Design

20 Design and Creativity Books to Add to Your Bookshelf

Domestika teachers recommend their favorite books to get your creative juices flowing

Every great creative needs a great collection of books to inspire fresh ideas. With this in mind, several of our teachers have selected their favorite books that will help artists and students find the inspiration they need to launch their next project.

Check out the selection below and add your own recommendations in the comments!


The Book of Shrigley, by David Shrigley

Designer Marco Colín (@marco_colin) says that lots of people experience crises because they’re convinced they don’t know how to draw. This book by Shrigley is the perfect antidote. The simplicity of his work shows that a lack of technical skill should never be a barrier between you and creating something remarkable.

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The Book of Shrigley, by David Shrigley


Abstract City, by Christoph Niemann

This book is another recommendation from Marco Colín. In Abstract City, Niemann uses personal anecdotes to describe his daily life in a way that blends simple design and different intimate experiences about life in the city. It will inspire you to be more observant.

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Abstract City, by Christoph Niemann


A Designer’s Universe, by Alexander Girard

Lastly, Colín suggests this volume about “a man who did everything”. The style is influenced by different creative fields, from crafts to design. Take note of the use of complementary colors.

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A Designer’s Universe, by Alexander Girard


The ABC of Custom Lettering: A Practical Guide to Drawing Letters, by Ivan Castro

Typographer James Lewis (@jamesllewis) has put forward this book by Ivan Castro, in which he offers up a great panorama of what you can do with letters. This book is great for learning about different techniques and how to apply them.

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The ABC of Custom Lettering: A Practical Guide to Drawing Letters, by Ivan Castro


Designing Type, by Karen Cheng

Now that you know the basic rules of typography, this book by Cheng delves into the hidden depths of what really constitutes a typeface. This book will serve as a guide for understanding how our eyes read a text. This book is another favorite of James Lewis.

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Designing Type, by Karen Cheng


They Called Her Styrene, by Ed Ruscha

Lewis’ last recommendation, They Called Her Styrene, shows how a letter becomes a work of art. Ruscha was key in typography becoming a valued art form that became part of popular culture.

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They Called Her Styrene, by Ed Ruscha


Lovemarks, by Kevin Roberts

Lovemarks is a recommendation from FIBRA (@fibra_branding), a branding studio. This book, written by an experienced businessman, shows how brands have the power to stir emotion in consumers.

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Lovemarks, by Kevin Roberts


Wes Anderson Collection, by Matt Zoller Seitz

The FIBRA team loves this book, which celebrates the work of auteur filmmaker, Wes Anderson, director of iconic feature films such as The Royal Tenenbaums and known for his meticulous, colorful, symmetrical way of framing scenes. His work is very inspirational for this group of designers, and has transformed the way they plan for an upcoming audiovisual project.

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Wes Anderson Collection, by Matt Zoller Seitz


How to Read Fashion, by Fiona Foulkes

The third and final recommendation from FIBRA is this historical panorama explaining how fashion is interconnected with all other creative areas, from visual arts to architecture.

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How to Read Fashion, by Fiona Foulkes


The Visual History of Type, by Paul McNeil

Graphic designer and art director Elias Mule (@elias_mule) admires this book, which offers up an organized panorama of typography’s evolution over the years. It shows how design isn’t constricted to a time and place, but is a force that moves through history.

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The Visual History of Type, by Paul McNeil


Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, by Cees W. de Jung (org.)

Another from Mule’s selection, this book focuses on what happened at the beginning of the 20th century when radical industrialization changed the face of our cities, and consequently, also transformed typography too.

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Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, by Cees W. de Jung (org.)


The Adventures of Tintin, by Hergé

In this comic series, recommended by Domestika teacher Pietari Posti (@studioposti) shows how the Belgian school made its mark on the European aesthetic. The use of detail diverted from the popular stripped-back style of the time.

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The Adventures of Tintin, by Hergé


The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My, by Tove Jansson

Another of Post’s favorites, this classic Finnish book uses cutaway peepholes to create an interactive way of reading this delightful story and get the reader to guess what comes next.

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The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My, by Tove Jansson


Olle Eksell, by Olle Eksell

This book, a recommendation from Posti, compiles the best works of Swedish designer Olle Eksell. Working mainly between 1950 and 1970, Eksell combined drawing and design to create unique work that serves as a reference for those looking to work with bright colors.

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Olle Eksell, by Olle Eksell


Fantasy, by Bruno Munari

This Italian designer, whose work Silvia Fernández Palomar (@silviaferpal2) finds delightful, is a survivor of the futurist movement and often their work is called “post-futurist”. In this book, Munari talks about imagination, creativity, fantasy, and the difference between all three.

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Fantasy, by Bruno Munari


Artist and Designer, by Bruno Munari

Another monumental work by the Italian designer, this book establishes the limits of an artist and designer’s work with respect to the author’s vision, their relationship with the audience, and education.

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Artist and Designer, by Bruno Munari


Intanto, by Paul Cox

Another suggestion from Silvia, this book presents different stories that could be taking place simultaneously in lots of places. It awakens the reader’s imagination, forcing them to think about what happens in every scene.

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Intanto, by Paul Cox


Cosmos, by Carl Sagan

It may seem strange to include the work of an astronomer in this list, but Sagan’s work has overcome barriers and forced us to rethink our relationship with the universe. It was Sagan’s vision of the cosmos that inspired branding studio HUMAN (@human_) to choose the name they did and focus on design projects that think about humans as a collective.

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Cosmos, by Carl Sagan


México, by Lance Wyman

Another one of Wyman’s references, this book presents the work of a Brooklyn designer who found his style in Mexico. His work makes us rethink the concept of branding. His iconographic designs continue to stand out and have influenced many Mexican creatives.

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México, by Lance Wyman
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