The best design books are invaluable fountains of knowledge that provide an insight into the inner workings of all things design. Whether you’re an experienced designer or an aspiring creative, having one (or all!) of these design books on your bookshelf can help further your career and open your eyes to exciting new ideas and inspiration.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best design books for all your designing purposes, including interior, graphic and product design. If you like the sound of any of the titles you see below, simply click the retailer link to find the best prices.
Creative Bloq has covered design since its inception in 2012, so we know a thing or two when it comes to recommending the best design books for all your designing and branding needs. We’ve read and researched a wide range of design books that offer advice, inspiration, tips and tricks, and insider knowledge which will help you become a better, more rounded designer.
For more inspiration, take a look at the best graphic design books, the best branding books and the best illustration books.
The best design books available now
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Best design books overall
The best design book overall
+ Highlights all the important stages
+ Real examples from designers
+ Case studies, storyboards and exercises
The Design Process is a must-have for any budding designer or experienced creative. The author, Karl Aspelund takes readers through seven stages of design and shows real life examples, case studies and storyboards from artists and designers across multiple disciplines. At the end of each chapter, there are exercises for readers to progress their design ideas into reality.
02. Creative Strategy and the Business of Design
Best for strategy and jargon
+ Translates business, marketing and design jargon
+ Easy and straightforward to digest
+ Helps designers work better with marketers
Bridging the gap between business, marketing and design, Creative Strategy and the Business of Design translates terms and jargon for you to understand and apply to a creative strategy. This pocket sized book is crammed full of knowledge that’s straightforward to digest and can easily be used in practice.
03. Design: The Definitive Visual History
Best full design history
+ Gives a good design history lesson
+ Beautiful layout
+ Perfect gift for students and artists
A stunningly aesthetic book, both inside and out, Design: The Definitive Visual History showcases the evolution of design from its inception to modern day. The title is beautifully laid out with illustrations, images and examples to help you better understand the world of design.
04. Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
The best design book for aspiring designers
+ Fun illustrations
– Might be too simple for some
For new artists and designers, Steal Like An Artist teaches readers how to use their surroundings and creativity. Full of illustrations, quotes and advice, this fun title won’t teach you much about strategy but can help you unlock your potential and style.
05. How Design Makes Us Think: And Feel and Do Things
The best design book for graphic, product, industrial and architectural design examples
+ Covers all areas of design
+ Plenty of examples to take inspiration from
+ Delves into how design shapes the world
How Design Makes Us Think is essential reading for designers, advertisers and marketers, thanks to its wide knowledge of design and how it affects the world around us. Packed full of examples across all areas of design, the author explains how design explains itself and attracts attention.
06. Conscious Creativity: Look. Connect. Create
The best design book for unlocking your creativity
+ Stunning photography
+ Exercises, inspiration and examples
+ Helps you find your creative passion
A title full of stunning photography, Conscious Creativity: Look. Connect. Create is all about finding your creativity and what kind of designs you want to create. Ideal for design newbies, this book has simple and engaging exercises to get your creative juices flowing.
Interior design books
01. The Interior Design Handbook
The best interior design book for tips and tricks of the trade
+ In depth advice from a renowned design consultant
+ Practical tips and tricks from the industry
+ Helpful sketches and diagrams
One of the bestselling interior design books you can find today, The Interior Design Handbook is almost considered essential reading for any budding or experienced designer. The book is filled with helpful diagrams, tricks of the trade and useful advice, geared towards helping you become a professional interior designer.
02. Interior Design Masters: A Practical Guide to Decorating Your Home
The best interior design book for beginners
+ Advice and inspiration for each room in your home
+ Breaks down basic design styles
+ Perfect for aspiring interior designers
For beginner interior designers, Interior Design Masters is written by interiors expert Jo Thornhill and judges and contestants on the BBC One show, Interior Design Masters. The aesthetically pleasing book is filled with advice and inspiration for every room in your home which is easily broken down to help you with the whole process, including moodboards, design styles and finishing touches.
03. How to Live With Objects: A Guide to More Meaningful Interiors
The best interior design book for personal style inspiration
+ Encourages interior designs out of their comfort zone
+ Styling tips to make your home more personal
+ Beautiful imagery
A newer title released in late 2022, How to Live With Objects is a beautiful book, designed to help bring you out of your comfort zone. The title covers design history, style tips and house tours, showing you how you can introduce unique and outrageous objects into your home with ease.
The best interior design book for expert advice
+ Inspiration from design experts
+ Stunning visuals
+ Goes into all the details of each room and style
Author and design expert, Athena Calderone has pulled out all the stops for Live Beautiful, showing off the interiors from multiple expert decorators and designers, including her very own home. The book goes through each room and style in detail, offering helpful tips and advice on how you can try different ideas in your own home.
The best interior design book for styling spaces
+ Written by the stylist for Architectural Digest
+ Mix of photos, essays and anecdotes
– More of a coffee table book than a how-to
Put together by Colin King, stylist for Architectural Design and other interior design magazines, Arranging Things is a beautiful portfolio of how to arrange objects in the home. All images show how to position furniture, accents and portraits in rooms, with King offering advice and personal anecdotes in a series of visual essays.
06. The Fundamentals of Interior Design
The best interior design book for the entire creative process
+ Full creative process from start to finish
+ Encouraging and informative
+ Case studies and examples
The Fundamentals of Interior Design takes readers through the entire interior design process, from researching to building and beyond. The title encourages aspiring designers to find structure to suit their projects while also giving them confidence to experiment and find their style.
Design books: Products
01. The Design of Everyday Things
The best product design book that covers the basics
+ Fundamentals of product design
+ Good vs bad design examples
+ Product stories from the expert
Regarded as an essential resource for all designers, The Design of Everyday Things looks into the fundamentals of product design from expert, Don Norman. With examples of both good and bad design, Norman looks at his own real life examples and how you can study human behaviour to perfect your product design.
02. The Laws of Simplicity
The best product design book for simplicity
+ 10 laws of simplicity
+ Short and sweet
+ Looks at different perspectives
The Laws of Simplicity offers 10 laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in product design. The title teaches you how to tone things down and only introduce things that are vital and not just because you can. It also looks into how different perspectives view simplicity and how it can change people’s perceptions.
The best product design book for aspiring product designers
+ Helps beginners understand the basics
+ Examples, interviews and techniques
+ Inspiring visuals
Beginners will love Product Design and its comprehensive introduction to the field of product design. It details all stages of the creation process of a new product and provides an overview of design ideologies and techniques. Interviews, visuals and examples make this book look even more interesting.
04. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
The best product design book for understanding your audience
+ Insights into understanding your target audience
+ Poses thoughtful questions
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People gives you valuable insights into understanding your audience and consumers. Full of research and examples, this title poses thought provoking questions which helps readers answer and address their product design issues.
05. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America’s Leading Design Firm
The best product design book for strategy
+ Practical thinking
+ Written by admired and recognised design firm
+ Case studies and examples
From Ideo, America’s Leading Design Firm, Change by Design takes readers behind the scenes to reveal the company’s strategies and practical thinking into creating its products. The book is full of helpful case studies, examples and problem-solving methods and techniques.
06. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organisations and Inspires Innovation
The best product design book for design thinking
+ Explains the design process and methods
+ Best for expert creatives
+ Full of examples
Change by Design fully explains the concept of design thinking and offers real life experiences that are best for expert creatives and product design leaders. It dives into the collaborative process of product design that shows the designer’s methods and consumer’s needs with real life examples.
Graphic design books
The best graphic design book for inspiration
+ Inspiring designs
+ Thoughtful interviews and insight
– Not a how-to guide
Whether you’re pursuing a career in graphic design or diving into a side project, Drawing Type is a mix of inspirational designs and a workbook. The title features real-world projects and sketchbooks from well-known type designers to give you valuable insights and interviews for your next task.
02. Work Hard & Be Nice to People
The best graphic design book for smart career advice
+ Inspiring useful tips
+ Advice from a designing great
+ To the point
The reviewers at Creative Bloq found Work Hard & Be Nice to People to be sharp and concise, and full of inspiring and useful tips. The bite-size book is fun and easy to read, and offers sound advice from a design great.
03. Now Try Something Weirder
The best graphic design book for tips and ideas
+ Condensed creative advice
+ Tons of prompts to work with
+ Real examples
Now Try Something Weirder is packed full of prompts and ideas, based on the authors’ experiences from decades in graphic design. This concise and condensed book is snappy, to the point and accessible to anyone, not just designers.
01. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team
The best branding book for anyone in the field
+ In-depth insights
+ Easy to read format
+ Fun case studies
Designing Brand Identity is the most complete branding book on the market today. Despite its overwhelming size, this book has a huge amount of knowledge, including 40 case studies, and explanations of principles, theories and practicalities of branding.
02. Branding: In Five and a Half Steps
The best branding book for jargon busting
+ Beautifully written
+ Extensive advice
+ Busts branding and design jargon
Don’t be put off by the size of Branding: In Five and a Half Steps… this huge book is a must-have to understand everything about branding. Packed full of analysis and examples, this title takes a look at the most iconic logos, adverts and campaigns and explains their concept and why they work so well.
03. Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding
The best branding book for detailed project walkthroughs
+ Deep dives into 16 projects
+ Nice design
+ In depth information
In Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding, the author looks into 16 inspiring projects to give you insights into the successes of branding. The book is wonderfully designed and is an essential for understanding all things branding and designer/client relationships.