20 Books for Designers to Read in 2019

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Never ending learning is a mindset that all successful individuals have adopted.

Design is a complex field that takes years to understand and master. It is in no way a separate field and includes many different topics great designers need to dig into, such as design history, human behavior, psychology, business and more.

In this compilation I’ve gathered some great books for designers that will help you to become a better designer and build better products.

The Icon Handbook

Author: Jon Hicks

The go-to book for the modern designer that will teach you how to create stunning iconography.

Responsive Web Design

Author: Ethan Marcotte

This groundbreaking book was first published in 2011.

Today it is in its second edition, and remains a must-read for anyone interested in web design, especially responsive web design.

Designing Web Applications

Author: Nathan Barry

Nathan Barry explains how the user experience principles he pioneered in his first book apply to software. This book is still very relevant to designers.

Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1M Web Designer

Author: Liam Veitch

Tired of the never-ending feast and famine cycle?

Learn how to make freelancing more stable, get your dream clients, and work less while earning more.

How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time

Author: George Berkowski

George Berkowski is one of the creators of the internationally successful taxi hailing app Hailo.

This book is a guide that shows you how to take your app idea and transform it into a billion dollar business.

On Web Typography

Author: Jason Santa Maria

Jason Santa Maria will show you how typography influences the way we read and will teach you how to adapt typography for the screen.

Design Is a Job

Author: Mike Monteiro

When you are a professional designer, you have to be great at your craft, but you also have to approach it as a business, otherwise you will struggle to make a good living.

This book addresses everything you need to know about the business of design: contracts, working with clients, and more.

Your Productized Consulting Guide

Author: Jane Portman

Jane Portman shows you how you can get started with productized consulting (selling consulting services as a fixed-fee, value-based offering with a predefined process).

Creativity For Sale: How I Made $1,000,000 Wearing T-Shirts and How You Can Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Too

Author: Jason SurfrApp

In this book, entrepreneur Jason Surfrapp (formerly Jason Headsetdotcom and Jason Sadler) shares how he took a crazy idea (IWearYourShirt) and turned it into a business empire that generated over $1M in revenue in just a few years.


Author: Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Basecamp founders argue that office is not required to build a successful business. You and your employees can work remotely and get just as much, if not more, done.

Design for Hackers

Author: David Kadavy

Design for Hackers is a book that teaches the principles of good visual design to developers.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Author: Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace

Ed Catmull pulls the curtain back on how they do things at Pixar Animation Studios (he’s one of the co-founders) and shares his thoughts on creativity in business.

Product Design for the Web: Principles of Designing and Releasing Web Products

Author: Randy J. Hunt

Web designers are no longer just web designers. To create a successful web product, whether that’s a tiny app or a massive platform like Facebook, you need to know more than design. You need to understand how to create a user experience that makes people want to come back for more.

Mobile Design Book

Author: Paula Borowska & Tomas Laurinavicius

Discover what makes mobile apps successful. It goes without question that more and more people are using mobile devices and apps; however, there are some apps that are simply better than others.

Universal Principles of Design

Author: Jill Butler, Kritina Holden, Will Lidwell

This book is a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary encyclopedia of design principles, which makes it a valuable resource for any designer, whether a novice or an expert.

UX Design for Startups

Author: Marcin Treder

This book is a must-read for anyone, from solopreneurs to startups to grown-up companies, who wants to improve the UX of their products.

Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 3rd Edition

Author: Steve Krug

In this classic web design book on information design, Steve Krug shares why intuitive navigation is vital for the success of any web-based product.

Designing News: Changing the World of Editorial Design and Information Graphics

Author: Francesco Franchi

Francesco Franchi discusses the design of media and information graphics and shares his predictions for the the future.

Kern and Burn

Author: Jessica Karle Heltzel & Tim Hoover

This book features candid conversations with 30 entrepreneurial designers who started their own businesses. They share their perspectives on both their failures and their successes.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)

Author: Jocelyn K. Glei & 99U

This book features wisdom from 20 creative minds on how to tackle the challenges of a 24/7, always-on workplace. It will help you to become less stressed and more productive.


These great books for designers will keep you busy for the rest of 2019.

Simply pick one that seems the most interesting to you and start reading it. Then pick another one. Then another one. Next thing you know, you will have blazed through the entire list. You won’t regret it!

Posted by Jason Bayless