Best! Books! Ever! (Part 5!)

Best! Books! Ever! (Part 5!)

This list makes 25! More great design books from your friends and peers--purchases you need to make to fill up that Herman Miller bookcase. If you have a book you'd like us to include, contact me at

jreq.jpg21. Jackets Required by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast is one of my favorite books to look through when I'm stuck on a design. Ironically, t's almost never relevant to the problem at hand, but it always gives me a good kick in the pants and shows me just how good book jackets can be.
                                         --Rex Bonomelli, Art Director; Scribner

meggs.jpg22. To be honest, design books that I probe for inspiration have become somewhat fleeting parts of my library. I like many of them for various reasons, but there are now so many of them that come out so often, it is hard to pinpoint The One. So, I'll give you the one book that has had the biggest impact on me, and therefore is a fairly important piece of my library. I hope it isn't too obvious/common: Meggs' History of Graphic Design, by Philip Meggs, probably holds a particularly significant place in my library because I had the pleasure of taking the course from the author himself back at VCU in 1995. I typically hated lecture-style classes, especially ones of this size, but Meggs was extremely captivating as a speaker and I loved to hear the various stories he had to tell. He brought to life his passion for the history of graphic design, and his book illustrated to me, at a fairly early point in my education, how significant and deep the history of our somewhat fringe profession has had on society.
                                                          --Brian Smith, Designer; School of Visual Arts Press

dconn.png23. I always find myself turning back to Design Connoisseur: An Eclectic Collection of Imagery and Type by Louise Fili and Steven Heller. As one who will forever be enamored by beautiful type and ornamentation, I can sit and flip through these pages for ideas, nuances, little elements and moments that will add that extra something or inspire me to find some other small detail to add the finishing touch.
        --Jessica Disbrow Talley, Owner; Bubba Rose Biscuit Co.

Typography_Friedl.gif24. I have a book which I love called Typography, by Friedrich Friedl, Nicholaus Ott and Bernard Stein. It is chronological up front, beginning with the present day, and going back in time to the origins of the written word. The book mentions typographers, type designers, schools, institutions, teachers and theorists with beautiful examples of all in alphabetical order. From Agfa and Albers to U&lc and Massimo Vignelli, making it really easy to find examples of what you're looking for. It's a great source of inspiration, as well as a way to check a particular time  period.  

                                                    --Syndi Becker, Design Director; TICP

7c61b340dca0f17e47246010.L._SL500_AA240_.jpg25. Nine Pioneers in American Graphic Design  by R. Roger Remington and Barbara Hodik, is a favorite. When it came out 20 years ago, this well-written and meticulously researched graphic design history book was one of the few that I actually read. It provided new information and examples from designers I was already familiar with and loved--Lustig, Brodovitch, Thompson, and Golden--but it also introduced me to pioneers that history almost forgot. It made me a fan of Lester Beall, Will Burtin, and Mehemed Fehmy Agha--who introduced graphical techniques to editorial design 80 years ago that I still use all the time. You can read about the genesis of socially responsible design and other concepts that are practiced by today's most respected designers. The illustrations are mostly small, black and white, but stunning, nonetheless.
                                                                            --Alex Knowlton, Art Director; Winterhouse

See all of the titles from the Best! Books! Ever! Series here and visit our store for all the SPD essentials.
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