Graphic Design Reading List

Dig the breadth, diversity and cross-section of websites, articles and books covering a bevy of design topics. / via DJ

Categories of design readings

Busy Beaver Button Museum

I’ve had oodles of buttons produced by Busy Beaver (they do fantastic work). I didn't realize they’ve also made a book and started a button museum. Fun. / via Grace

Lots of buttons

CSS Zen Garden is 20 today

Admission, I never was good at CSS. I made things with tables and visual editors. But the CSS Zen Garden taught me how to see, understand and articulate CSS. Dave Shea reflects a bit on how important it was (and still is). I'm linking to Andrew Lohman’s contribution, but really the joy is in clicking around the archives at how others re-interpret the page!

Sample page on CSS Zen Garden with mid-century modern design by Andrew Lohman

Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis)

Hipgnosis made extremely iconic album covers. This is the trailer for a film about this art design studio. / thanks Tom!

hipgnosis album covers

The Federal Design Improvement Program

Phil Edwards shares history of the initiative that brought identity standards to government institutions.

EPA identity standards

Start low-fi

Erica Heinz shares perspective on why low-fidelity is a better approach for product development. In some sense, this is a great approach for any notion...

Low-fidelity wireframe UX sketching kit

A Mid Century

This poster from Eaton Print Shop made me chuckle. / via Chris Streger

Mid poster

Making an interactive blog map

Or any sort of diagram for that matter. Tom Critchlow shares an option that uses Figma, SVGs and CSS. I had no idea this was possible — this opens up so many doors!

Interactive blog diagram

Doug Wilson catalogs his library

From the shelving, organization, labelling and cataloging — an inspiration for anyone who appreciates everything in its right place, and accessible to share.


Naz Hamid’s personal website

For a long time this domain linked to other online homes for Naz. During the pandemic it started to evolve. Now it is a new destination unto itself. Thoughtful details abound.

Naz Hamid’s home page

A bearded dude in an orange hat

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is clapping back in support of their emblem on social media. Some chuckles in the replies / via Brand New

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation emblem

Designing Women

An enlightenment project exploring the impact of women in design. I particularly enjoyed all the profiles. Just digging into the resources. / via Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s Meanwhile newsletter

Geometric shapes form a square on the cover of a Herman Miller publication

Jason Forrest’s career chart

Followed the path to Jason’s site from the Eames quotes and I can get lost for days on his personal site. The career chart on his about / contact page offers a snapshot of his work and passions—a lovely bit of visualization.

Career chart by Jason Forrest

Charles Eames on design

“Design as a plan for arranging elements to accomplish a particular purpose.” Jason Forrest calls out a few other choice tidbits from this Design Q&A video with Eames. / via DJ

Eames stuff

Valentine Moon Pie packaging

I dig that the box for these can be cut up into 10 individual Valentine cards. / via Brand New’s Friday Likes

Strawberry Moon Pie packaging for Valentine’s Day

The 2023 Type Trends Report by Monotype

There are waves of vibe that crash into our visual shores through type. Monotype always collects keen perspectives for a surf report. / via Brand New

Type Trends Report 2023

Unsung Heroes

Here’s a great place to dive into Scott Bom’s personal website that has the best buckets of navigation and a fresh coat of paint. Be sure to delve into Documenting for a stream of inspiration and type releases. (But all sections are filled with goodness)

Screen printed posters with folks that change the world

Smith & Diction’s Pitch Deck

All wrapped up nicely in a Figma presentation with tangent links to moodboards and samples.

Smith & Diction's design process chart that includes logo, colors, type, messaging, brandwork and styleguide

Book covers by Pino Tovaglia, mid 1970s

I'm in dire need of a large stack of colored paper. / via a Present & Correct tweet

Book covers with mid century modern design

A deep dive into the RIDGE wine label

I've always loved these labels, with their understated design and use of Optima. Nice to learn the backstory and understand the system in place.

Ridge wine label design system

An interview with Geoff McFetridge about the interfaces in “Her” and then some

Seems like a good time to re-watch “Her.” Though the movie is almost 10 years old, its view of AI and interfaces is quite prescient. Scene: Firing up the OS for the first time.

screen grab from the movie Her. An interface shows a letter being hand written

More images of the interfaces in “Her”

Including a really nice sketch

Gradients and geometric shapes form an interface

I want to go to Sweden and have some fries

And a burger. Delighted by this identity by Kurppa Hosk. Also, I want to play Wipeout again. / via Brand New

Visual identity representing color and type in 3d landscape with characters of cheese, fries, onions, ketchup and mustard

Design System Advent Calendar

I trust whatever insight Dan Mall shares about Design Systems will be actionable and extremely valuable. (I also dig this format as it seems like it won’t be overwhelming!)

Design System Advent Calendar with sample emails mocked up in a mobile phone

Kazam Magazine

Speaking the Eames Institute, they have a (virtual) magazine to share stories about people, projects, and ideas that are shaping a better tomorrow. I kinda wish it was a real magazine, had an RSS feed or both!

Hands screen print an abstract print with orange and blue rectangles

Why Japan’s internet looks very different

This video by Sabrina Cruz is dense and mind-blowing from multiple angles. (I've been working on Japanese websites of late.) As Andy Baio notes, the addendum is well worth a visit.

Cloud of website designs organized by style

Just say no to logo

An appeal for a better design vocabulary from a favorite professor from OSU, Paul Nini. Get to know the difference between a logo, brandmark and then some. / Thanks DJ!

Parts of a logo include logotype, brandmark and signature.

The Library of Congress: Dietmar Winkler

Reminding myself of the trove that is the Library of Congress site, thanks to Antonio of AisleOne.

Screen grab of Library of Congress website with search results for Dietmar Winkler

An open source pride symbol

Microsoft creates a blend of pride flags and though it breaks the rules of traditional flags that rely on simplicity, I'm kinda digging it. Available on Github and Figma for use and remixing. / via dezeen

New pride flag that mixes together lots of other pride flags in vortex of stripes

Lotte Chair by Sarah Hossli

Simple design to help folks get in and out of the chair. / via Dezeen

A woman sits happily in a chair with high sturdy arms that aid in transitioning from seated to standing

The new Verge

I quite like how the new Verge logo overlaps and intersects featured images. Their refreshed design and intent is described in this post. Not sure about the commingling Tweets and articles, but I applaud experimenting.

Screenshot of a feature on The Verge website for an article about the Apple iPhone 14 Pro. The Verge logo is sideways overlapping the colorful image of the phone with a polka dotted background.

Paul Rand’s Logo Presentation Books

A trove of logo concept books from Rand. Many of these identity studies weren't approved. Still great to peruse.

Spread from a logo presentation for a new Ford logo. A model T in red is part of the composition

The beautiful signage of Comédie-Française

Theater wayfinding inspired by pulleys and ropes which are used to change sets on stage. More photos on CL Design's site

Two circular signs hanging from the ceiling in a very classic theater connected by a rope of light

Visions Not Previously Seen

Barbara “Bobbie” Stauffacher Solomon mixed Swiss graphic design principles with West Coast Pop art stylings, essentially creating supergraphics, and in doing so shaped the history of design. / Revisiting this link for inspiration

Graphic design by Barbara Stuaffacher. Very minimal geometric shapes and san serif type on a white background

Emma Bers

Dig the life and humanity of Emma’s graphic design. Bonus interview on It’s Nice That: If I’m Not Having Fun I Scrap It.

Colorful loose graphic design posters


A digital moodboard organized in chapters, and publish a new one whenever the mood strikes by Joshua Blankenship. For when you need some visual vibes in your #moodscrolling #ffffound

A mood board of cool graphics

Right On! A Documentary on Student Protest

AIGA has a solid deep dive (and video thumbing through pages) of this distilling reports of campus protests. David L. Burke's design keeps the vibe of a zine in a paperback format. It's gorgeous.

Todd Oldham’s Place in the Poconos

As my friend Thor mentioned when sharing this link, "More is more."

An eclectic living room with colorful couch and a dog sitting on the back

Hyundai N Vision 74

I don't think about sports cars too much because I generally couldn't fit in them if I tried, but dang Hyundai's design team is on fire.

A futuristic sports car concept

Rio Carnaval logo generator

It's fun even if you don't speak Portuguese (microphone access is optional) / via Under Consideration’s review

Rio Carnaval logo generator interface

The Ones

CW&T's favorite things based on guiding principles of simplicity, timelessness and long lasting design. / via belong

A hand holds a 10 outlet power strip

10,000 years of branding

Explained in 6 minutes by Debbie Millman. Many favorite moments, including this beautiful stretch: "Branding has become a profound manifestation of the human spirit."

A woman sits in a chair on a white rolling backdrop of paper in front of a library of books

Aaron Draplin Wake & Make Challenge

Closed out a day of computers & zooms & needed to do something & didn't want to think about it. This 5 minute type drawing exercise from Draplin hit the spot. (The thing I made isn't very good.)

handwritten words that spell out "Wake & Make, May 25, 2022 Good Type"

The greatest output of your careers will be relationships

The list of ”10 things I wish every design student knew“ by Cameron Moll holds up incredibly well over time, but also? Works for every profession.

A man in a black jacket stands in front of a classroom

TVA Multifunctional Computer

JK Captain made gorgeous renders of the desktop terminal in the Loki tv series. / via pb

A futuristic render of a retro computer with a circular CRT monitor and lots of colorful physical buttons, wires, knobs, switches and keyboard

2022 Brand New Conference

Mesmerized by the dynamic type. The introduction of variables to typography is opening up some many wonderful doors. But this? This is a Whole. 'Nother. Level. More details about the identity.

expressive parts of letters set in red on a bright teal background

Whimbrel Stamp Alphabet (and font)

Alex Tomlinson developed a font based on a 1940's Bird Lore magazine and a set of stamps to boot.

A bird for each letter of the alphabet illustrated on different stamps

IDCA ’72 Posters Program

Feeling very Helvetica flush left this morning. / simple beauty via Carl Collins

Posters designed with minimalism and helvetica

National Parks Poster

by Steve Wolf Designs. Dig.

Yellow and black poster with icons for U.S. National Parks

Bjørn Karmann’s Occlusion Grotesque

Typeface carved into the bark of a tree. As the tree grows, it deforms the letters and outputs new design variations, that are captured annually. / via Yewknee

A man sits on a chair in the woods and carves an alphabet into a tree trunk

Noto Emoji

An open-source emoji font in multiple weights (and a single color, even the flags). Jennifer Daniel has the deets and download link.

Rows of single color emoji depicting a chick emerging from egg, unicorn, flower, alien, tire, and pita sandwich

Excel, an overlooked design tool

I've done a pretty good job of making Powerpoint look good, but this is next level stuff. / via Sidebar

An infographic of a circle chart and bar chart

The new Condor livery

Brand New has oodles more images, but Condor has a sneak peek here. I would plan a trip just to be a passenger in one of these planes.

Striped passenger planes

The Empire Stripes Back

Armin Vit’s perspective on the Condor branding refresh is a delight to read. (Requires subscription, but _so_ worth it if you've interest in branding.)

A striped airline flying in blue skies

A great thread about music visualization

Sometimes Twitter's algorithm reveals good things. Like these tweets from Andrew Benson and the replies.

Sheet music visualized as a 3-D structure

The Fox is Black is back

Bobby Solomon had a great blog about creativity and culture that was a favorite destination for many years. It lives again today as a thoughtful and densely awesome newsletter.

A silhouette icon of a fox on a gray background

An open source collection of Design Principles

Collections of guiding thoughts from the likes of John Maeda, Apple, IBM, Fisher Price and 160+ others. A trove. / via @rjkwon

Design Principles set in a san-serif typeface on a yellow background

Swee kombucha packaging by Below

I like to imagine a future where all ingredients are listed like this, but realize it'd be impossible. Lovely work by Below studio. / via @manfredhwf

A bottle of kombucha with a label that breaks out ingredients visually on the label. Pomegranates round out the composition on a light pink backdrop

11 retro coffee makers

Pretty sure my parents had the SEB Model 980, which would look awesome on the counter today. These and more from a book titled ”Soft Electronics“ out in May from Gestalten. / via Sidebar

An orange electric coffee maker with rounded edges

Milwaukee Transit Passes

The Letterform Archive holds about 300 tickets in their collection thanks in part to a donation from type designer Tobias Frere-Jones... and they’re gorgeous.

A beautiful collection of Milwaukee Transit Passes