There are hundreds of books available to designers today in every imaginable field of design. While books can be a great resource for designers, the amount of choice can also become overwhelming. To help, we have created a list of our top 5 essential reads for any design student or professional which cover some of the most important areas within the world of design.

1. The Design of Everyday Things – Donald Norman

Donald Norman, a cognitive psychologist explains how design is used as a tool of communication between products and users and how as designers we are responsible for what is conveyed to the user through our design decisions. The book contains examples of both good and bad design and outlines rules that designers can use to improve the usability of everyday objects. After reading The Design of Everyday Things you will never look at another door handle or light switch in the same way again.

2. User Friendly: How the hidden rules of design are changing the way we live, work and play - Cliff Kuang with Robert Fabricant

User friendly is a fantastic read that highlights over a century of societal changes and how design has prevailed in aiding to get us where we are today. Through the use of compelling case studies, the authors unravel the story of the paradigm that rules our life and the journey of the user experience. User Friendly is a thoughtful and practical exploration of the rarely understood world of design.

3. Creative Confidence – David & Tom Kelley

David and Tom Kelley identify the key principles and strategies that aim to allow us to tap into our creative potential in our professional and personal lives. Creative Confidence draws upon the authors extensive knowledge and experiences from their work at IDEO consulting with some of the world’s largest companies as well the Stanford where David has taught the likes of nurses, bankers to computer scientists to think more creatively.

4. Thinking With Type – Ellen Lupton

Thinking With Type provides clear and focused guidance to designers on how to arrange and style written content. Whether you are designing for print or digital, this book answers the essential questions any designer may have. What type of font to use? How Big? How should those letters, words, and paragraphs be aligned, spaced, ordered, shaped, and otherwise manipulated?

5. Universal Principles of Design – William Lidwell, Kitina Holden, Jill Butler

This is the one-stop reference and resource for any designer. This book covers 125 laws, guidelines, human biases and general considerations important to successful design. Each principle is accompanied by succinct definitions and visual examples of the concepts in practice in order to help the reader make better design decisions.

If you would like any more book suggestions and to see a part 2 or have any other book recommendations of your own please get in touch! :)