Q. Can you recommend some books about design?

A. Sure! But what do you mean, exactly?

It’s the first day of class. I have the usual long talk about the difference between learning design and learning software skills; and I assure the students we will be tackling both issues. At the end of class, one of my students asks if I can recommend some books about design. Well, sure, but which parts of design? Information design? Interior design? Web design? Green design? Typographic design? Using the grid? Or maybe he meant historic influences?

This time around, and it usually goes this way, the student wanted another resource for learning formal principles of design, or what Donis A. Dondis calls visual literacy. Here is a very short list of books sitting on my shelf next to me that I would pull out for the student if here were here right now. You can find these in your libraries and of course they’re available on Amazon or wherever you shop. Educators, would you like to add to this list?

Design Basics by David A. Lauer and Stephen Pentak

Primer of Visual Literacy by Donis A. Dondis

Principles of Two-Dimensional Design by Wucius Wong

Design and Form: The Basic Course at the Bauhaus and Later, Revised Edition by Johannes Itten

{Author’s note: of course I would add my own book to this list, ha! But we are using it in class already…}

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