Books, Books & Books: 10 essentials for your shelves including Bierut, Brockmann, Ruder and more
As creatives, we all love books; that’s pretty much a fact. We admire, collect, and covet them (sometimes, we even read them!). But with so many inspiring books out there, it can get a bit overwhelming, so we thought we’d help out a bit by curating a list of 10 must-have books that you can always turn to for a creative boost. Be it on your bookshelf, bedside table or beside your computer.
One of the ‘fundamentals’ of graphic design, the grid can be a daunting system to understand for any creative. Introduced in the 1950s, grid systems have become a worldwide standard, helping designers to organise the layout and visual elements of their work. In Grid systems in graphic design, Josef Müller-Brockmann guides us through the guidelines and rules, from the basics to advanced techniques. Having had a rich career in graphic design and teaching, alongside an academic background in architecture, design, and history of art, Müller-Brockmann’s work is recognised for its simplicity and clean use of typography. Sharing a wealth of lessons from his career, Grid systems includes a vast selection of grid fields, all the way from 8 to 32, as well as clear directions on how to use each system.
Grid systems in graphic design
Considered by many to be a ‘branding bible,’ Michael Evamy’s Logo has proven to be an indispensable resource for many designers. Organised into 75 different categories according to their focal form and graphic association, readers can browse through over 1,600 symbols and logotypes. Whilst ‘highlight’ logos are in colour, the majority are displayed in black and white to emphasise their visual form. The book also includes a helpful index, listing logos alphabetically by the industrial sector and the name of the designer. Easy to use, insightful and inspiring, Logo is a must-have to consult during the research phase of identity projects.
Graphic design is arguably not only about communicating information, but also serves as a reflection of society’s cultural and economic landscape. The History of Graphic Design takes us on a tour through the turbulent history of the creative field, through an encyclopaedic and impactful visual timeline. Year-by-year spreads are displayed alongside in-depth features on several pivotal projects, profiles of famous designers, and short essays. Jens Muller and Julius Wiedemann highlight the seminal landmarks and provide a considered reflection on the development of the practice that finds itself in a continuous state of flux.
Providing an insightful look ‘behind the scenes’ of design studios, our very first book The Process showcases the unused and unseen ideas, concepts, mockups and sketches that were created during the branding process. It contains a host of identity projects designed by Bienal, COLLINS, DesignStudio, DIA, Franklyn, Hype Type Studio, Passport, POST, Public-Library, SocioDesign, Vertigo and Yuta Takahashi.
Featuring over 1,000 examples of the world’s most successful corporate identities, Michael Johnson’s ‘Branding in Five and a Half Steps’ explores every step of the development process required to create the simplest and most immediately compelling brands. Split into two halves, the book delves into the ‘strategy’ side of branding, the ‘design’ side, and the intersection where these two meet. Including in-depth case studies, Johnson explores the hidden (and not so hidden) elements involved in creating a successful brand; from the research and ideas to the use of colour and typography. For those new to or well acquainted with the world of branding, Johnson provides an excellent guide that readers will enjoy coming back to.
Branding in Five and a Half Steps
Delivered in his entertaining voice, Michael Bierut presents a breadth of graphic design projects in his design monograph that spans over five decades of his career. A former protégé of Massimo Vignelli and a partner at Pentagram’s New York office, the renowned designer documents his work as well giving us a look ‘behind the scenes’ through rejected ideas, and working models, as well as many preliminary drawings. Alongside project explanations, the designer provides plenty of illustrative insights into his process, his struggles, and his achievements. Beirut’s best-selling monograph is a frank and straightforward, yet humble journey into his varied and exciting career.
For those looking for some colour-coordination inspiration, the work of former artist, art school instructor, costume designer and fashion designer Sanzo Wada provides a vital and well-loved resource for designers and non-designers alike. A Dictionary of Color Combinations Vol. 1 is a collection of 348 colour combinations originated by Wada (1883-1967) who, during a period of increasingly avant-garde and diversified use of colour, was quick to focus on the importance of colour and laid the foundation for contemporary colour research. The concept of combining colours was not generally recognised at the time, so samplers of colour combinations were highly unusual. With a simple no-fuss layout, the book documents a collection of flat colour squares placed in over 300 side-by-side combinations. Vol. 2 brings back two more works by Wada, published between 1935 and 1938.
A Dictionary of Color Combinations Vol. 1
A Dictionary of Color Combinations Vol. 2
Emil Ruder is known as a pioneering typographer, and one of the originators of the Swiss style – known for asymmetric layouts, sans serif typefaces and flush left, ragged right text. This book serves as his legacy, offering valuable insight into the holistic approach of Ruder’s practice as well as the accumulated knowledge of a typographical mastermind. Ruder offers an academic approach to the theories and philosophies that underpin his new rules of typography. For those interested in Swiss or modernist design, this book can be described as essential.
Typography: A Manual of Design
The idea of being able to create within incredibly limited means has always been a fascinating topic for designers. This modern practice is explored in great detail in Graphic Design Manual: Principles and Practice. Armin Hoffmann, known for his use of fundamental graphic forms – point, line and shape – examines and analyses these elements in a series of creative exercises. In an era that saw a return to clear, minimalistic geometric forms, this revised edition of the 1965 handbook delivers valuable lessons for the building blocks of design.