Graphic Design Reading List

From the very early days of my career, graphic design has always been my source of inspiration for my web design. I also decided from the beginning that I wanted to focus on the web rather than print, but I had learned how to take print design elements and transform them into the web. Whenever I get a chance, I would pick up graphic design books to fuel my creativities. Here are some recent books I found in George Mason library:

More Graphic Simplicity: This is not a book to be read, but to be inspired. I am in awed with the beauty of simplicity showcased in the book.

Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type: A short, concise collection of user tips when dealing with typography, especially as types are increasingly popular for the web.

The Elements of Graphic Design (Second Edition): The layout of the book, which featured texts and examples around the main content, is a huge distraction. I have to mentally blocking out all of that noise in order just to focus on the primary texts. There are some great points on simplicity that I would like to jot down for future references:

Dynamic white space plus abstraction, the process of removing unnecessary details, are essential to sophisticated design (preface)

Visual simplicity eliminates unnecessary elements and structures those that remain in a logical, consistent system. Good design reduces the effort of reading as much as possible, thereby encouraging readership and uderstanding (page 3)

Again, the designer’s job is not to fill in all the space. It is to make information accessible and appealing. The best use of the page’s empty space is to help make information scannable, not to make the pages pretty. The point is to increase the page’s absorbability. (page 5)

The pauses between songs on a record show content the way white space does. Space attracts readers by making the page look accessible, unthreatening, and manageable. Leaving too little white space makes a page look crowded – good only if that’s the point you want to make. Leaving too much white space is almost impossible. I say “almost” because you will get groans of disapproval if you toss around chunks of unused white space, that is, emptiness purely for its own sake, rather than for the sake of the message. Readers are far less likely to notice or object to too much white space than to an unreadable, crowded page. (page 13)