The books people suggested were you typical design canon:
- Elements of Typographical Style
- Don’t Make Me Think
- Typographic Systems
- Grid Something Or Another
- Grids Are Really Important So This Book
- This Book About Grids, Too
- Typographic Basics Important Also
- A List Apart This
- A List Apart That
- A List Apart Something
Rather than push books, I’ve gotten into the habit of pushing my juniors, students, and people I mentor to immerse themselves in the study of patterns — good or bad. Books can’t physically keep pace with pattern libraries.
- User Interface Patterns
- Dark Patterns
- Periodical Design Patterns
- House of Buttons
- Mobile User Interface Patterns
- Web Design Patterns
- Interaction Design Patterns
- Touchscreen Patterns
- Mobile App Patterns
- Brad Frost’s Responsive Patterns & Resources
My reasoning is that the design canon revolves around guiding principles, but pattern libraries revolve around persistent change. If you don’t account for a behavior pattern that’s changed in the past year, then the guiding principle breaks.
If you study pattern libraries, you can study what’s working, what’s being adopted, and what are the next steps you can take in your design. Guiding principles are the end result of pattern study.
Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to be an Edward Tufte or Steven Heller to be exposed to the same amount of media to figure out patterns for yourself.
As more and more people question the need for traditional degrees or college education to be successful in design, I think it’s important to question whether the design canon is still working, too.