Designer's Bookshelf

Covers visuals, typography, and deeper topics like writing and communicating.

The Non-Designer’s Design Book #

This covers the basics of visual design and provides practical tips on how to create effective layouts, use color and typography effectively, and more. By Robin Williams. (No, not that one.)

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited #

This is an extremely tactical way to do user testing on a next-to-no-time-and-budget way. A note of caution: your goal isn’t to remove all thinking and friction so that someone unthinkingly does something unethical or damaging to themselves or others. By Steve Krug.

How to Make Sense of Any Mess #

This covers how to approach massively complex problems in a human, easy way. You can read for free online. By Abby Covert.

Practical Design Discovery #

90% of a good solution is knowing how to ask the right question. How you discover matters as much (if not more) than what you discover. By Dan Brown.

Just Enough Research #

Research, but scrappy. Focuses on competitive advantage discovery, bias recognition and a lot more. By Erika Hall.

Continuous Discovery Habits #

It’s a different way of looking at product discovery and planning. Instead of “we want this thing, now go do it” you brainstorm opportunities to serve a goal. It is a welcome inversion of product discovery processes. By Teresa Torres.

Product Management for UX People #

Helps UX researchers and designers become better at product management. Essential in becoming a competent strategic partner to your product management peers. By Christian Crumlish.

Better Allies #

A concise, practical guide to what allyship looks like at work. And, conveniently, what it doesn’t look like. By Karen Catlin.

Resilient Management #

A good primer for first-time managers. Inspiring and loved Lara’s clearly delivered and immediately actionable advice. By Lara Hogan.

How to Have a Good Day #

Behavioral science-influenced approach to more effective interpersonal communication, overcoming obstacles, and general ambiguity. Lovely read. By Caroline Webb.

Cultures and Organizations #

This book discusses the dimensions of identity and how they affect interpersonal communication. It’s perfect when you’re working with people who aren’t like you. By Geert Hofstede.

Design is a Job #

Interpersonal skills. How and why Design can’t just “take orders.” Solid advocacy for responsible designs. By Mike Montiero.

You shouldn’t ever just read design books. Good designers are clear thinkers and sharp observers who can succinctly define a problem.

The best examples of such come from outside sources, as true creativity can’t come from being entirely self-referential.

On Writing #

This teaches you about managing your own time and communicating. By Stephen King.

Deep Work #

On focus and its importance. It’s smartly written, and has extremely practical tips. But it’s more than just being about productivity. It’s about how to realize ideas in a world that has forgotten how to slow down and think. By Cal Newport.

No Tech Magazine #

Seeing how people solve problems with little or no tech can inspire you to look at the tech you have in new ways.