Andrew Twigg Design Studio, Ltd


Now and again I get asked for a list of books and other resources related to design, so this is a start to that list.

Links that go to Amazon throw back a little bit of credit to me, so consider making a purchase through this page.

Design Books – Typography, grids, color, composition, and graphic design

Go! A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd is considered by many to be the most prolific contemporary book designer. He’s designed many book covers, books, and graphic novels. This book is a great intro to graphic design. Yes, it’s aimed at kids, but it’s actually not a bad guide to design for anyone new to the subject.

Thinking with Type, Ellen Lupton

Good primer for beginners, with a companion website at This is my #1 go-to for people interested in, but not yet versed in design. And, honestly, it’s a good book even for designers.

Typography Workbook, Timothy Samara

I think there’s a particularly nice spread in this book breaking down letterform anatomy. Don’t let the name fool you, this is a resource beyond a “workbook”.

Typography (Graphic Design in Context), Denise Gonzales Crisp

This is a book by my friend Denise Gonzales Crisp, and while it has elements of a primer, it goes deeper and wider than most books. And I really like the way it deals with the issue of style, something which a lot of books dance around. Denise is, by the way, a wonderful person and professor at NC State, and has been a fellow board member at DesignInqury.

Type on Screen, Ellen Lupton

Ellen’s “other” book on using type in electronic media.

The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst

This is a disputed resource on all the do’s and don’ts of typography. I think this is an interesting refutation of a text revered by many.

Interaction of Color: 50th Anniversary Edition, Josef Albers

The book on color. You should own this. Also check out the free app if you have an iPad; it gives you interactive demonstrations of some of the principles from the book, and has some of the book content. Even though the app content isn’t exhaustive, it’s an excellent free resource.

Making and Breaking the Grid, Timothy Samara

More advanced (just beyond basics) on grids and type.

Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (Design Briefs), Kimberly Elam

When you’ve mastered all the grid basics, this is the second of three books here that get into more advanced grid topics.

Typography: Macro and Microaesthetics, Willi Kunz

Advanced topics on type.

Design methods, topics, principles, research, exercises

Universal Methods of Design, Bruce Hanington

Written by fellow CMU School of Design faculty member and Director of Graduate Studies Bruce Hanington , this is a fantastic book which gives rapid, two-page explanations of a bunch of methods designers use to solve problems. I cannot recommend enough keeping a copy of this around, especially if you’re not sure how to think about solving a problem.

 Universal Principles of Design, William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, Jill Butler

Similar to the ‘Methods’ book above, but focused on design principles. This was actually the first of the two “Universal” books, and identifies and explains (again in rapid form) a bunch of principles that apply to designing.

Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills, David Sherwin

Decent book with mostly rapid exercises to develop your skills in prototyping and problem solving.

Design Reference

Design Writing Research, Ellen Lupton

Gets into the history of design; this is mostly focused on visual communication. Topics: theory, mass communication, symbols, deconstruction, history, case studies. It’s a bit out of date, but core concepts are still valuable.

Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design, Bryony Gomez-Palacio, Armin Vit

This book gives a nice and relatively current survey of graphic design: “a visual and informational guide to the most commonly referenced terms, historical moments, landmark projects, and influential practitioners in the field of graphic design”. Carries lots of examples, covers design principles, history, and more.

Web Books

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites, Jon Duckett

Good introduction to HTML and CSS, very visual book. Decent desk reference, too.

JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development, Jon Duckett

I’m just getting into this one, but uses a lot of the same visual explanations found in Duckett’s ‘HTML and CSS’ book. Not deeply technical; more focused on helping visual people to learn.

All of the books from A Book Apart

I have my students in my web classes read nearly all of these. And if you buy them in bundles, you save.


Here’s a far-from-exhaustive of online resources for design.

AIGA is the professional association for design, and their website has a wealth of resources for communication, graphic, and interactive designers.

Eye on Design is AIGA’s dedicated design blog.

Celebrate Design is AIGA’s look back at 100 years of communication and graphic design that connects, informs, assists, delights and influences.

Under Consideration has a bunch of design forums about everything from menu design and branding.

Code Academy is a great, free resource to learn coding. HTML, CSS, and Javascript are all great to learn if you’re a designer.

Unmatched Style is a daily blog featuring new web design work.

Design Observer is a great – at some times kind of heady – resource for critique, news, and ideas about design of all kinds.

Core77 is maybe the best industrial and product design magazine on the web.

Metropolis is a print and online magazine about architecture, product design, and culture.

FastCo. Design is all about design and business.