The best 24 Design books

A Whole New Mind

A Whole New Mind

Daniel H. Pink
Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
4.5 (152 ratings)

What's A Whole New Mind about?

In an age where computers and well-trained workers from low-paid countries are taking over even white-collar jobs, what can you do to stand out? As we move out of the Information Age and into a new Conceptual Age, the answer is to start embracing the aptitudes associated with the right side of your brain, which were previously thought of as less valuable than analytical left-brain skills.

Who should read A Whole New Mind?

  • Anyone who wants to discover the difference between 20th-century work and 21st-century work
  • Anyone interested in the concept of “right-brain” thinking
  • Anyone who wants to develop the right skills to succeed at work in the modern age

The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things

Donald A. Norman
4.4 (275 ratings)

What's The Design of Everyday Things about?

This book explores the cognitive psychology of good design and what makes a product that responds to users’ needs. The author develops the common barriers to good design, how to reduce and fix errors, and how to bring users and technology closer together.

Who should read The Design of Everyday Things?

  • Designers, product managers, distributors, creators and manufacturers
  • Anyone who teaches design or other disciplines requiring creativity and inventiveness from their employees

The Laws of Simplicity

The Laws of Simplicity

John Maeda
Design, Technology, Business, Life
3.8 (62 ratings)

What's The Laws of Simplicity about?

The Laws of Simplicity consists of a set of “laws” formulated by the author to try to grasp the meaning and essence of simplicity. Along the way, it provides useful advice on how to introduce simplicity to our daily lives, business and product design.

Who should read The Laws of Simplicity?

  • Anyone who wants to design successful products
  • Anyone who wants to bring more simplicity into their lives
  • Anyone in sales or marketing

Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist

Austin Kleon
10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
4.5 (299 ratings)

What's Steal Like an Artist about?

Steal Like an Artist (2012) will help you unlock the secret to creating great art: theft. No artist creates their work in a vacuum: all art is influenced by the art that came before it. Steal Like an Artist teaches you how to “steal” from the work of your heroes, and use it to create something new and unique. It also provides important advice on using the internet to launch your career, so others can enjoy your creativity!

Who should read Steal Like an Artist?

  • Artists or other creative types
  • Anyone struggling to find inspiration
  • Any artist who needs advice on launching their career

Art, Inc.

Art, Inc.

Lisa Congdon and Meg Mateo Ilasco
The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist
3.8 (47 ratings)

What's Art, Inc. about?

Art, Inc. is a practical guide for artists who want to earn a living from doing what they love. Art, Inc. presents the business side of the art world in a palatable way, sharing useful advice and practical guidance.

Who should read Art, Inc.?

  • Artists who want to stop struggling and earn money from their work
  • Artists who want to understand the business side of the art world

Make Your Mark

Make Your Mark

Jocelyn K. Glei
The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact
4.3 (40 ratings)

What's Make Your Mark about?

Make Your Mark features the wisdom and tips of 21 of the most successful entrepreneurs and creatives of the last few years. These artists, coders, developers and writers share the secrets and ideas that have helped them take their respective markets by storm.

Who should read Make Your Mark?

  • People working in the creative industry
  • Anyone looking to turn their creative skills into a business
  • Leaders, managers and CEOs

Change by Design

Change by Design

Tim Brown
How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
4.2 (143 ratings)

What's Change by Design about?

Change by Design (2009) presents a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to designing solutions to address any sort of innovation challenge. In following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to more creatively develop the stories and inspirations that will lead to tomorrow’s innovations.

Who should read Change by Design?

  • Anyone whose job requires creativity and innovative thinking
  • Anyone interested in finding a better way to address problems in society
  • Business leaders who want to inspire creativity and innovative thinking

Lean UX

Lean UX

Jeff Gothelf
Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
4.3 (120 ratings)

What's Lean UX about?

Lean UX (2013) is a guide to applying lean principles to interactive design workspaces. These blinks explain the techniques of Lean UX and outline how you can best integrate them into your company’s design process. You’ll learn the importance of close collaboration and customer feedback, as well as how to constantly improve your designs.

Who should read Lean UX?

  • Anyone interested in how lean startup tactics apply to a design environment
  • People who want to design successful user experience more efficiently
  • Managers of design-based projects, or any professionals involved in one

Creative, Inc.

Creative, Inc.

Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho
The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business
4.0 (17 ratings)

What's Creative, Inc. about?

Creative, Inc. (2010) provides a handy step-by-step guide to setting up and running a freelance business. Clearly structured and packed with tips on everything from advertising and agents to portfolios and pricing, this is an indispensable guide for those considering turning their artistic talents into a freelance career.

Who should read Creative, Inc.?

  • People who want to leverage their creative skills into a freelance business
  • Creative freelancers who want to earn more

The Power of Visual Storytelling

The Power of Visual Storytelling

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio
How to Use Visuals, Videos and Social Media to Market Your Brand
3.8 (54 ratings)

What's The Power of Visual Storytelling about?

The Power of Visual Storytelling (2014) is the ultimate guide in showing you how to tell stories through visuals and how to use this technique to your company’s advantage. With well-illustrated examples, these blinks explain in detail how you can master today’s most important social media platforms through powerful images.  

Who should read The Power of Visual Storytelling?

  • Anyone interested in social media marketing
  • Marketers, advertisers and people working in communications
  • Artists and designers eager to tell more compelling visual stories

Happy City

Happy City

Charles Montgomery
Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
4.4 (35 ratings)

What's Happy City about?

Happy City (2013) explains how urban planning can help us live healthier and more joyful lives in the big city. From the history of urban sprawl to design blunders, to strategies that encourage residents to socialize, relax and exercise, these blinks reveal the hidden features that can make or break city life.

Who should read Happy City?

  • Readers thinking about moving to a new city
  • Students of social psychology or urban planning
  • People fascinated by the inner workings of urban life

The Innovator’s Hypothesis

The Innovator’s Hypothesis

Michael Schrage
How Cheap Experiments Are Worth More than Good Ideas
3.9 (46 ratings)

What's The Innovator’s Hypothesis about?

The Innovator’s Hypothesis (2014) shows us how modern innovation no longer comes from big, costly, time-intensive research and development departments. These days, the innovation process is different. Big ideas come from business experiments being quickly conducted by small teams at little cost. It’s time to get on board and find out how your business can adapt for the future – before it’s too late!

Who should read The Innovator’s Hypothesis?

  • Futurists interested in how the next big idea will emerge
  • Innovators interested in lean and agile systems of creativity
  • Entrepreneurs trying to think outside the box

Content Inc.

Content Inc.

Joe Pulizzi
How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses
4.5 (71 ratings)

What's Content Inc. about?

Content, Inc. (2015) is a useful and practical guide on how to use content management to market your business, attract an audience and bring your ideas to the world. These blinks are packed with tips and tricks that will help you turn that audience into loyal subscribers and allow you to diversify your brand and move to the forefront of your industry.

Who should read Content Inc.?

  • Entrepreneurs looking to start a business
  • CEOs who want a more effective marketing strategy
  • Anyone who wants to disseminate their ideas

21 Days to a Big Idea

21 Days to a Big Idea

Bryan Mattimore
Creating Breakthrough Business Concepts
4.3 (164 ratings)

What's 21 Days to a Big Idea about?

21 Days to a Big Idea (2015) is your guide to rekindling playful creativity and discovering the countless bright ideas your brain is capable of producing. These blinks share the secrets behind simple yet effective techniques to get your creative juices flowing, and provide helpful tips for turning your wild ideas into a viable business.

Who should read 21 Days to a Big Idea?

  • Entrepreneurs who feel stuck in a creative block
  • Product developers seeking simple creative techniques to incorporate into their routines
  • Business-savvy readers looking for inspiration for a new project

The Architecture of Happiness

The Architecture of Happiness

Alain de Botton
3.9 (65 ratings)

What's The Architecture of Happiness about?

The Architecture of Happiness (2006) is about how humans relate to architecture and design. These blinks demystify the power of architecture by explaining why different people prefer specific buildings, how design speaks to us and how we can use architecture to bring out our best.

Who should read The Architecture of Happiness?

  • People with an interest in architecture and design
  • Anyone looking for a novel perspective on human happiness

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Susan M. Weinschenk
4.4 (238 ratings)

What's 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People about?

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (2011) is an essential guide for every designer. Combining research and practical examples, the book illustrates how important it is for designers to know, among many other things, how consumers make decisions and how memory is integral to good design.

Who should read 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People?

  • Product managers and developers
  • Design or psychology students
  • Consumers who want to improve their awareness

UX Strategy

UX Strategy

Jaime Levy
How to Devise Innovative Digital Products That People Want
4.1 (113 ratings)

What's UX Strategy about?

UX Strategy (2015) is your guide to integrating business strategy and user experience design. These blinks lay out a concrete path to develop a product and business strategy, as well as product experience that will captivate users, capture market share and catapult your start-up to success.

Who should read UX Strategy?

  • Entrepreneurs and product managers
  • UX, interaction and UI designers
  • Anybody interested in closing the gap between business strategy and UX design

Value Proposition Design

Value Proposition Design

Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda, Alan Smith, Trish Papadakos
How to Create Products and Services Customers Want
4.3 (132 ratings)

What's Value Proposition Design about?

Value Proposition Design (2014) is a comprehensive guide to designing compelling products and services. Real value comes from empathizing with customers to find out what everyday jobs and tasks they need help with. However, coming up a product that helps customers complete these jobs and tasks is only the beginning.

Who should read Value Proposition Design?

  • Aspiring or current entrepreneurs
  • Anyone interested in innovation and value creation

This is Service Design Thinking

This is Service Design Thinking

Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider
Basics, Tools, Cases
4.3 (108 ratings)

What's This is Service Design Thinking about?

This is Service Design Thinking (2011) presents the core principles of service design. By providing tools and real-life examples, it’s a great introduction to this evolving and interdisciplinary approach to designing services. These blinks present the most salient information on the subject.

Who should read This is Service Design Thinking?

  • Entrepreneurs and innovators
  • Students and professionals of design
  • Marketers and consultants

Do Design

Do Design

Alan Moore
Why Beauty is Key to Everything
4.5 (124 ratings)

What's Do Design about?

Do Design (2016) is a nifty handbook for designers, crafters, and creatives of every stripe who want to know what makes design great and how they can achieve it in their own work. Covering a broad notion of design, Do Design goes beyond the design of things to reflect on how we ought to design our businesses and even our lives. Ultimately, these blinks are a call for us to transform human lives for the better by creating more beauty in the world.

Who should read Do Design?

  • Designers who want to improve their creative process
  • Business leaders seeking to optimize their businesses
  • Anyone who wants to create beautiful things

Start at the End

Start at the End

Matt Wallaert
How to Build Products That Create Change
4.3 (145 ratings)

What's Start at the End about?

Start at the End (2019) provides a highly practical, step-by-step approach to designing products and services that make an impact on the world. Drawing on behavioral science, the process begins with a simple question: How do we want our potential consumers to act? It then works backward to figure out how to make that vision a reality. 

Who should read Start at the End?

  • Start-up employees looking for a way to shake up their industry’s playing field 
  • Leaders of established companies looking for their next big idea 
  • Entrepreneurs interested in applying behavioral science to their pursuit of business

Why Design Matters

Why Design Matters

Debbie Millman
Conversations with the World’s Most Creative People
3.5 (131 ratings)

What's Why Design Matters about?

Why Design Matters (2022) is a collection of some of the best interviews from Debbie Millman’s long-running podcast of the same name. It collects over 50 interviews from over 15 years’ worth of conversations. These talks not only explain why design matters, they also show how the principles of design extend to creativity in general and the ways in which we communicate and express ourselves.

Who should read Why Design Matters?

  • Anyone interested in the creative process
  • People fascinated by design and marketing
  • Artists looking for inspiration

Continuous Discovery Habits

Continuous Discovery Habits

Teresa Torres
Discover Products that Create Customer Value and Business Value
4.2 (247 ratings)

What's Continuous Discovery Habits about?

Continuous Discovery Habits (2021) explores how product managers and designers can keep making a positive impact on their customers’ lives. It explores an optimal decision-making process for product teams, so that they can continue to improve their offerings. 

Who should read Continuous Discovery Habits ?

  • Product managers looking for a new way of working
  • Entrepreneurs seeking a fresh perspective on creativity
  • Product designers

The Home Edit

The Home Edit

Clea Shearer & Joanna Teplin
A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals
3.1 (63 ratings)

What's The Home Edit about?

The Home Edit (2019) proposes a straightforward formula to organize any part of the home in a way that is functional, classy, and easy to maintain. The technique it teaches is equally easy for other members of the household to learn and apply, so that everyone can enjoy a calm, happy home environment.

Who should read The Home Edit?

  • Anyone trying to maintain order and beauty in their homes
  • Parents teaching their kids good housekeeping habits
  • Interior designers trying to help clients maintain the spaces they create

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