draw some type arises. Mike has included a great collection of artists and designers with a variety of styles. It's also a conversation starter when your friends stop by and see a book called Hand Job on your bookshelf.

                                                                      --Jeff Rogers, Designer; SpotCo

HIstory of Graphic Design.jpg

5. The graphic design book I cannot live without would be from my recent college days. Though I love my typography books, I have to say the book I go to most often is a textbook. I bought a book titled Meggs' History of Graphic Design by Philip B. Meggs, which was required for a class. The layout of the book could be better, but it offers visual and written information that helps to guide me in the right direction for further research when I am working on a project. Understanding the reasons behind a style helps me generate new ideas and adds enjoyment to my work. The book starts at the invention of writing and ranges from Japanese woodcuts to Art Nouveau to Russian Constructivism all the way up to the Digital Age. I would recommend adding this book to anyone's library not just for design reference, but also a lesson in history.

                                                                     --Kayleigh Ryley, Intern; SpotCo

Buy all these titles, and see the rest of the SPD Essentials today! Visit our store here.

  • Richie Lau

    Meggs History of Graphic Design is a staple for Graphic Designers. I have to agree that the book needs an overhaul in presenting its information. Perhaps so that it wasn't like a "college" textbook, but more of a historical inspiration.

  • goodboid

    I think the internet as an unstructured repository of design ideas has overwhelmed the publishing world. I'm learning through a series of controlled accidents nowadays.

    Thanks for the listings. They are a sobering influence.

  • Glen Karpowich

    I've always been a big fan of Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide by Ellen Lupton

  • Gail Anderson

    Mike--Contact me at g

  • Gail Anderson

    Patty and Gary will send me selections, right? Gotta get to 100 designers and I'm at 25 so far. You too, Mike Solita...

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