Reading List

2015-08-29 18.47.26-1
Starting today I am teaching Visual Interaction Design at CCA (California College of the Arts) – which is a crash course in visual design for interaction designers. As I have put my curriculum together and shaped the class, I have referenced a lot of great books that I think are worthy of having on the shelf. Some old standards have gone by the wayside for being too outdated, but many are evergreen as the basic principles underlying good design are timeless. I’m sure I am missing some but here is my master list:

General Design

Universal Principles of Design
William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler
Rockport Publishers

The Laws of Simplicity
John Maeda
MIT Press

Designing for Performance
Lara Callender Hogan
O’Reilly Media

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
Susan M. Weinschenk, PhD
New Riders

Understanding Comics
Scott McCloud
Harper Perennial

Responsive Web Design
Ethan Marcotte
A Book Apart

The Sketchnote Handbook: the illustrated guide to visual note taking
Mike Rohde
Peachpit Press

The Sketchnote Workbook: Advanced techniques for taking visual notes you can use anywhere
Mike Rohde
Peachpit Press

The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently
Sunni Brown
Portfolio Press

Design Fundamentals: Notes on Visual Elements and Principles of Composition
Rose Gonnella
Peachpit Press

Color Theory

The Elements of Color
Johannes Itten
Van Nostrand Reinhold

Design Fundamentals: Notes on Color
Rose Gonnella
Peachpit Press


Thinking with Type
Ellen Lupton
Princeton Architectural Press

Type on Screen
Ellen Lupton
Princeton Architectural Press

On Typography
Jason Santa Maria
A Book Apart

The Elements of Typographic Style
Robert Bringhurst
Hartley & Marks Publishers

The Elements of Typographic Style applied to the Web

Design Fundamentals: Notes on Type
Rose Gonnella
Peachpit Press


Lean Branding
Laura Busche
O’Reilly Media

The Brand Gap
Marty Neumeier
New Riders

Building Strong Brands
David A. Aaker
Free Press

Brand Identity Essentials
Kevin Budelman, Yang Kim and Curt Wozniak
Rockport Publishers


Mobile First
Luke Wroblewski
A Book Apart Press

Mobile Pattern Gallery
Teresa Neil
O’Reilly Media

Designing for iOS

Google Material Design

Information Design & Information Visualization

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics: The Dos and Don’ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures
Dona M. Wong
W. W. Norton

Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations
Isabel Meirelles

Information is Beautiful
David McCandless

Knowledge is Beautiful
David McCandless
Harper Design

The Visual Miscellaneous
David Mccandless
Harper Design

Infographic Designers’ Sketchbooks
Steven Heller and Rick Landers
Princeton Architectural Press

The Best American Infographics 2014
edited by Gareth Cook

Envisioning Information
Edward R Tufte
Graphics Press

Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Edward R. Tufte
Graphics Press


Nancy Duarte
O’Reilly Media

Upcoming Webcast

I’ll be doing a webcast of my Foundations of Social Interface Design over at O’Reilly on August 20, 2015.

Here’s what I’ll be talking about – check it out and hope to see you there:


Designing social sites and mobile applications, or adding a social dimension to an existing project, entails unique challenges way beyond those involved in creating experiences for individuals interacting alone with an interface. In this webcast we will explore the foundations and key facets in the social landscape that should be considered when designing for social experiences and we’ll look at a set of high-level practices that underpin individual interactions. Some of the lessons and tips include:

  • the foundational elements that are in every social experience
  • tools and social features to drive virality
  • how to onboard new users
  • gotchas and easy-outs to avoid
  • the pros and cons of gamification and how reputation components change behavior
  • the seamless nature of offline and online with mobile

Along the way we’ll share examples from past and current sites and mobile applications and talk about how the combinations – mix and match – of different social features changes the nature of the experience and the type of community engaged.

Over on Medium

I wrote a piece pondering some questions coming out of the Ellen Pao / Kleiner Perkins trial. I sat on the jury for five weeks and although I was an alternate and didn’t get to deliberate, I came away with a host of questions about our industry and how we in UX, nested inside tech, are doing in regards to gender bias and discrimination. Go read it.