Design especially UI/UX design is not a static profession. There is more to it than simply understanding the basics of design tools. Design, like everything else is in constant flux. Technology changes, styles change, tastes change, even core design principles change.
For too-many would-be designers, keeping up with new trends in design is as simple as scrolling through Behance, Dribbble, Pinterest or Instagram to get a feel for new trends. Unfortunately, trendy doesn’t always mean good.
Design, as I probably mentioned a dozen times already, is as much science as it is art. This scientific approach to design is what helps us build people-friendly User Experiences. It’s what helps us determine which colours look better on a high resolution computer screen, or a smartphone’s display. It’s the reason we take printing methods into account when determining shapes for our designs.
I decided to put together a recommendation list for the 6 best books to help designers do more than keep up with design trends. These books will help you develop a methodology for design:
Nir Eyal has put much of the knowledge he teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business into this 250-page manual on product design. In it, he describes in detail how companies successfully design products that consumers simply can’t put down. The secret lies in the implementation of what he calls a “4-step process” to hook consumers. I won’t spoil it.
For some reason, too many designers forget to incorporate one key thing in their design process: people. Don Norman argues that the lack of humanity in design stems from a conflict between arbitrary relationships between controls and functions. In his book, The Design of Everyday Things, he explores ways to design products that satisfy customers rather than frustrate them.
This Tim Brown classic finally puts the “Eureka Moment” myth to bed. In the book, Brown explains that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed. Only by implementing a process for design thinking can be turned into a viable business strategy.
Steve Krug’s famous book Don’t Make Me Think was first published in the year 2000. It has since gone through a number of revisions to keep it relevant for the industry in 2019. It’s message on intuitive design for information and navigation remains timeless.
One of a designer’s biggest challenges is creating a product that doesn’t need to be explained to a customer. A successful product should have a clear function that doesn’t require an owner’s manual. Intuitive Design delivers 8 steps to design the perfect product.
Why is Comic Sans the worst typeface ever? Which font works best on a particular website? The answers to a lot of questions similar to these may seem trivial to most people, but not to a good designer. Thinking With Type is the definitive manual on typesetting that every designer worth their salt should have on their coffee table.
Once you’ve figured out how to choose the right typeface, the correct formula for user experience, and strategy for intuitive design, you’ve learned to combine ‘design-as-an-art’ with ‘design-as-a-science’. This book will teach you everything you know in order to add ‘design-as-a-business’ to your portfolio.
Reading — and more importantly: understanding — these books will make the difference between being “someone who knows design” and “a professional designer”. Good reading!