Essential Product Design Books and must reads

I am seeking suggestions on product design books. Whats the hottest thing out, the must have, the everyones read it twice book?

Donald Norman = good

Design of Everyday Things (turned me onto ID)
Emotional Design (made me realize the importance of aesthetics)

Design for the Real World (people/ergonomics important)

Status Anxiety by Alain De Botton
One of the most interesting books i have read in a long time

IDEO put out a book call “The Art of Innovation”. I loved it and have read it twice.

I would also consider “The Design of Everyday Things” and “Emotional Design” by Donald Norman essential reads. I would also add Victor Papenak’s book “The Green Imperative” as a must have.

  1. By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis Xiv, and Other Object Lessons by Ralph Caplan - this is a classic, and a MUST READ for all designers

  2. The Green Imperative by Victor Papanek - also a classic, about sustainable/responsible design

  3. Human Factors In Engineering and Design by Mark S Sanders, Ernest J McCormick - this book should never leave your side.

    some recent stuff that is somewhat applicable:

  4. Blink: The power of thinking without thinking by Malcom Gladwell

  5. All Marketers Are Liars : The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World by Seth Godin

I don’t look for books about design, but rather ones that can change the way to look at things. I guess right now they tend to be political.

Some current reads are:

No Place to Hide by Robert O’Harrow about the emergence of surveillance culture.

Class Matters by Betsy Leondar-Wright

DPM book- I keep lugging it around.

Eternally Yours: Time in Design- dutch book on sustaining product value

Others that I keep going back to:

Genome by Matt Ridley

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand

No Logo by Naomi Klein

Out of Control by Kevin Kelly

Dear Monkey,
who’s the author of “Design for the Real World?”


They sound good, Monkey; how about the ISBN or author of the books you reccommend! Thanks!

Essential in Boston blows.

culture of design
by guy julier
great book

and check out some Bruce Mau

I second that one, and along the same lines:

Watches Tell More Than Time

Where Stuff Comes From

I’m back… some clarification on my book recos…

Design for the Real World - Victor Papanek

Designing for People - Henry Dreyfuss
– this is the one on the importance of ergonomics –

Emotional Design - Donald Norman

The Design of Everyday Things - Donald Norman


I hate to chime in with all the other titles, but Bill Stumpf (Aeron chair) wrote a good one called “the ice palace that melted away”.

Legal Forms for the Designer by Lee Epstein

Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

literary theory, i think it takes about two years to understand and read bring your dictionary unless you are one.

i would say this is a must i you can digest it it

Design Noir by Dunne + Raby its amazing its not a design book in the conventional sense but you must read it if you can find a copy(it took me 3 mounts to get one of Amazon)

agreed that Victor Papanek is the man.

i would also suggest Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher or any other really decent biology/ science book. it’s always good to read about nature’s best designs … :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: