The state of print design is ever-changing. Styles popular one year are hardly seen the next, and seasoned designers and neophytes alike come up with new ways to create better, more captivating images.

As someone involved in the creative and marking process, you must keep an eye on these shifting trends and emerging styles while maintaining a solid understanding of traditional methods. The following design books released over the past year will reshape your idea of the creative process, leading to stronger, more effective graphics and advertising campaigns:

These books will help you create better graphics and displays.
These books will help you create better graphics and displays.

1. “Picture This: How Pictures Work

This classic, originally released in 1991, is a great read on visual composition. It details how different elements of an image work together to best convey mood, emotion or information. If you’ve ever wondered why red makes an image seem warm or why diagonals induce drama, this book explains it in a simple, easy to understand format. What’s more, the 2016 release was revised and expanded in honor of the book’s 25th anniversary, so the information included is even better than before.

2. “Pretty Much Everything

If you want a peek into the mind of one of the most iconic designers alive, look no further than “Pretty Much Everything” by Aaron James Draplin. He’s had his hand in shaping countless iconic brands, including Esquire, Nike, Patagonia, Ford Motors and even the Obama administration. This retrospective tome chronicles Draplin’s experiences and insight into his designs. If you want to know how to make an image that truly resonates with people, pick up this book ASAP.

3. “Branding in Five and a Half Steps

Why do customers pick one brand over the other? Michael Johnson, owner of design studio johnson banks, has the answer. He argues creating an effective brand isn’t about providing a solution. Rather, it’s identifying the right unanswered question, a concept that applies both to your overall branding strategy and your graphic needs. By understanding what the customer or client is asking for, you can create an image that provides the right answer. Understanding the intricacies of branding helps you create effective campaigns and graphics that attract customers and pull them away from competitors.

4. “Do Design: Why Beauty is Key to Everything

Creating effective banners, posters, endcaps, POP signage or other graphics requires more than crafting a pretty image. The idea is to capture a person’s attention, and Alan Moore’s “Do Design” teaches you how. By analyzing the success of other businesses, Moore explains how the customer experience factors into the strength of a particular design. After reading this book, you’ll understand the importance of observing your printed products from the viewer’s perspective, not just your own.