My father has run the same antique book shop for nearly twenty years and has dedicated much of his life to his love for books. From a very young age, I learned to love books by seeing the care and affinity that my father had for them. While the design community has amazing resources and websites for learning how to start out on your own, I still believe in the need for great books in a design education.
I’ve been practicing and learning design, in one form or another, for nearly eleven years now. It is shocking just to think about that. The first books I read were software product manuals and tutorial-laden introductory books. While I think they were great at the time, most “how to” reading can be done online through Smashing Magazine, Adobe tutorials, or CodeSchool. Especially with the pace of our industry, it is necessary to keep up on the latest tutorials, rather than best practices from a few years ago.
But the difference between copying from a tutorial and being able to come up with new and thoughtful ideas comes from learning design theory. Design theory helps to build off the history of the industry while creating basic guidelines for the future. For every student looking to start a career in design, I have narrowed bare-minimum reading down to ten books. If you pair these books with your own tutorials and side projects, I believe that you’ll have the fundamentals for creating beautiful visual design in print or on the web.