Top 10: Books for designers

Today we would like to share with you a selection of books on design that every designer, would-be designer and design devotee should read.

We based it on an article by FastCompany that includes reading recommendations from several professors at six of the world´s top design schools.

As you can see, we have left most of the titles in English because these books are only available in English.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (Twyla Tharp)

This book presents a series of exercises and habits that can be included into a daily routine to exercise our day-to-day creativity.

According to Twyla Tharp, creativity is something that needs to be worked on and requires much preparation and effort. It is directly linked with your own self-knowledge, getting the most out of your memories and of course being well organised.

Geometry of Design (Kimberly Elam)

Why do we like the Barcelona chair by Mies Van der Rohe so much? This paperback explains it all precisely. Kimberly Elam takes the reader on a geometrical journey, and looks closely at a range of twentieth century icons that are directly linked to design, architecture and illustration.

Thoughts on Design (Paul Rand)

Originally published as an essay in 1947, it still belongs among the essential books for today´s designers. Paul Rand is known for his expanded vision that “all design should seamlessly integrate form and function …”

Design as Art (Bruno Munari)

A paperback written by one of the twentieth century´s icons. Bruno Munari changed our view of design forever. Munari insisted that design can be beautiful, functional and accessible simultaneously. Described by Picasso as “the new Leonardo” in this book he gives us the keys to visual, graphic, as well as industrial design and also discusses the role design plays in the objects we use every day.

The Industrial Design reader (Carma Gorman)

A journey through the history and origins of industrial design. This was the first book to focus exclusively on the history of industrial design and serves as a guide to the history of industrial design, industrialization, and mass production from 1850 until today. It comprises 60 essays written by designers, theorists, advertisers and historians, detailing the most crucial movements of industrial design along with a socio-political perspective. It is an ideal resource for teachers, students and designers.

Design in the USA (Jeffrey Meikle)

This is an “all-in-one” history and design philosophy book. Jeffrey Meikle analyses the history of American design from handmade furniture and nineteenth century items, through industrialisation until present-day society including chapters exploring Art Deco, Modernism and Postmodernism.

Product Design (Rogers and Milton)

An explanation of what product designers do from concept design to manufacture. The author emphasises the diverse nature of product design and today´s new emerging forms of practice. This book invites readers to change the way they think about product design.

Vision in Motion (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy)

Laszló Moholy-Nagy, who was part of the original Bauhaus school, illustrates in this book how design, art and science are all connected. This author was behind the creation in 1939 of the “School of Design”, with the same teachers as Bauhaus. Later it was renamed the “Institute of Design” after it had gained university status.

This book is currently out of print and so it is very difficult to get hold of.

The Design of Everyday Things (Don Norman)

A quintessential work that encourages the reader to rethink design in a way never seen before. Don Norman analyses how design affects consumer behaviour. A new edition is soon to be published with an introduction about why some products satisfy consumers while others only manage to frustrate them.

Change by Design (Tim Brown)

This is a basic manual on ‘design thinking’ methodology written by a specialist in working from inspiration to innovation. This book focuses on the collaborative process of design thinking and the methods used to meet market and consumer needs.


FastCompany, Twylatharp, goodreads,



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