Books to read if you want to design books, zines and publications

So you’re interested in learning how to design books, or you want to know how to bind your own books. Maybe you want to know how to start a zine, or how to screen print your own?

Well, we’ve picked a selection that focus on these specific topics related to book design and publishing, as well as broader aspects of graphic design and publishing, such as typography, layouts and grids, and printing. Many of these are ideal reading for graphic design students, but even seasoned professionals might find something here to teach them something new.

We’ve tried to keep the number of suggestions to a minimum. There’s many great resources out there, but we only want to include those that we have personally had hands on experience with. So, which graphic design books do we recommend…?

Books About: Book Design & Self Publishing

Book Design

Andrew Haslam | Laurence King Publishing
Hands down one of the best books on book design as a whole. From the history of books, to their construction and structure, to the use of grids, this is definitely one to pick up if you’re interested in book or editorial design.
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Making Books: A Guide to Creating Hand-Crafted Books

LCBA | Pavillion
The perfect starter guide to anyone looking to learn how to produce beautiful hand-bound books and publications, written by the founders of the London Center for Book Arts.
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Indie Publishing: How to Design and Produce Your Own Book

Ellen Lupton |
An ideal read for anyone looking to design, publish and market books, zines or publications, regardless of background and experience, written by one of the most recognised graphic designers currently working today.

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Books About: Book Cover and Jacket Design


Peter Mendelsund | Powerhouse Books
Peter Mendelsund is one of the most well-known and creative book jacket designers currently working in the industry, perhaps best-known for his cover designs for Steig Larsson’s ‘Millenium’ series. Cover is a retrospective look at Peter’s career that features insights from Peter himself, as well as from author’s he has worked with.
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Lolita: The Story of a Cover Girl

Bertram & Leving | Print Books
Just how do you tackle the cover design for such an infamously controversial novel? Many designers have, and this book looks at challenges they faced, their individual interpretations of themes within the story and the subsequent approaches they took to the taboo subject matter. Includes fantastic examples from the likes of Jamie Keenan, Ellen Lupton and Razvan Mitoiu.
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Books About: Zines & Zine Culture

Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture

Stephen Duncombe | Microcosm Publishing
A comprehensive look at the history of zines, self-publishing and DIY communication, and why the zine culture is still alive and just as relevant today.
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Make a Zine: Start Your Own Underground Publishing Revolution

Joe Biel | Microcosm Publishing
Want to start your own zine but not sure how to do it?Make a Zine is the perfect book for beginner zinesters, taking your through the DIY history and culture of zines, to practical tips on printing, producing and publishing them.
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Books About: Typography, Grids & Layout

Typography: Macro and Microaesthetics: Fundamentals of Typographic Design

Willi Kunz
Possibly the definitive book on typography and layout design. If you buy just one book about graphic design, it should probably be this one.
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The New Typography

Jan Tschichold
First published in 1928 and despite being 90 years old, this is still one of the most essential books on contemporary typography from one of the original masters of graphic design.
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Editorial Design: Digital and Print

Cath Caldwell | Laurence King Publishing
An excellent resource for any designer or student with an interest in modern day magazine, editorial, and visual journalism design. Looking at both print and screen formats, this book is stuffed full of case studies, tips and examples of best practice, from front cover right through to the back page.
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How to Create Typefaces: From Sketch to Screen

Tipo E Editorial
This one is pretty self-explanatory. An easy to digest book on creating your own typefaces – from how to draw them right through to how to digitise them. If you’re looking to start making your own fonts, chcek this one out.
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Books About: Printing & Print Making

Screenprinting: The Ultimate Studio Guide from Sketchbook to Squeegee

Print Club London | Thames and Hudson
A complete, no-nonsense guide to getting started with screen printing. Full of how-to guides, tips, tricks and mistakes to avoid. If you’re interested in learning how to screen print, definitely give this one a look.
Buy this book.

Books About: Graphic Design in General

Popular Lies About Graphic Design

Craig Ward | Actar
Much of the advice given to design students is just plain wrong or outdated. Statements such as “the client is always right” is opinion that’s regurgitated as fact. Popular Lies About Graphic Design aims to quash these opinions by presenting anecdotes from industry pros such as James Victore, Stefan Sagmeister, Deanne Chuck and Leo Jung that set the record straight.
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Books About: Creativity & Aspirational Thinking

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be

Paul Arden | Phaidon
A short and snappy inspirational read about achieving your goals from the late, great advertising veteran Paul Arden. This is a great book full of practical advice about getting ahead in an industry and just believing in yourself and your skills. I often like to read this one when I need a boost to my confidence and I always feel better afterwards.
Buy this book

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