Graphic Design: A User’s Manual written and designed by Adrian Shaughnessy is an absolute must read for a graphic designer. Actually, I should rephrase that, this book is an absolute must-reference for any designer. Structured as a very concise reference tool with each chapter, titled simply with a letter of the alphabet, addressing common and not so common topics in the design world.

If you’re anything like me when flipping through a new book, regardless of it’s topic there has to be plenty of visual stimulation and an equal amount of brain bending insight pulled from the text to summarize what I’m about to read (or summing up what I just read).

Motion Design – Most students emerge from design school with the ability to make images and text move. Inexpensive software enables anyone to produce moving image sequences, but it takes more than software to create convincing motion

This tool functions perfectly as an everyday reference and is equally valuable as a cover to cover read. I’ll be honest, I received my copy several months ago and have delayed posting my review so that I could give the book a once over from cover to cover. I will admit, at just over 300 pages or content (excluded the foreward by Michael Bierut) there is a lot to digest but all highly informative and all presented in a manner that is easily digested.


A very small sample of topics:

  • Accessibility
  • Blogs
  • Commissioning Creatives
  • Design books
  • Empathy
  • Finding a First Job
  • Greenwashing
  • Helvetica
  • In-House Working
  • Italics and Obliques
  • Japanese Design
  • Kitsch
  • Look and Feel
  • Modernism

If you’re a self starter, a freelancer, a career designer or just want an insightful perspective into current practices of the graphic design industry… Graphic Design: A User’s Manual absolutely lives up to it’s title and then some, this user’s manual belongs on your desk!

Learn more about the author, Adrian Shaughnessy at his website


Graphic Design: A User’s Manual by Adrian Shaughnessy
Published by Laurence King Publishing, 2009

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