Top 10 Books To Read As A UI/UX Designer

Brandon Rodriguez
11 min readMar 7, 2024


Not only as a UI/UX designer but as a creative in general, we have to keep learning and improving on our craft. When it comes to design, books (good ones) are a great way to advance your knowledge and understanding and make you a better designer. I’ve compiled a list of 10 books I think every UI/UX designer should read. They offer tons of value that can improve your way of thinking, improve your workflow, provide new insights and ideas, help you avoid mistakes, and provide principles and understandings you have not had before.

Some of these books on here are on everyone’s “top books to read as a designer” list, but that’s just because they pretty much have to be mentioned. They belong on the list and for good reason. It’s like when you read a “top artists/players/actors” list. You just know some that can’t be left off the list because they just belong. And that’s the case with this list. But there’s also some on here that make this list unique and that’s why you’re here. And if you’ve never read a “top books for designers” list like this, then none of this applies to you and just know there’s some of the best and most useful books for you on here. If you read these 10, it’ll be a total game changer for you. Let’s get into the list.

1. Refactoring UI by Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger

refactoring ui book cover

As a beginner in the UI/UX design field, Refactoring UI stands out as a great resource that should be on every designer’s reading list. This book is a quick and very practical read, filled with invaluable information that can almost instantly elevate your skills from a novice level to a more refined and competent one (yes, seriously). Even for mid-senior level designers, it serves as an excellent refresher, offering insights that can further refine their craft. One of the book’s strengths lies in its ability to effectively teach UI design principles, something that many resources struggle to achieve. Most good books for designers are UX focused whereas this one is focused on UI and it does a great job. It offers lots of knowledge and advice that can be applied instantly.

It wouldn’t surprise me if a designer went through this book and immediately went back to a design they were working on to make some changes. I definitely recommend.

2. Don’t Make Me Think “Revisted” by Steve Krug

don’t make me think ui book cover

This book is a must-read for anyone involved in website design. It’s a foundational book that is almost like a class that every UI/UX designer has taken. This book provides lots of practical guidance on how to make informed decisions that enhance the user experience. By delving into usability testing and offering strategies to avoid common UX pitfalls, Krug equips designers with the knowledge necessary to create compelling websites. One of the things I really like about the book is it often times will explain UX for web design ways of thinking by comparing things to the real world that you’re probably already familiar with. It really makes understanding why you may want to do certain things and make certain decisions a lot easier.

While some aspects of the book may feel dated, as the book predates the modern web, its core principles remain highly relevant and valuable for any designer seeking to improve their web design skills. In 2024 it’s still definitely worth the read.

3. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

the design of everyday things book cover

A very well known book and what I would regard as the ultimate book on UX, The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman is an essential read for designers of all levels. This book transcends the realm of web design, offering a comprehensive exploration of design principles applicable to various areas of design. Norman’s insightful perspectives help instill a deep understanding of UX design, making it easier to grasp the underlying concepts and philosophies that drive great user experiences. It will make you a better UX designer and thinker.

Reading this book feels like you’re able to spend some time with a very wise and great designer and just soak in their knowledge and experience. Like a mentorship in pages. For those seeking a strong foundation in UX design, this book is a great resource that will undoubtedly elevate your skills and understanding.

4. Laws of UX by Jon Yablonski

laws of ux book cover

In Laws of UX, designers are introduced to a treasure trove of psychological principles that can inform and enhance their UI/UX design decisions. By exploring how users interact with products and the underlying psychological factors that influence their decisions and experiences, this book empowers designers to create more intuitive and engaging interfaces. Think about how you can use the psychology of your users in order to better give them what they want.

With a focus on practical application, Laws of UX equips readers with the knowledge and tools to leverage these principles effectively, resulting in products that resonate with users on a deeper level. Learning the psychological principles and triggers that are most relevant to you as a designer is a great tool to have in your belt.

5. Lean UX by Joeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden

lean ux book cover

Lean UX is a great resource for designers working on large-scale projects that demand efficient workflows and effective project management strategies. This book introduces methodologies that enable rapid iteration and streamlined processes, allowing designers to contribute their expertise while maintaining a fast and efficient pace. By incorporating these techniques into your existing practices and what already works for you; you, as a designer, can make faster progress on your projects and also collaborate with others more effectively.

Also, if you’re already working on a team that’s struggling with project management and workflow issues, you can introduce them to some of these methodologies and help transform how you guys do things as a team for the better. You will then play a pivotal role in enhancing team output and delivering great results, which can turn out to be a great thing for you.

6. How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy

how to be a graphic designer without losing your soul book cover

While the title may suggest a focus on graphic design, How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul offers invaluable insights that extend beyond that particular discipline. As designers, our roles often include various responsibilities that go beyond just pure design work. These responsibilities include things like handling meetings & feedback, client management, selling ourselves, selling our vision, navigating office politics, managing expectations, etc. This book serves as a comprehensive guide, helping designers navigate these multifaceted aspects of their careers while maintaining their creative spark and passion for the craft. The author of this book does a great job of explaining mistakes he made and how we can avoid those same mistakes ourselves.

If we ignore the non-design related areas of our profession for too long, it can really wear us down and make us lose sight of what drew us towards design in the first place. Managing these things is very important and an underrated part of being a designer that doesn’t get focused on enough because it’s one of those things that’s hard to see coming before it’s too late and causes burnout. This book will give you knowledge you can use to prevent that from happening.

7. Type Matters by Jim Williams

type matters book cover

For designers seeking to elevate their typography skills, Type Matters is a great resource that delves deep into the art and science of typography. Much like Refactoring UI does for UI design, this book provides a straightforward and comprehensive introduction to understanding and implementing effective typography in your work. Typography can really make or break a design and you don’t really realize how important it is until you reach about mid-level designer status. At least I didn’t. Type just seemed like an after-thought and easily done. But, as your design eye gets better and better and as you keep trying your best on projects, implementing good typography is more difficult than you originally thought and you really begin to value and appreciate it more. Type Matters offers lots of good information on how you can make your type better though and it’s a great read.

With a straightforward approach and an abundance of practical information & examples, this book is a must-read for pretty much all designers. Even if you don’t recognize now the pivotal role that typography plays in creating visually stunning and cohesive designs, you will eventually. And this book will have you better prepared.

8. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

the brand gap book cover

The Brand Gap is an awesome read for designers who understand the critical importance of branding in achieving business objectives. And if you don’t understand the importance of a brand, then this book is definitely for you. It offers a comprehensive exploration of what constitutes a “brand,” why it is crucial for a company’s success, and how businesses can effectively establish and leverage their brand to influence their decision-making processes for the better. As a UI/UX designer, you typically won’t be tasked with branding design tasks, but it’s still good to understand the importance of it. It will also help you better incorporate a company’s branding inside your UI/UX designs.

Whether you’re seeking to deepen your understanding of branding or aiming to refine your approach to building successful brands, this book provides a robust theoretical framework and practical insights that will definitely elevate your skills.

I could go on listing out more design books because there’s of course more good one’s out there that you can learn from. But as a designer, your skill develops and mostly comes from practice. You can read all of the design books in the world but you’re only going to really make progress when you practice. These books I listed above are about design and they will give you valuable knowledge that you can carry with you into your projects. Keep going on the projects. I’m not saying to not explore other design books and resources. Of course not. Always be learning. Always be practicing. But don’t fall into the trap of reading too much and stacking up too much theoretical knowledge without actually implementing it. Remember, there’s more to being a successful designer than just pure design skill. And these next books will help you learn and build up other skills that will make you better as a design professional.

9. Deep Work by Cal Newport

deep work book cover

While not specifically geared towards designers by any means, Deep Work is a highly relevant read for any creative professional working in a professional setting. In an environment where distractions and interruptions are prevalent, this book offers strategies to cultivate and maintain a state of focused concentration, enabling you to produce your best work. Some artists who work in isolated and/or extremely creative environments don’t have a difficult time getting into their creative zone because there’s nothing around them to drag them out of it. As a designer working in a professional setting, we can get dragged into A LOT of things that take us out of this zone. Meetings, email, corporate chat, etc. This doesn’t even get into all the things at home that can be distracting for those who work remote.

The author provides insights as to why it’s important to block out chunks of time for “deep work”, and how you can do this without being viewed as an isolated worker who ignores the team. By learning to block out dedicated periods for deep, uninterrupted work, designers can unlock their full creative potential and deliver exceptional results, all while maintaining their commitment to being a valuable team member.

10. Mastery by Robert Greene

mastery book cover

Mastery is a personal favorite of mine and a book I believe every designer should add to their reading list. This insightful work provides a very comprehensive guide to navigating and maximizing your design career, offering invaluable insights into the journey from novice to master. By studying the approaches, methods, and experiences of “masters” in various fields, readers gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to achieve greatness in their chosen profession. With all of the knowledge pairing up with good writing and history, it doesn’t read at all like a basic “How to” guide that feels stale and boring. It will drag you in and not only make you want to get better at design, but will help teach you how to get there.

The road from novice to master is of course not straight nor can everything in the path be laid out beforehand, but this book will give you an idea of what it can look like for you and offer you a general idea of what to expect, and things that you should seek out yourself in order to hit your professional goals. So, whether you’re just starting out or are already a seasoned UI/UX veteran, Mastery is a great read.

BONUS: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

the $100 startup book cover

I know there’s no more room on the list of 10, but The $100 Startup is another book I wanted to recommend because it can prove to be very useful. The $100 Startup while being another book not explicitly focused on design, is a fantastic read for designers seeking to monetize their skills and explore entrepreneurial opportunities. This book is filled with ideas and strategies for launching successful side hustles leveraging your design expertise. From identifying potential services and products to practical guidance on setting up your venture, this book empowers designers to turn their talents into profitable endeavors while making a positive impact on others.

If you’ve ever dreamed of turning your passion for design into a thriving business, this book is an essential addition to your reading list. You have skills and there’s people out there who need your service. Or people out there who want a product that you can make. Allow this book to open your mind up to the possibilities and ideas out there and you’ll come up with lots of fulfilling ways you can not only make money but also help people out.

That’s the list I have for you UI/UX designers out there. I hope you find this useful and actually read these books and don’t just add them to a list of books you never actually read. These books will not improve your design mind but just your mind in general. Check them out. It will be more than worth it and you will not regret it. Trust me.