Think Like a Designer

Profile of an experience designer or design strategist surrounded by textures and pencils

Here at Modernist Studio, we create products that solve real problems for real people. We believe in humanizing design — and technology — and that requires educating people about the way our process works in a scalable way. It doesn’t always come easy, but the process is one that can transform the way businesses approach and execute on new ideas, creating sustaining value over time.

We also focus on sparking new ways of thinking for those interested in design strategy, interaction design, service design and product management through courses, trainings, and bootcamps. This industry is growing like never before, and it’s up to us as design educators and strategists to ensure the next generation is equipped to think like a designer, ready to solve new challenges.

The hardest part is knowing where to start, which is why Modernist Studio’s COO and founder of Austin Center for Design, Jon Kolko, has written six books that cover topics ranging from how to cultivate a design mindset to best practices for design educators. We’re committed to educating the design community, especially as our culture, education models, and employment opportunities continue to evolve, and we want to ensure that these resources are as affordable as possible. Jon is offering two of his books online for free — so you can dive right in:

How I Teach: Reflecting on 15 Years in Design Strategy

Excerpt: When I started teaching, I felt very much like I was doing it wrong, and everyone would find out.

Over time, I learned how to teach by building on the work of other great professors and through informed trial and error.”

This book captures what I’ve learned along the way — how to teach design, but more simply, how to teach. It will be useful for new professors and adjunct instructors who are just starting out. Creative directors will also find value in leveraging these approaches as they build out training for their internal teams. And, individual designers can utilize the methods and processes described here as they evolve their skills and advance their practice.

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving

Excerpt: It feels like our world is spinning out of control. We see poverty, disease, and destruction all around us, and as we search for ways to make sense of the chaos, we’re turning to new disciplines for answers and solutions. New, creative innovations are needed, and these new approaches demand different methods and different theories. This book is presented as a handbook for teaching and learning how to design for impact. In it, you’ll learn how to apply the process of design to large, wicked problems, and how to gain control over complexity by acting as a social entrepreneur. You’ll learn an argument for why design is a powerful agent of change, and you’ll read practical methods for engaging with large-scale social problems.

We’re in the business of solving problems and that means finding effective, accessible ways to communicate what works and what doesn’t in design — and our lessons learned along the way. We believe these publications have the potential to shift the way we approach design education and, ultimately, the way we approach future challenges in the field.

Download How I Teach and Wicked Problems, give them a read, and comment here to let us know what you think! Let’s continue the conversation.




Modernist Studio is a strategy, experience design, and innovation consultancy that designs and builds the future across products, services, experiences and teams. Learn more:

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Modernist Studio

Modernist Studio

Modernist Studio is a strategy, experience design and innovation consultancy that designs and builds the future across products, services, experiences and teams

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