Best Design Books

Book rating updated 15.02.2024

Dive into the world of creativity and innovation with our curated list of the best design books of all time.

  1. Steal Like an Artist

    17 327 ratings

    This book is based on the understanding that creativity is for everyone. It reflects the fact that nothing is entirely original and that everything draws inspiration from what is in existence, and therefore it encourages readers to accept inspiration rather than moving away from its source. Through ten transformational principles, it shows one how to find one's own uniquely creative path by taking from one's heroes. A manifesto for the digital age, it asserts that original is back for those who embrace remixing history.

  2. The Design of Everyday Things

    7 295 ratings
    Recommended by: Julie Zhuo

    Investigating the relationship between items and their users, the story introduces us to why some products please and others just frustrate. It introduces the idea of the user-centered design, urging to design things with the needs and abilities of the final user in mind. The author uses real-life examples in order to explain how good design unifies form and function to produce intuitiveness and ease of use. The book covers some fundamental principles like affordances, signifiers, and feedback, among others, that provide conceptual frameworks for understanding and improving usability – from doors to digital interfaces – this text would be useful for designers, or anyone wishing to understand the mechanics of design.

  3. Don't Make Me Think

    4 340 ratings

    Offering indispensable insights to web usability, the guide highlights the fact that websites should be made intuitive and easy for the users to use. It postulates that a website should be designed so that a user does not have to think too hard to find what they need. Written in a practical tone and with simple examples, this book describes principles for slimming down website architecture, effective web copywriting, and conducting usability tests in order to ensure a seamless experience for users. Ideal for web designers, developers and all those involved in creating digital content, it champions a user-centred approach to design in making the web more available and engaging for everyone.

  4. Design Patterns

    2 491 ratings

    This book acts as an encyclopedia in dealing with software design patterns. It presents a set of solutions to problems one usually encounters in the design of object-oriented software. The authors, experts in the field, classify these patterns and provide detailed explanations and usage examples. This book is perfectly tailored to software developers and software designers, helping them get more ideas on the improvement of their software architecture, making their code more reusable, and generally increasing the efficiency of software design. It is a must-read book for everyone willing to deepen their understanding of software design principles.

  5. Thinking with Type

    2 387 ratings

    This guide really gets down to brass tacks in the typographical world and shows how letters and text determine design and communication. It is precise advice on selecting typefaces and structuring layouts for clarity and punch. The book is designed for students to learn, through example, how to set type effectively. Print or digital media, this book provides the requisite tools with the help of which designers, writers, and students can make typographic decisions: decisions which are going to help the viewer read text effectively, and hence with optimal clarity and grace.

  6. Universal Principles of Design

    1 029 ratings

    This book is a complete guide to getting design right, comprising around 100 essential concepts around design. It's a deep dive easily accessible for those just learning the ins and outs of user experience design, and it offers plenty for more seasoned designers to consider as well. Whether you are dealing with graphic design, web design, product design, and the like creative fields of work, this work is very helpful in the comprehension of how design operates and means to apply these principles that could possibly boost your projects.

  7. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

    851 ratings

    This book would go in-depth into how psychology has an impact on how human beings perceive, think and act specifically designed for designers. It combines psychology insights with design principles that would help designers make better intuitive and engaging products. Covering a wide range of topics through 100 key points from how vision works to the way memory functions. This guide is an ultimate essential to any designer who wants to achieve excellence in his work by understanding better those he is targeting and improving the impact of his work. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of design and human behavior.

  8. Emotional Design

    812 ratings

    "Emotional Design" addresses deeply why objects make us feel the way they do and how designers can plan experiences so that users are not only satisfied intellectually but also emotionally. The book deepens in the psychology of why we love what we do, and why good design appeals as it does. Norman believes that good designs incorporate the human touch: the emotion, and they adapt and supply positive experiences in daily life. This is an enlightening read, evidencing the deep impact of emotional design on our lives and suggesting guidelines for designers in order to boost the emotional appeal of their creations.

  9. Designing for the Digital Age

    91 ratings

    Kim Goodwin's book gives the complete process for a successful digital product or service. It includes everything in the design process, from the understanding of user needs, the definition of business goals to the development of detailed interaction designs. It combines clarity of the explanation with practical advice, hence simplifying complex ideas. It is a must-read for everyone engaged in digital design and set of insights to guide through this digital age with ease. This book is useful for anyone who wants to design good digital experiences - from the experienced designer to those who have taken to it just from the beginning.

  10. Design Is a Job

    86 ratings

    "Design Is a Job" by Mike Monteiro demystifies the career of design and puts emphasis on it going beyond aesthetics. He takes the reader through the current state of things on how to get work as a designer and then on to managing it, which ranges from clients to projects and the importance of communication and ethics. Monteiro hands out invaluable insights and hands-on advice about working in the design business. This book calls one to accord that professionalism towards design whereby a designer should defend one's design and worth.


  • What are the best design books ever written?

    These are the top 10 best design books of all time and for this year (2024) sorted by rating:

    1. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.
    2. Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug.
    3. Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
    4. Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler.
    5. The Design of Design by Fred Brooks.
    6. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann.
    7. Design as Art by Bruno Munari.
    8. Emotional Design by Don Norman.
    9. The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst.
    10. Logo Design Love by David Airey.
  • What book should you start with to explore the topic of design?

    List of must read design books for beginners:

    • For Graphic Design: The Elements of Graphic Design by Alex White.
    • For Industrial/Product Design: The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.
    • For Interior Design: "Interior Design Illustrated" by Francis Ching.
    • For Fashion Design: Fashion Design Essentials by Jay Calderin.
    • For User Experience (UX) Design: Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug.
    • For a Broad Overview of Design Thinking: Change by Design by Tim Brown.
    • For Sustainability in Design: Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.
  • What are the most popular authors of design books?

    Here are authors of good books about design:

    • Graphic Design: Ellen Lupton, Paul Rand, Steven Heller.
    • Interior Design: Kelly Wearstler, Charlotte Moss.
    • Product/Industrial Design: Dieter Rams, Don Norman.
    • Architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright, Rem Koolhaas.
    • Fashion Design: Tim Gunn, Alexander McQueen.
    • UX/UI Design: Don Norman, Steve Krug.

List of top rated Design books everyone should read. Best sellers only!