Book Design

5 Must-Read Books for Book Designers

Book designers have the unique job of seeing the big picture while also focusing on the tiny details, both in terms of design and in terms of technical knowledge. Book design can be so detailed, that if you’re new to book design, it may seem overwhelming to know exactly which details to pay attention to. Which details make or break the design?

For designers starting out (or expanding their knowledge) in book design, or for authors curious about what this craft is all about, here are 5 excellent books:


Books for Book Designers

1. Book Design Made Simple

by Fiona Raven and Glenna Collett

Written by two very experienced book designers, this book is a valuable (and simple to understand!) resource for step-by-step book creation. Revised as a second edition in 2017, the book is relevant to current design standards and shows up-to-date tutorials in InDesign.

For even more up-to-date tutorials and tips, visit the book’s website at

Recommended for: new designers, experienced designers looking for new pro tips, and indie authors looking for a simple (but in-depth) DIY explanation for professional book creation

Find it on Amazon


Books for Book Designers

2. Book Construction Blueprint: Expert Advice for Creating Industry-Standard Print Books

by Joel Friedlander

This is a great resource for new designers and authors looking for expert advice on book creation. While ebook publishing is usually an indie author’s go-to, creating print books seems to be more complicated and mysterious. This book demystifies the process and even offers advice for printing and working with design professionals.

Joel Friedlander’s highly popular blog,, is another great resource for all things indie publishing. In fact, it was Joel’s blog that first introduced me to the ins and outs of book design. Before stumbling upon it years ago, I did not even realize that book design was a profession! Thank you, Joel, for introducing me to a whole new direction in life.

Recommended for: indie publishers looking for DIY explanations, new book designers, and seasoned designers (there’s always something to learn)

Find it on Amazon


Books for Book Designers

3. Aspects of Contemporary Book Design

by Richard Hendel

A more advanced discussion of book design, this one delves deeper into the details and philosophy of book design as an art. A good balance between theory and practical advice, the book also presents interviews with accomplished designers, describing how they approach and practice their craft.

The book also gives separate attention to the differing design approaches for fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, poetry, plays, illustrated books, and more.

Recommended for: the serious professional designer looking to improve his or her craft

Find it on Amazon


Books for Book Designers

4. Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students

by Ellen Lupton

Not exactly about book design, this one focuses on typography as a form of communication. Since that’s the core of book and print design, this is a must-read for designers.

From the Amazon description: “Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of ornaments and captions, lining and non-lining numerals, the use of small caps and enlarged capitals, as well as information on captions, font licensing, mixing typefaces, and hand lettering.”

Recommended for: new and seasoned book designers wishing to expand their knowledge of typography and visual communication

Find it on Amazon


Books for Book Designers

5. The Form of the Book: Essays on the Morality of Good Design (Classic Typography Series)

by Jan Tschichold

Recommended to me by an award-winning book designer, friend, and mentor, this book is a valuable read for anyone working with print and typography. Some may say this one is old-fashioned, but it’s an important classic nonetheless. Tools and software may change over time, but the principles of design are timeless.

Recommended for: professional and aspiring book designers

Find it on Amazon



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