10 Books for a Design Leader

Designing requires both creativity and responsibility. However, as a design leader, one needs to keep abreast of a range of knowledge areas to stay innovative. Here are ten books that a successful design leaders must read to advance their knowledge and leadership abilities:

1. Herding Tigers: Be the Creative Leader That Creative People Need by Todd Henry


The book Herding Tigers teaches creative directors how to steer by example and foster a secure environment for taking calculated risks.

Herding Tigers’ primary objective is to free up the creative potential that resides in every organization, give it a unifying purpose, and enable it to flourish. However, Creative people need both challenge and stability to stay at the top of thier game. Hence, the leader is accountable for establishing an atmosphere with goals, constraints, resources, and metrics.

2. Creative Strategy and the Business of Design by Douglas Davis


Creative Strategy and the Business of Design fills a void by educating right-brain creative thinkers about business. 

This book reveals the marketing decisions and business objectives that affect your creative output. It’s also possible to see behind the curtain, as tools for your benefit are made from marketing speak and business lingo:  

  • Recognize customer requests from a business perspective. 
  • Create a strategic plan to motivate your visual concepts. 
  • Become more relevant in a changing market 
  • Adapt your portfolio to better reflect your strategic ideas. 
  • Gain new clients and strengthen current connections.

3. Liftoff!: Practical Design Leadership to Elevate Your Team, Your Organization, and You By Chris Avore and Russ Unger


This book is a how-to guide for becoming a design manager and leader at any level of the organizational pyramid. It is written by designers for designers and explains everything using an experience-driven methodology. Furthermore, this book will help readers build teams, advance in their careers, and comprehend the importance of diversity in the workplace. As a matter of fact, through a design leader, a business may also gain from scaling design techniques and establishing the design’s position. in conclusion, this book is about inspiring teams and businesses to greater heights.


4. Discussing Design: Improving Communication and Collaboration Through Critique by Adam Connor


This book provides practical advice that you can use to provide and receive helpful criticism from your team. 

In this book, managers are given guidance on how to handle criticism and lay the groundwork for their team’s dedication to long-term goals. As a bonus, the book includes a critique cheat sheet. This enables you to quickly access strategies and resources from leading experts in the field. Given that constructive criticism is an essential part of design organizations, this book provides useful advice for those who work with designers on how to do so.


5. Design Leadership: How Top Design Leaders Build and Grow Successful Organizations by Richard Banfield


Whether you are in charge of a design group or want to understand the people who are, this fascinating book explores the strategies and approaches employed by executives of top design firms. 

This book demonstrates how design leaders may foster a positive workplace culture, new approaches to attracting and developing talent, establishing efficient work environments, and managing remote workers. However, it also highlights design leaders’ mistakes, and how they overcame them.


6. Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design by Maria Giudice


The book explains, with the help of examples and illustrations, how DEOs run their companies. Meanwhile, It also explains why this approach is suitable at this time. It helps readers identify these traits in both themselves and their coworkers. Finally, it offers advice on how to apply them to establish or revive the following generation of exceptional companies and organizations.


7. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman


This book might alter how you perceive and interact with your physical environment for the rest of your life. It can raise your standards for how things should be made and increase your awareness of the perverseness of bad design and the benefits of good design.

The Design of Everyday Things demonstrates the potential for effective, functional design. The rules are simple: make things visible, utilize naturally occurring connections between function and control, and use restrictions carefully. The objective is to seamlessly direct the user to the proper action on the proper control at the proper moment.


8. The Design Thinking Toolbox: A Guide to Mastering the Most Popular and Valuable Innovation Methods by Michael Lerwick


These are the tools you require if you work in innovation, leadership, or design. Hence, each instrument or technique has clear instructions, expert guidance, templates, and illustrations so you can use them. 

This book helps you become thoroughly and quickly accustomed to the best design thinking tools. Choose the proper warm-ups, equipment, and techniques, explore various thought processes, Create a schedule for various design thinking workshops and discover practical application ideas. 


9. Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt


Richard Rumelt’s book uses straightforward language to demystify the complex world of strategy. However, It will inspire you to develop and carry out a strategy, regardless of where you are on the professional or career ladder. The advice is relevant outside of business and politics. Generally, the book also aims to draw a line between strategy and its myriad baffling beliefs, ambitions, and financial goals. The author continued by stating that an effective strategy concentrates on the challenges a business has and provides several innovative solutions for solving them.


10. Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams by Kristin Skinner and Peter Merholz


This book’s writers, Kristin Skinner and Peter Merholz, looked at how design has evolved into an essential link between people and their complex, rapidly changing digital demands. This book for design leaders will help in creating internal design teams. Hence, It gives guidance on how to maximize the company’s investment while simultaneously advancing the careers of design team members at a rate unequaled in the industry. You will learn how to utilize design as a strategic vantage point and how to lead and produce design inside a company by reading this book.

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