Design Basics

Vision in Motion
by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Publisher: Paul Theobald & Company (June 1947)
ISBN: 0911498001
The most important book ever written about design philosophy, education and practice.

Design and Form: The Basic Course at the Bauhaus and Later, Revised Edition
by Johannes Itten
Publisher: Wiley; Revised edition (December 1, 1975)
ISBN: 0471289302
Itten wrote this book to share the fundamental principles that he taught all his students (no matter how advanced) before allowing them to pursue higher classes and goals at his school.

The Elements of Color
by Johannes Itten
Publisher: Wiley (January 31, 1970)
ISBN: 0471289299
Classic from the basic course of the Bauhaus.

Basic Principles of Design – The Foundation Program at the School of Design, Basel, Switzerland
by Manfred Maier
Publisher: Van Nostrand Reinhold (October 1980)
ISBN: 0442212062
“Design boot camp” from one of the most famous design schools in the world. It is arranged in four volumes and includes a large number of illustrated examples.

Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Graphic Problem Solving
by Judith Wilde, Richard Wilde
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications (April 15, 2000)
ISBN: 0823056201
Classroom assignments executed by students of the School of Visual Arts, New York City. It works much better if you get involved in solving the problems.

Interaction of Color : Revised Edition
by Josef Albers
Publisher: Yale University Press; Revised edition (September 10, 1975)
ISBN: 0300018460
Revised version is useful, but not nearly as comprehensive and in depth as the original hardcopy. Still a worthwhle read from a master theorist! Better than a good read is to get a hold of a packet of Colored Paper and replicate some of the assignments in the book. Best way to learn.

Language of Vision
by Gyorgy Kepes
Publisher: Dover Publications (August 30, 1995)
ISBN: 0486286509
Aprimer on the “grammar” and “syntax” of visual design. Kepes taught at the New Bauhaus/Institute of Design. In the mid-1940s he introduced a visual design program to the MIT School of Architecture. Those were the first seeds for the development of the Visual Language Workshop, now part of the Media Lab.