Which product design book have you read and which ones do you plan to read before the year runs out? As a product designer, you have to learn a lot. While videos, podcasts, and blogs are increasingly becoming the source of information to designers, you cannot neglect the fact that books have their own place. In fact, it might interest you to know that most of the blogs and YouTube videos you learn from get their content from books. Instead of being fed with summary, why not get your hands on the full content?

At Plant, we encourage our designers to read a lot — and make design books their companion. There are many design books in the market. Because of this, just advising you to read without pointers might not make any sense. Instead of just asking you to read books. We might as well recommend some specific books for you to read as a product designer. For the year 2021, the below books are the best books for product designers.

The Design of Everyday things

by Don Norman

The Design of Everyday Thing has been around for a while now. It is one of the best user interface and user experience book ever written. If you have not read this book, it is time to do so. By reading this book, you are going to be learning about a good number of design principles. When developing products, while the aesthetic of the product should be considered, you also need to consider usability. This book will teach you how to incorporate human-centric thinking into your designs. It is one of the best books you should read as a designer.

Don’t Make Me Think

by Steve Krug

Another book that will help you in user interface design is Don’t Make Me Think. Don’t Make Me Think is focused on website design and how webpages should be designed in a simple manner. Unlike in the past, when websites were in simple designs, the current trend now in design is making websites complex — and can be difficult to use for first-time users. What Don’t Make Me Think is advocating is the design of websites that are user-friendly to first-time users. And yes, do not make me think if you want me to stick longer to your website. The first edition of this book was released in 2000.


by Jake Knapp

If you have been into product design for a while now, you must have come across this book — except, of course, you do not read design-related books. Sprint introduced you to a method of providing a solution to a problem and testing out the solution all in 5 days. This is distrusting, considering the fact that understanding a particular problem can take you more than 5 days. However, it opens your eyes to the fact that when you do away with distractions and plan out your time and tasks, you can actually design a product and introduce it to its target audience in less than a week.

Inclusive Design for a Digital World

by Regine Gilbert

Let me guess — when you design your product, you do not consider the visually impaired or those with the difficulty of hearing. Your product is meant for those that have no difficulty with their senses of seeing and hearing. What you have forgotten is that some of these people will be interested in using your product, but because you did not consider them, you risk losing out. What about you learn how to design products with the disabled in mind? Regine Gilbert’s book, Inclusive Design for a Digital World, introduces you to the world of inclusive product design and how you can benefit from it.

Critica Portatile al Visual Design

by Riccardo Falcinelli

This book is an excellent reference for everything you need to know about visual design. As you advance in practicing your craft and adopt trends, you get to deviate from some norms and think you are doing the right thing. Unfortunately, some of these things are integral to the practice of visual design. Open your mind and learn from an expert. Unlike the other books above, this book has been primarily written in the Italian language.

The Element of User Experience

by Jesse James Garett

How grounded are you in the world of user experience? If you are not so confident of yourself, then before this year runs out, you need to read The Element of User Experience written by Jesse James Garett. Creating a better user experience is not as simple as it seems. You have to think of your brand identity, interactive design, usability, and information architecture. If you put all these together, you will discover how difficult user experience is. However, by reading this book, you are going to be learning how to create products with the better user experience.

The Best Interface is No Interface

by Golden Krishna

One thing I like about this book is how the design of the book cover models the titles of the book. The does not have any form of colorful design — it is as simple as anything design you can think of. We live in a design world where designs worry themselves about building beautiful interface. But what if I tell you that the best of interfaces is no interface at all? Well, Golden Krishna already said it — and I will just have to point you to the book. The book will show you a simple path to brilliant technologies without complicated user interfaces.

Product design is an interesting yet challenging field. If you must remain relevant, then you must make learning a priority. The knowledge found in books is unmatched, and as such, reading books is non-negotiable. There are many books available to you to read as a product design this year. However, the ones discussed above are our picks. You can have a different reading list on what you have read before.