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Design On A Dime: Diy Graphic Design Books

If there’s one thing successful creatives share in common, it’s a knack for self-promotion.

Being able to whip up compelling posters, invitations, business cards, and websites is all part of making your work work for you. For those without formal graphic design training, there are a host of resources that give the lowdown (complete with infographics!) on formatting, layout, and typographic design; perfect for beginners who want to look like experts. Check out these reads, and you’ll never make the mistake of Comic Sans again.

Graphic Design
for Nondesigners:
Essential Knowledge,
Tips, and Tricks,
Plus 20 Step-by-Step Projects
for the Design Novice

By Jane Waterhouse
and Rick Landers

This primer is easy to digest and has tons of practical advice. For those who don’t come from a graphic design background, this book is a fantastic place to start understanding the elements of good design.  The first half of the book lays out basic principles like selecting fonts, colors, and layouts, and the second half covers specific projects, like business card and brochure design. The chapters are short and conversational, so it’s easy to flip to subjects of interest without having to read straight through.


Basic Typography: A Design Manual
By James Craig

Text is everywhere these days, and how you select and arrange type on the page (or web page) communicates as much as the words themselves. This book will teach you the typographic tricks of the trade. Organized as a series of two-page illustrated essays on over 100 topics, Basic Typography is useful as a desktop reference and enjoyable as a work of design in its own right.


D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself
By Ellen Lupton

For those interested in exploring new materials and concepts—for everything from business cards to wedding invitations—this is a great place to start. Lupton’s approach is craft-oriented and hands-on, taking readers beyond two-dimensional design.

365: AIGA Year in Design

By American Institute of Graphic Arts  

Get ready to get inspired. This collection of award-winning design from around the world will get your wheels turning for your next project. AIGA, one of the most respected associations for design, publishes this annual hardcover catalog, and it’s a wonderful reference for those wanting to feel the pulse of the graphic design industry.


By Michael Evamy

Selecting a logo is one of the most crucial design decisions you’ll make as a creative independent businessperson. Michael Evamy presents hundreds of logos—from the old and true to newest of the new—and breaks down a variety of approaches to identity design. This is a helpful reference book for both professional designers and wannabes.

What the Font?!

 Ever see a font you like and wonder what it is? Now there’s a website that will aid your typographic sleuth work. Just upload a photo of any font you see in print, and What the Font?! will tell you what it is!

Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field
By Helen Armstrong

For those wanting to beef up their knowledge of the history and theory of design, this collection of essays—from established luminaries to emerging contemporary designers—is a great place to start. Topics include social responsibility, typography, and Internet culture. A truly fascinating insight into the way that designers conceptually frame their work, this book has many overlaps with other fields of production, including the fine arts and architecture.