Books for Designers, Vol. II

A while ago, I shared my top 5 books with you that every designer should read. As you should be done reading those by now, here is the second edition of that list:

Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz – Sprint

Take a look into the future - that’s the promise of the Sprint authors around Jake Knapp. The Design Sprint, developed and tested at Google Ventures, is a five-day innovation workshop. Using the tools and principles of Design Thinking, the Design Sprint process provides a solid and flexible toolset for generating, building and testing new product ideas.

The book is easy and fun to read, full of practical examples and experiences from real life Google Ventures projects. Even if you don’t plan to introduce Design Sprint at your agency or startup, the tools mentioned can really help you streamline your everyday work.

John Maeda – Laws of Simplicity

Minimalism and simplification are on the rise. Before you dig into books about Japanese design or those with fancy titles like «Stuffocation», spend an afternoon reading The Laws of Simplicity. The short, but very interesting book by designer/developer John Maeda teaches the ten principles behind minimal products and simple usability.

Author John Maeda uses a lot of personal experiences and anecdotes to make his point - and still manages to keep the whole reading experience at around 100 pages.

Yuval Noah Harari – Homo Deus

Tech startups today have a humble goal - change the way we live with technology. Make the world a better place. Make a dent in the universe. Be of service for mankind. To understand what that means, you should be able to understand human development. How did the human race evolve in the last centuries, and how will we develop in the 21st century?

What challenges will we face in the near future? How come that war, hunger, and illness aren’t as much of a deal as they used to be? What role will AI play?

Historian Yuval Harari is taking a deep look into these topics - making predictions and projections that are very helpful for anyone who wants to understand and shape the future of our society and the planet we live on.

Nadine Roßa – Sketchnotes

Communicating ideas in an understandable fashion is one of the everyday challenges for every designer. Data visualisations, infographics, and explainer animations are sophisticated tools to do that. Sketchnotes are an analogue tool to turn simple documentation into something that is easy to understand and fun to look at.

Illustrator Nadine Rossa gives a step by step intro into sketchnotes for everyone, starting from basic tools, explaining how to draw simple humans that don’t look like stick figures and how to create your very own visual library and style.

Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky – Make Time

Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky again - the authors of “Sprint” are true time dorks. Self-optimisers, trying to max out each day of their life, both for boosting their careers, but also making the most in their private life. With “Make Time”, they present a solid process to help you find out what matters most for you, define what you want to work on and lastly, how to find time to do that.

Make Time is a collection of very helpful tools that does not read like a typical “Get up at 4AM and hustle hustle hustle” productivity book. Furthermore, it inspires you to take action right away and try the exercises of the book while reading it. Highly recommended!

What other books do you think every designer should read? Do you have a book recommendation for me? Let me know via

Johannes Ippen
About the Author

Johannes Ippen is a designer from Berlin, passionate about French punk rock, really strong espresso and writing about design. Follow him on Twitter for more of design-related essays. Full bio →