Books to inspire your design strategies and data stories.

Stack of books

There are thousands of books about all aspects of designed communications. Here are some favorites:

1 | Do you matter? How great design will make people love your company by Robert Brunner and Stewart Emery with Russ Hall

This book explains how design helps you make an emotional connection with your audience — and much more. Chapters such as Your Brand Is Not Your Logo and Your Products and Services Are Talking to People provide clarity and insight. This book will help you see that design is not about applying a veneer; it’s a way of thinking, planning and being. Design is a strategy to differentiate your brand and make authentic human connections.

2 | Any book by Edward Tufte

Tufte’s — a statistician and artist, and Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science at Yale University — has developed a series of books that are exquisite on every level. If you want to improve the quality of your information design or data visualization, his books and workshops are the place to start. After studying his work, you’ll never look at a spreadsheet or info graphic in the same way. Even a quick browse will get you thinking about how your data can tell a better story.

3 | By Design by Ralph Caplan

Caplan’s classic includes great insight into collaboration, including a terrific passage about how engineers and designers see things differently. Sometimes it’s as if they are speaking different languages, even when trying to attain the same thing. If you have ever been in a use case session to develop software, you’ve seen what he describes — points of view that not may seem to mesh at first but, if connected well, can lead to terrific results. Read Ralph and you can get everyone on the same page.

4 | The Little BIG Things by Tom Peters

500+ pages packed with Tom’s insight and enthusiasm for ways to pursue Excellence (with a capital E) on every level. In the Design chapter, Tom shares examples of brands that have achieved success by being design-minded, and says that Excellence in design should be part of an organization’s core values if brands want to differentiate and provide great user experiences.

This list could include many more books, and even some films. If you’d like more suggestions, drop a note.