Books that every designer must read

16 Books and increasing...

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

By Don Norman

The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.
This book is a powerful primer on how and why some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

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For Beginners

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

By Steve Krug

Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.

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For Beginners

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

By Nir Eyal

Why do some products capture our attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain things out of sheer habit? Is there an underlying pattern to how technologies hook us?
Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) with the Hook Model - a four-step process that, when embedded into products, subtly encourages customer behaviour. Through consecutive "hook cycles," these products bring people back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

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For Beginners

Sprint: How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

By Jake Knapp

Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution?Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X.

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For Intermediates

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design

By Alan Cooper

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, Fourth Edition is the latest update to the book that shaped and evolved the landscape of interaction design. This comprehensive guide takes the worldwide shift to smartphones and tablets into account.  New information includes discussions on mobile apps, touch interfaces, screen size considerations, and more. The new full-color interior and unique layout better illustrate modern design concepts.

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For Intermediates

Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile

By Jeff Gothelf

Lean UX has become the preferred approach to interaction design, tailor-made for today’s agile teams. In the second edition of this award winning book, leading advocates Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden expand on the valuable Lean UX principles, tactics, and techniques.

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For Intermediates

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

By Tom Kelley

A powerful and inspiring book from the founders of IDEO, the award-winning design firm, on unleashing the creativity that lies within each and every one of us. Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the ‘creative types’. But two of the foremost experts in innovation, design and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative. ‘Creative Confidence’ is a book that will help each of us be more productive and successful in our lives and in our careers.

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For Intermediates

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

By Susan Weinschenk

We design to elicit responses from people. We want them to buy something, read more, or take action of some kind. Designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. This book combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver a guide every designer needs. With it you’ll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for print, websites, applications, and products that matches the way people think, work, and play.

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For Advanced

100 MORE Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

By Susan Weinschenk

Thousands of designers, marketers, and product managers have come to rely on Susan Weinschenk’s original 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People as a “go-to book” for practical advice on how to use the latest findings in psychology and neuroscience to directly inform and improve their designs, brands, and products. Research hasn’t stopped since the book was written, and new design challenges have emerged.

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For Advanced

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

By Tim Brown

In Change by Design, Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, the celebrated innovation and design firm, shows how the techniques and strategies of design belong at every level of business. Change by Design is not a book by designers for designers; this is a book for creative leaders who seek to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization, product, or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.

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For Intermediates

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions

By Dan Ariely

'Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions’ is a book on human behavior which tries to understand why we humans tend to make certain decisions and behave in certain ways. This book takes into account human reactions across a wide range of situations and tries to decipher the reasons. The main aspect of this book is to find out the process behind decision making. The intriguing language of this book along with the powerful narration makes this book a must have.

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For Intermediates

Universal Principles of Design

By William Lidwell

Universal Principles of Design, is a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary encyclopedia covering 125 laws, guidelines, human biases, and general considerations important to successful design. Richly illustrated and easy to navigate, it pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the ideas applied in practice. From the 80/20 Rule to the Weakest Link, every major design concept is defined and illustrated.

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For Beginners

Inmates Are Running the Asylum, The: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

By Alan Cooper

Imagine, at a terrifyingly aggressive rate, everything you regularly use is being equipped with computer technology. Think about your phone, cameras, cars-everything-being automated and programmed by people who in their rush to accept the many benefits of the silicon chip, have abdicated their responsibility to make these products easy to use. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum argues that the business executives who make the decisions to develop these products are not the ones in control of the technology used to create them.

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For Advanced

ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever

By David Heinemeier Hansson

Rework is a unique business book which shows the reader a better, faster, easier way to be successful in business. The book tells the reader why plans are truly harmful, why people don't need outside investors and why a person is better ignoring the competition.The book tells the reader what you really need to be successful which is to stop talking and start working. This book shows the reader the right way. It teaches the reader how to be more creative, how to get exposure without wasting money and tons of other senseless thoughts that will motivate and provoke the reader.

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For Intermediates

Articulating Design Decisions: Communicate with Stakeholders, Keep Your Sanity, and Deliver the Best User Experience

By Tom Greever

Talking to people about your designs might seem like a basic skill, but it can be difficult to do well. In many cases, how you communicate with stakeholders, clients, and other nondesigners may be more important than the designs themselves. Because if you can't get their support, your work will never see the light of day--no matter how good it is.This practical guide focuses on principles, tactics, and actionable methods for presenting your designs. Whether you design apps, websites, or products, you'll learn how to get support from people who have influence over the project with the goal of creating the best user experience.

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For Intermediates

Creativity, Inc. - Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

By Ed Catmull

Creativity, Inc. is a book for people who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios―into the story meetings, the postmortems, and the ‘Braintrust’ sessions where art is born. It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture―but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, ‘an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.’

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For Beginners

Creativity, Inc. - Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

By Ed Catmull

Creativity, Inc. is a book for people who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios―into the story meetings, the postmortems, and the ‘Braintrust’ sessions where art is born. It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture―but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, ‘an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.’

Buy This Book
For Beginners