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The list applies to any design-connected proffesion, including 3D graphic artists, and is recommended to all of creative minds around the world.


According to the survey* carried out in 15 EU countries between 2008 and 2015, the average time spent on reading books ranges from 2 to 12 minutes per day. It has also shown how many of us declare reading as one of our main activities, with 16.8% being the highest score. These are quite disappointing results to be honest. People tend to make up various excuses as the reasons they haven’t picked up a good book in months or even years. Lack of time, preferring TV over books or being tired while reading are among the most typical answers why people don’t read. But why should they?

The key to success

There is one habit ultra-successful people have in common – they read a lot. For example, top business leaders such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg read up to 50 books a year each. And they are not just isolated examples, it refers to all kind of visual artists as well. Jonathan Ive, Patricia Urquiola, Marc Newson or Konstantin Grcic, to name a few, are avid bookworms too. Reading is the gateway to learning and knowledge. It also prevents stress and depression, enhance confidence, develop imagination and boost creativity.

But, what should you read?

Well, with more than 600,000 books published every year in the USA alone, that might be a tough question. But don’t worry, we’ll make it easier for you. Just browse through our list!

Dejan Sudjic – The Language of Things

Design is everywhere. It seduces, pleases and inspire us. The author shows that every object tells a story in the form of an absorbing essay and he offers us a whole new way of seeing the world. Dejan Sudjic is a widely known design critic. He was the director of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002. He is currently a director of London’s Design Museum.

Alain de Botton – The Architecture of Happiness

This is a book that analyzes human surroundings and how human needs and desires to manifest their ideals in architecture. Alain de Botton is author of lots of bestsellers emphasizing philosophy’s relevance to everyday life. His essayistic books are smartly written making them very fascinating readings about anxieties and aspirations of modern human.

Jun’ichirō Tanizaki – In Praise of Shadows

It’s the oldest book on our list. Despite being released in 1933 it’s still relevant to this day. The rise of wabi-sabi popularity during last years speaks for itself. In Praise of Shadows is a short essay that discusses traditional Japanese aesthetics in contrast with change.

Don Norman – The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things is a witty yet powerful appeal for good design of things that surround us. Don Norman is a cognitive scientist and designer obsessed with objects’ utility. He’s often being referred to as a modern father of UX (User Experience) what makes him acclaimed artist amongst programmers, marketers, architects and designers.

Adrian Shaughnessy – How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul

The most popular guidebook for designers that answers one essential question: how to become successful artist on several grounds? Adrian Shaughnessy shares wealth of experience built during his longtime artistic work and provide insight information on how to establish your design career. His handbook offers straight-talking advices for running a well prospering business.

Michael Bierut – Now You See It and Others Essays on Design

Engaging, smart and witty – that’s how his 50 essays comprised in this book may be described. Throughout his accessible short pieces from the past decade, Michael Bierut engages with a fascinating and diverse array of subjects that range across design history, architecture, urban design and pop culture. Michael Bierut is one of the most important modern graphic designers. He’s a partner in prestigious project agency Pentagram. He’s also known for being the apprentice of legendary Massimo Vignelli.

Juhani Pallasmaa – The Thinking HandThe Eyes of the Skin

Juhani Pallasmaa is a distinguished Finnish architect who criticizes dominance of sight in architectural design and culture. In these two books, Pallasmaa compellingly provides a totally fresh insight into architecture based on the rest of our sensory realms, other than sight. He encourages to step out of a system built on virtual reality pixels.

Knowledge at your fingertips

Our subjective list of must-reads is only a drop in the ocean, but everyone has to start somewhere. Treat it as an introduction to your success, explore the other books yourself and don’t ever stop reading. Sink into it and you’ll see yourself progressing in the blink of an eye. So, next time you have leisure time, grab a book. The knowledge is at your fingertips.

*All of the scientific data in this article is based on the Eurostat studies “World Book Day” available here: