20 Design Books to Read Before the End of the Year [2023 Career Guide]

With the design industry continuously changing, it’s essential to be aware of the latest trends and approaches. However, with so many books available on this subject matter, how can you decide which ones are worth your time? Worry not! We have put together an accurate list of must-read design books for 2023 so that you may become more informed in no time. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, these design books will give you insight into what’s hot in the world of design right now — as well as what’s just timeless. 

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Our 2023 Career Guide provides all the information you need on which design books to read before the end of this year, from essential reading materials to inspiring stories of success in the field. Without further delay, let’s get started — so you can start reading!

Important Disclaimer: This blog post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

1. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

“Don’t Make Me Think” is the go-to book for anyone seeking to enhance their web design abilities. Author Steve Krug has penned an authoritative, yet easy-to-understand look at how to create user-friendly websites from navigation and layout to writing content for the internet. The comprehensive guide offers invaluable insights regardless if you are a beginner or an expert in website development – making it essential when striving toward a better online experience.

Key takeaways: Design should be focused on making the user’s task as easy as possible, and that simple and intuitive design is key to creating a successful website.

2. Seductive Interaction Design by Stephen Anderson

Stephen Anderson’s “Seductive Interaction Design” is a resource for novices and pros alike, providing practical advice on crafting compelling products and services with the aid of persuasion techniques, storytelling, and gamification. This comprehensive guide dives deep into creating experiences that capture attention while driving conversions.

Key takeaways: Design should be focused on creating a positive user experience, and by understanding the principles of persuasion, designers can create more effective interactions.

3. Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell

“Designing Interfaces” by Jenifer Tidwell provides an extensive overview of how to create user-friendly and intuitive interfaces. From layout, navigation, and visual design, to the specific considerations for mobile devices and web applications – this book is a must-read for anyone serious about crafting effective techniques. By using her clear explanations and helpful examples, readers will be able to confidently create usable solutions in no time.

Key takeaways: Good interface design is about creating a clear and consistent user experience, and by following established design patterns, designers can create interfaces that are easy to use and understand.

4. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, and David Cronin

The newest edition of the renowned “About Face 3” book—crafted by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, and David Cronin—offers an in-depth look into interaction design. From user-centered design to interface design, this incredible read provides a thorough examination of all aspects related to building efficient interactions with users.

Key takeaways: Design should be focused on creating a positive user experience, and by understanding the principles of interaction design, designers can create more effective interactions.

5. Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton

“Thinking with Type” by Ellen Lupton is an all-encompassing guide to the world of typography and its importance in design. It covers everything from selecting, arranging, and making type more legible to hierarchy, contrast, and even a brief history lesson on typefaces. This book has something for everyone and includes examples ranging from print media to web design.

Key takeaways: You need to understand the various complexities of typography and its substantial influence on design and legibility. Moreover, when deciding which typefaces to use for your project—and how they should be formatted—it’s essential to take into account who your target audience is as well as the message you want them to receive.

6. Laws of UX: Using Psychology to Design Better Products & Services by Jon Yablonski

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing guide to UX design, this book is the perfect resource. It goes into detail about the psychology behind user experience design. In addition to providing a comprehensive analysis of this topic, it also has practical advice on how to implement them in crafting user-centric designs that are engaging while providing maximum efficiency.

Key takeaways: It’s essential to understand the significance of user-centered design and have knowledge of psychological techniques for creating an effective interface that users will find pleasant and enjoyable.

7. Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro

Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro is a must-read for any entrepreneur or design-savvy business leader looking to build a successful company – whether involved with design or not. Monteiro fuses his knowledge of design and business to make a book that caters to budding freelancers and small business owners alike.

Key takeaways: You’ll learn how to be more efficient and effective in building a successful design business.

8. The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero

In this insightful and accessible book, readers are taken on a journey that unpacks the creative process of design – from understanding how it can be used to solve problems, create value for others, and even make things look good. Through meaningful discussion and easy-to-read language, you’ll gain an appreciation of why design is essential in today’s world.

Key takeaways: Design is not just a job, it’s a way of thinking that can be applied to all aspects of life.

9. The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger Martin

In this book, Martin dives into the power of design thinking for driving innovation and fostering competitive advantage. Traditional business strategies that center around analysis and structure have become inadequate in our constantly-evolving world; rather, embracing a design ethos that is centered on understanding others’ experiences, testing ideas out through experimentation, and regularly revising these concepts are necessary components to success. With numerous case studies detailing how companies succeeded through following these principles as well as instructions for replicating these results for yourself – this book provides invaluable insight.

Key takeaways: Design thinking is a powerful tool for driving innovation, and companies must embrace it in order to stay competitive.

10. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper

In “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum,” Alan Cooper argues that most technology products are frustrating to use because they are designed by engineers, not by designers. Cooper contends that the key to creating technology products that are easy to use is to involve user-centered design from the beginning of the development process. 

Key takeaways: Technology products must be designed with the user in mind from the beginning of development if they are to be successful. It is not enough to simply build something and hope it works.

11. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

According to “The Power of Visual Storytelling,” by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, visual storytelling is the best way to convey a message. This book provides an in-depth guide on how visuals, videos, and social media can be utilized together to create stories that captivate your target audience. Not only does this comprehensive resource provide you with step-by-step instructions but also includes examples from companies who have leveraged visual storytelling as part of their success strategy.

Key takeaways: Visual storytelling is an effective way to communicate your message and build relationships with your customers. It can be used to create powerful stories that engage, educate, and inspire people.

12. Writing Is Designing: Words and the User Experience by Michael J. Metts

Metts’ book on user experience (UX) design reveals how language plays a critical role in the design process. He argues that words are essential elements when crafting successful and captivating UX designs, recommending techniques such as concise phrasing, persuasive writing styles, and storytelling to boost the usability of any product or service. By weaving text into your workflows thoughtfully, you can turn an average product into something unforgettable.

Key takeaways: Designers shouldn’t neglect the importance of language in their design process and that writing is an essential aspect of designing user-centered products. 

13. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Brad Kowitz

“Sprint” is a book that provides a practical, step-by-step guide for solving big problems and testing new ideas in just five days. Written by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Brad Kowitz, all of whom have experience at Google Ventures, the book is based on their experience working with startups, non-profits, and large organizations. The authors argue that sprints can help teams make better decisions, faster by providing a structure to help teams focus on the most important issues and avoid getting bogged down in endless discussions.

Key takeaways: Sprints provide the ability to solve big problems and test new ideas faster, with a clear structure and a set of tools to help them focus on what matters most.

14. A Project Guide to UX Design by Ross Unger and Carolyn Chandler

Utilize “A Project Guide to UX Design” by Ross Unger and Carolyn Chandler for an in-depth look into the user experience design process. This comprehensive book covers all aspects of UX design, like research and persona development, as well as more intricate elements such as project planning, information architecture creation, interaction designing, and visual design. 

Key takeaways: By learning more about the UX design process, you will be able to utilize it in your own personal projects with confidence.

15. Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices by Dan Saffer

If you’re looking for an in-depth resource on the design of interactive products and devices, this book is it. It thoroughly explores interaction design from its core principles and techniques to create captivating user experiences all the way through to tools and methods used for prototyping and testing.

Key takeaways: It’s essential to understand users and their needs if you want to craft truly captivating, user-centered designs. There’s also great value in prototyping and testing interactions regularly.

16. The Design Thinking Playbook: Mindful Digital Transformation of Teams, Products, Services, Businesses, and Ecosystems by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, and Larry Leifer

The book covers the key principles and techniques of design thinking, including empathy, experimentation, and iteration, and provides a step-by-step process for using these techniques to drive innovation and growth in any organization.

Key takeaways: Design thinking is a powerful tool for innovation, but it requires a mindset shift and a willingness to embrace experimentation and failure. Likewise, empathy is the foundation of design thinking, and understanding your user’s needs and desires is essential to creating successful products and services.

17. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Don Norman’s “The Design of Everyday Things” is a timeless classic in the realms of user experience design, interaction design, and human-computer interaction. Published in 1988, this book has since become an essential resource for designers, engineers as well as anyone curious to gain insight into how people interact with their surroundings. To substantiate his assertions he offers everyday examples like door handles, light switches, or kitchen appliances.

Key takeaways: For an effortless and straightforward user experience, designers should strive to coordinate the product’s physical model with the user’s mental model.

18. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover

This book is a comprehensive guide to understanding and leveraging what your customers desire to create dynamic products that they enjoy. If you’re looking for a book that speaks about the intersection of human psychology and technology, you’ve found it!

Key takeaways: Embracing a user-centered approach to problem-solving and experimenting is essential to crafting a successful product that customers will enjoy for years to come.

19. Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions by Bill Scott and Theresa Neil

Whether you’re a novice or an expert in interface design, this guide offers the tools necessary to create captivating and interactive web designs. Covering everything from fundamental concepts such as layout, navigation, and interactions, to innovative practices like design patterns and best practices- get ready for your user interfaces to reach new heights.

Key takeaways: To design interfaces that fulfill user requirements and provide effortless navigation, it is essential to have an understanding of the user’s goals as well as a thorough comprehension of how the interface is structured. By doing this, users can easily get to where they need to go with no problems at all.

20. User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play by Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant

Have you ever considered how design is woven into the very fabric of our lives? From the objects we use to the places we inhabit, design has a profound effect on us. This book dives deep into this idea, examining its psychological and social implications, along with designers’ roles in shaping society and culture. Additionally, it explores technology’s convergence with design – an ongoing process that continues to modify our relationship with digital devices as well as our online environment.

Key takeaways: Good design is not just about aesthetics, but about understanding the needs and desires of the user, and creating products and spaces that are intuitive, easy to use, and enhance the user’s experience.

Read More Design Books in 2023

The books discussed in this article offer a wealth of information on the importance and process of usability testing, design thinking, web interface design, and more. By understanding these topics better, you can create products and designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to use and understand. 

And with these resources at your disposal, you’ll be able to build beautiful yet functional digital (or physical) experiences that will make customers come back again and again.

Happy reading!