Awwwards

15 Books that Helped Me Grow As a Lead Designer

by Ciprian Paraschiv on 28th April, 2017

Management, Web design

Being a Lead Designer is both a demanding and fulfilling job. You are not only bringing your effort to improve your design team’s performance and help each one discover his true potential. Your job is also to design workflows and constantly improve the design process.

Even though the experience gained through years and the lessons learned from past projects contribute a lot to my expertise, books have always been a great companion in my professional journey. Some of the books may be considered mandatory and the value they provide slightly decreases with time. Some will help you incorporate other’s experience into your daily design workflows, others may help you stay more productive and manage your team better.

Books are not a shortcut to boost your career, no book is the Holy Grail, but reading books is one of the healthiest habits that will help you keep a fresh perspective as a professional. Books are the result of the struggles of the best professionals to create as much value as possible in a few hundred pages.

So, what are the books that helped me grow in my career? To ease your searching through the list, I made a couple categories:

User Centered Design

Understanding user’s needs and continually questioning “Are we really solving a problem?” is at the core of every successful design. These three books link the design in it’s widest understood meaning and tie it to the strategy of the business you are serving. You will get great insights into how to design, test and iterate in order the maximise the outcomes of the digital assets you are managing for your clients and how to make intelligent use of constraints.

Working as a team and get all the stakeholders to understand UX

How can you implement a bottom up approach in your design process? How do you know where to start and where to focus your efforts? How many meetings and discussions are needed in order to know you got it right? What communication strategies can we use to inform clients about our work so that the result will be a better design?

These book will offer great practical insights that will streamline your design workflows:

Working with a team and with established businesses

All the duties of a Lead Designer implies working with people. The health of the relationships you establish with both your team and the clients is key to do your job well. Leadership is not an easy topic, you must work hard to acquire it if you are not born with it. Getting insights from renowned psychologists  into how our brains work will help you ask the right questions.

User Research and understanding human behavior

Who do we design for? How do we go out of the building? How can we look through our user’s eyes?  What drives our motivation? How can we turn user input into actionable insights? How do we know we have done enough research?

These are questions you start asking yourself once you start embracing UX Design. These books are loaded with practical tips  on how to prepare interviews and how to structure your findings. If you start applying these tips in your design workflows you can say in all your sincerity : ‘I’m an user advocate!’

And the list can go on…

I tried to make the list short and to add the books that  really offered me actionable insights. But a book recommendation is always welcomed.

I’m really curious to see which one of these book you managed to read, how did you put the knowledge shared into practice? Also, if you have in mind a title worth mentioning, your contribution will be welcomed.

Ciprian Paraschiv

LEAD DESIGNER

I am a breed of SEO specialist and UX Design advocate. My strong engineering knowledge is key to reconcile the distinct goals of the two areas. I design with user’s delight in my mind, while not averting from optimizing conversion rates.