Good Books for Design Thinkers to Read in 2018

A comprehensive list of books that will inspire you to think deeply in design

This reading list is based on recommended reading from a design class at Stanford — The History and Theory of Design. Main category: Design in Business, Contemporary Design, Design History, Sub-fields of Design History and Design Theory and Methods.

Design in Business

  1. Change by Design | Tim Brown
Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires InnovationThe myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most…

2. Make it New: The History and Theory of Silicon Valley Design | Barry Katz

Make It New: A History of Silicon Valley Design (MIT Press)The role of design in the formation of the Silicon Valley ecosystem of innovation.California’s Silicon Valley is home…www.amazon.com

3. The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage | Roger Martin

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive AdvantageMost companies today have innovation envy. They yearn to come up with a game-changing innovation like Apple’s iPod, or…www.amazon.com

4. The Opposable Mind: How successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking | Roger Martin

The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative ThinkingIf you want to be as successful as Jack Welch, Larry Bossidy, or Michael Dell, read their autobiographical advice books…www.amazon.com

5. Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value | Thomas Lockwood

Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand ValueDesign Thinking confirms that design, as a process and as an output, has greater opportunity to add value to the triple…www.amazon.com

6. Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design | Maria Giudice and Christopher Ireland

Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design (Voices That Matter)The majority of companies, their employees and their leaders navigate a space where competitors appear overnight…www.amazon.com

7. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm | Tom Kelley, Jonathan Littman

The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design FirmIDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid’s…www.amazon.com

8. Designing for People | Henry Dreyfuss

Designing for PeopleFrom the first answering machine (“the electronic brain”) and the Hoover vacuum cleaner to the SS Independence and the…www.amazon.com

9. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change | Victor Papanek

Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social ChangeDesign for the Real World has, since its first appearance twenty-five years ago, become a classic. Translated into…www.amazon.com

10. The Green Imperative: Ecology and Ethics in Design and Architecture | Victor Papanek

The Green Imperative: Ecology and Ethics in Design and ArchitectureThis work asserts the belief that the power of design can influence a more responsible approach to our threatened…www.amazon.com

11. The Design of Everyday Things | Donald Norman

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded EditionEven the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or…www.amazon.com

12. Living with Complexity | Donald Norman

Living with Complexity (MIT Press)Why we don’t really want simplicity, and how we can learn to live with complexity.If only today’s technology were…www.amazon.com

13. Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things | Donald Norman

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday ThingsDid you ever wonder why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses? Why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple…www.amazon.com

14. Women Designers in the USA, 1900–2000: Diversity and Difference | Pat Kirkham

Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and DifferenceA celebration of the many contributions of women designers to 20th-century American culture. Encompassing work in…www.amazon.com

15. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things | William McDonough and Michael Braungart

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make ThingsA manifesto for a radically different philosophy and practice of manufacture and environmentalism”Reduce, reuse…www.amazon.com

16. Where Stuff Comes From: How Toasters, Toilets, Cars, Computers and Many Other Things Come to Be As They Are | Harvey Molotch

Where Stuff Comes From: How Toasters, Toilets, Cars, Computers and Many Other Things Come To Be As…Molotch takes us on a fascinating exploration into the worlds of technology, design, corporate and popular culture. We…www.amazon.com

Design History

17. Design: The Whole Story | Elizabeth Wilhide

Design: The Whole StoryFrom the 18th century to the present, every aspect of design is covered in one single, spectacularly designed volume…www.amazon.com

18. The Story of Design: From the Paleolithic to the Present

The Story of Design: From the Paleolithic to the PresentEncompassing the fields of architecture, graphics, industrial design, and interior design, this definitive account…www.amazon.com

19. Theory and Design in the First Machine Age | Reyner Banham

Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, 2nd Edition (MIT Press)First published in 1960, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age has become required reading in numerous courses on…www.amazon.com

20. Twentieth Century Limited: Industrial Design in America, 1925–1939 | Jeffrey Meikle

Twentieth Century Limited: Industrial Design In America 1925-1939 (American Civilization)In the late 1920s streamlined became the term businessmen used to describe new models that were easier to produce and…www.amazon.com

21. History of Modern Design | David Raizman

History of Modern Design (2nd Edition) (Fashion Series)Filling the gap for an extensively illustrated history of modern design, this introduction provides a balanced…www.amazon.com

22. An Introduction to Design and Culture: 1900 to the Present | Penny Sparke

An Introduction to Design and Culture: 1900 to the PresentThis third edition of An Introduction to Design and Culture has been revised and updated throughout to include issues…www.amazon.com

23. Twentieth-Century Design | Jonathan Woodham

Twentieth-Century Design (Oxford History of Art)The most famous designs of the twentieth century are not those in museums, but in the marketplace. The Coca-Cola bottle…www.amazon.com

Sub-fields of Design History

24. A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals | Spiro Kostof, Gregory Castillo

World Architecture: A Cross-Cultural HistorySpiro Kostof’s groundbreaking work, A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals, helped to reshape the study of…www.amazon.com

25. A History of Graphic Design | Philip Meggs, Alston Purvis

Meggs’ History of Graphic DesignThe bestselling graphic design reference, updated for the digital age Meggs’ History of Graphic Design is the industry…www.amazon.com

26. A History of Interior Design | John Pile, Judith Gura

History of Interior DesignThis classic reference presents the history of interior design from prehistory to the present. Exploring a broad range…www.amazon.com

27. Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity | Ulrich Lehmann

Tigersprung: Fashion in ModernityFar from being a frivolous subject, fashion is the supreme expression of the contemporary spirit. Sartorial elements…www.amazon.com

28. Designing Interactions | Bill Moggridge

Designing Interactions (MIT Press)A pioneer in interaction design tells the stories of designers who changed the way people use everyday things in the…www.amazon.com

Design Theory and Methods

29. Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work | Nigel Cross

Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and WorkDesign thinking is the core creative process for any designer; this book explores and explains this apparently…www.amazon.com

30. Designerly Ways of Knowing | Nigel Cross

Designerly Ways of Knowing (Board of International Research in Design)Das Buch bietet einen faszinierenden und qualifizierten Einblick in die Welt der Design-Kreativität. Die sieben Kapitel…www.amazon.com

31. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People | Susan Weinschenk

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter)We design to elicit responses from people. We want them to buy something, read more, or take action of some kind…www.amazon.com

32. Universal Principles of Design: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design | William Lidwell, Kritina Holden

Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence…Whether a marketing campaign or a museum exhibit, a video game or a complex control system, the design we see is the…www.amazon.com

33. The Meanings of Modern Design: Towards the Twenty-First Century | Peter Dormer

The Meanings of Modern Design: Towards the Twenty-First CenturyThe Meanings of Modern Design: Towards the Twenty-First Century [Peter Dormer] on Amazon.com.*FREE* shipping on…www.amazon.com

34. 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization | Vijay Kumar

101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your OrganizationThe first step-by-step guidebook for successful innovation planning Unlike other books on the subject, 101 Design…www.amazon.com

35. The Culture of Design | Guy Julier

The Culture of DesignWhat is the social impact of design? How do culture and economics shape the objects and spaces we take for granted? How…www.amazon.com

36. Objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750 | Adrian Forty

Objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750“One of the most significant contributions to design history in recent years.”?Financial TimesObjects of Desire looks…www.amazon.com

37. The Philosophy of Design | Glenn Parsons

The Philosophy of DesignThe Philosophy of Design is an introduction to the fundamental philosophical issues raised by the contemporary practice…www.amazon.com

This article was originally published on Sherry’s Medium page.

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