Below is a list of some of the many design and typography books I recommend you read at least once, if not have in your library for constant reference. Here also is a short list of my favourite bookstores in Sydney.

If you can’t afford to buy books, and they are not in the Billy Blue Library, then you should make a habit of visiting bookshops. You can usually spend at least an hour reading without being chased out by security! Reading and analysing the latest in design is a fantastic way for you to learn.

  • Published Art in Surry Hills has a great range of design and architecture books.
  • Ariel in Paddington has a wonderful range of design books and a few comfy chairs to read them in.
  • Berkelouw across the road from Ariel (and at Leichhardt) has many second hand design books.
  • Some of you may already be familiar with the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya in the city. It has a most unremarkable website but great range of books.


About Face
About Face presents and explains the typography basics required by all graphic designers, from the names of the different parts of characters, typeface styles and their function, to type measurement, typeface families, and type manipulation on the computer. It also looks at typography at work and features a wealth of applied examples by leading designers from around the world, who use, and considerably extend, the rules to create effective, communicative design. By David Jury. Buy at Amazon


Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works
This guide to creating good type is a must for students. It covers all the basics and then some. My only criticism is that the style of the design is a bit old fashioned. The message of the book, however, will always be current – ie. for good communication you need good type. Buy at Amazon

The Elements of Typographic Style
This well-written book is concerned foremost with creating beautiful typography and is essential for professionals who regularly work with typographic designs. Author Robert Bringhurst writes about designing with the correct typeface; striving for rhythm, proportion, and harmony; choosing and combining type; designing pages; using section heads, subheads, footnotes, and tables; applying kerning and other type adjustments to improve legibility; and adding special characters, including punctuation and diacritical marks. Buy at Amazon.


Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers,
Writers, Editors, & Students

Ellen Lupton is a designer, typographer, critic and teacher. This book covers the basics of typography in a clear and easy-to-read manner. You can read most of the content at this site or buy it at Amazon.


Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop
This book introduces grids and how they can be used most effectively. I have seen a marked improvement in the work of students once they read this book. It is available at the Billy Blue Library.



History of Graphic Design
A comprehensive history of graphic design from the beginnings of writing to the digital age. Available at the Billy Blue Library or at Amazon, where you can get a second hand copy for about $40.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann
Considered by most to be the definitive book on grid systems. This book is a must for any designer. From concept to instructional, this book covers typography through grid systems used in design both 2D and 3D.

Editorial Design – Yolanda Zappaterra
An accessible and comprehensive guide to visual journalism – the design of magazines and newspapers – this book provides an overview of current editorial-design practices including branding, how to create layouts, handling copy and images, and design and production skills. Illustrated by case studies, examples and tips, Editorial Design is a practical reference and learning resource for editorial-design students and experienced designers alike.





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