I was asked recently what were the best books for logo designers to buy in order to improve their skills? My own library of graphic and logo design books is growing with every passing month, but there is always new books being published, tempting the literary budget to be pushed to it’s limits.
So what are my personal recommendations for professional logo designers and graphic design students alike?
In no particular order…
Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey is a pretty great place to begin your collection. Not only does it break down the subject matter into the basics, it lets the reader get an insight into just how a successful logo designer works with excellent imagery illustrating the process from the sketchbook to the final prints. Definitely an essential purchase in my opinion, also worth checking out David’s blog for additional information and advice.
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team by Alina Wheeler is another ‘essential’ in my eyes. I’ve read it twice and reference it fairly regularly – what I find useful is that it gives the wider perspective of a branding campaign, useful when a logo design project moves into additional output.
Symbol by Angus Hyland / Steven Bateman is a recent purchase that really acts as an inspiring reference book for symbols in their purest form of black and white. Intelligently organised and beautifully showcasing over 1300 symbols arranged into groups and sub-groups according to their visual characteristics.
Logotype by Michael Evamy is a similar publication to Symbol in terms of presentation and concept, except focusing on the typography as supposed to a visual icon. I’d suggest this as an amazing source of inspiration for graphic designers and logo designers who have a real love of type – personally, the really subtle tweaks to a logotype logo can work wonders, often moreso than an icon or symbol.
Color Design Workbook: A Real World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design by AdamsMorioka is a book I first came across in PDF format, purchasing the hard copy is in my wishlist for next month! It’s more of a reference tool as supposed to a workbook, but one of the best one-stop publications for all things colour.
Los Logos by various authors is an ongoing series of books focusing logo design inspiration from all over the globe. I believe there are now 6 books, of which I only own a couple. Again, these are great for breaking any stalling ideas – have a quick browse and you’re sure to be back with some fresh concepts.
Logo Life: Life Histories of 100 Famous Logos by Ron van der Vlugt shows an excellent visual history of famous brand’s logos. What I find interesting is that some brands struggle to find their identity throughout the years, with regular and ‘extreme’ changes, and others such as Coca-Cola seemingly having nailed-it since the turn of the century. I have a more in-depth look at this book here – 100 Famous Logos.
Street Logos by Tristan Manco is one of my favourite books from the Graffiti days. This may have been subconsciously one of the reasons I moved into logo design – who knows? Essentially, it provides amazing visuals of the more ‘graphic’ side to graffiti and street art with a heavy focus on illustration and character / symbol design. You can pick this up really cheap on Amazon, I suggest you do so!
Pentagram: Marks: 400 Symbols and Logotypes is an incredible, portfolio-like publication showing the logo design marks of Pentagram studio, alphabetically, over the last 40 years. A really inspiring little book with a surprisingly large amount of symbols, again presented in the black on white format that they suit so well.
The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher is another of my all-time favourite Graphic Design books. Less focused on Logo Design specifically, it inspires you to see things differently, thinking (a la cliche) outside of the box. Browsing it once in a while as supposed to sitting down to read it constantly jumpstarts a creative thought process, again not even directly related to logos. I highly recommend this one for all creative thinkers!
If you get all of them, you’ve made an excellent start to a solid logo book library! With the above selection, I think there’s a good balance of education and inspiration – getting the right balance is an important facet of growing your skills. You can have all the inspiration in the world, but if you don’t know how to utilise it, it will go nowhere.
There are of course a multitude of other books related to logo design, but I can’t vouch for them personally. If you own any other books you would like to recommend, please leave a comment below and I will add it to the collection – alternatively, feel free to buy me if you want my eternal gratitude!