Books for Creative Small Business Owners

If you’re new here, you’ll learn very quickly that I’m really good at buying books. While I was in school, I had a few professors that would bring in or recommend books to us. The second a book was passed to me, I knew I’d be looking it up on Amazon seconds later.

A lot of these I’ve read, skimmed, and a few I haven’t been able to read just yet. Here’s a list of must read books for creative small business owners. There are affiliate links in this post, to learn more about them click here.

Required Textbooks from College

Design Basics, Lauer / Pentak

The Elements of Graphic Design, Alex W. White

Designing with Type, Craig

The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst — One of my favorite professors had us doing weekly readings from this book. The readings that were assigned to us in class were so helpful that I couldn’t help but buy the book. I still need to finish this read!

Brand Thinking, Debbie Millman

A World History of Photography, Rosenblum

HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites, Jon Duckett — Great for understanding the basics of coding for web design. You can use it as a reference book or learn from the learning tools the book comes with. You will be given access to code samples when you buy this book, that will help you learn step by step while you read.

Javascript & JQuery, Jon Duckett

Adobe InDesign CC, Adobe Press — With any of the Adobe Creative Cloud textbooks, be sure it’s the most up to date version. Creative Cloud updates frequently, so you’ll want to buy the most recent copy to learn from.

Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Press

Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Press

Brand Thinking book by Debbie Millman

Related Post: The 15 Books I Read in 2019

Recommended Design & Business Books

Stand Out, Denise Anderson

Graphic Design Thinking, Ellen Lupton

Thinking with Type, Ellen Lupton

Design is Storytelling, Ellen Lupton

How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer, Debbie Millman

Leonardo Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson

Designing Brand Identity, Wheeler

How to Style Your Brand, Fiona Humberstone

Brand Brilliance, Fiona Humberstone — If you’re stuck on the branding of your business, this book goes through it all.

Mind Your Business, Ilana Griffo — I found Ilana’s workbook on Twitter and I’m so glad that I did. It’s a great exercise book that helps you identify your brand, inside and out. Highly recommend! Beautiful graphics, typography, and learning pieces.

Build a Storybrand, Donald Miller — The amount of sticky notes in my copy of this book would blow your mind. Great information to assist you with your marketing, website design, and so much more.

Designing Brand Identity book by Alina Wheeler

Books to Inspire

Cool Beer Labels, Daniel Bellon/Steven Speeg

Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili, Louise Fili

The Designer’s Dictionary of Color, Sean Adams

Duotone: Limited Colour Schemes in Graphic Design, Design 360

Playful Type 2: Ephemeral Lettering & Illustrative Fonts, R. Klanten

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, Graphic Artists Guild

Identity Suite: Visual Identity in Stationery, Victionary

Mindset Books for Creative Small Business Owners

Originals, Adam Grant

Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson — I enjoyed some of the ideas that came across in this book. I tend to really appreciate honesty and at times Manson was relatable.

Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso — Inspirational biography about how Sophia’s hard work paid off.

The Middle Finger Project: Trash Your Imposter Syndrome, Ash Ambirge

Are we friends on GoodReads yet? I’m hoping to read 20 books in 2020, and if I make my goal before the year is over I’ll be upping it to 25! Join the reading challenge with me!

2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Emily Lynn has
read 17 books toward their goal of 20 books.

Enjoy reading as much as I do? Join Book of the Month Club!

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An entrepreneur passionate about empowering women-owned small businesses by offering the resources they need to grow their online presence.


I'm Emily