27 November 20223 minute read

A Design System Reading List

helpful long-form resources that have shaped how I think about systems

Design Systems

  • Design Systems by Alla Kholmatova – the canonical design systems book, in my opinion
  • Expressive Design Systems by Yesenia Perez-Cruz – a great follow-up to Kholmatova's book
  • Atomic Design by Brad Frost – written before we were using the term 'design system' for web interfaces, but many popular ideas extend from these ideas

Systems Thinking

Design Thinking

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman – a pillar in design canon. Many of Norman's concepts and terms are a part of design vernacular
  • Change by Design by Tim Brown – "Design Thinking" originated with IDEO, and there are some good lessons here. However, it is very anecdotal and can be a bit repetitive.

Visual Design

User Experience

  • The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley – This gets into the details of being a design researcher, but there's a lot to gain from having a high-level understanding

Information Architecture

Accessibility and Inclusion

Design Ethics

Service Design

  • Service Design by Andy Polaine, Lavrans Løvlie, and Ben Reason – a good overview of service design concepts
  • Good Services by Louise Downe – another great resource on service design

Design and Systems Thinking Adjacent

  • Nudge by Richard H Thaler – There's a lot of overlap in designing systems and behavioral economics
  • Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt – a systems thinking approach to strategy
  • Designing for People by Henry Dreyfuss – much of how we think about design today is rooted in industrial design, and Dreyfuss has a ton of great insights