Your back-to-school design reading list, by publisher

Alex Bigman

It’s that time of year again and back-to-school reading lists are upon us. If you don’t consider yourself to be a bookish designer, perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at the range of design books on the market. The breadth of topics, from biographies of famous designers to how-to guides about navigating the industry, is truly amazing. You just need to know where to look—which is not necessarily obvious.

Not to worry. Just for you we’ve put together a list of 15 top notch publishers of books on design (which often includes not only graphic design but architecture, product design and fashion, if any of those subjects interest you).

Here they are for your autumnal perusal:

1. A Book Apart


For something short and snappy, A Book Apart is your best best. Never tipping past the 100 page mark, they’re goal is simple – shed light on a difficult subject efficiently enough for you to get right back to work. Their focus is on web design, but some of the more conceptual offerings are great for any designer.

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2. Abrams


For comic fans, they also recently started their ComicArts division for all things comics, animation, and cartoons.

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3. AVA Publishing


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4. Black Dog Publishing


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5. Gestalten


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6. Laurence King Publishing


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7. Merrell Publishers


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8. Lars Müller Publishers


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9. Princeton Architectural Press


Today they’re partnered with San Francisco darling, Chronicle Books, for distribution in the Americas and recently were acquired by publishing behemoth, McEvoy Group.

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10. Rockport Publishers


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11. Taschen


They’re also famous for publishing some of the most expensive and extravagant art books in the world. If you’re feeling like a big spender, you can indulge in their $2,500 Annie Leibovitz hardcover (complete with fold-outs, supplement book, and a bookstand) or more notably, Helmut Newton’s SUMO for $15,000 which weighs in at 66 pounds.

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12. Thames and Hudson


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13. Unit Editions


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14. Viction:ary


Their series are especially interesting with City Guides (where 60 local creates show you the city’s best), Palette (explorations in color themes), and I Love Type (which showcase all designs in a specific font).

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15. John Wiley & Sons


While their subject reach is massive, they do also publish a series of fantastic graphic design textbooks for the more studious among us. Many of their books are in their 4th or 5th edition, with regular updates to keep their academic information up to date.

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What are some outstanding design books you’ve read recently? Share in the comments!

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