Design Thinking Readings

I was recently asked by a friend if I could make a short list of good readings on design thinking. I tried and here it is. This is a first attempt. The criteria for choosing a text has been if the reading has meant a lot to me. I have also picked texts that are not for the moment but are useful for many years (more or less timeless). So, this is a list of design thinking readings that I constantly use and go back to (I have probably forgotten some really important ones :-)

Alexander, C. (1979). The Timeless Way of Building. Oxford University Press.

Buchanan, R. Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. In The Idea of Design. V. Margolin and R. Buchanan (eds). MIT Press, 1995, 3-20.

Buxton, B. (2007) Sketching User Experience – getting the design right and the right design. Morgan Kaufman.

Cross, N. (2007). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Birkhauser, Basel.

Dewey, J. (1934) Art as Experience. New York: Perigee Books.

Dorst, C. H. (2003). Understanding Design. Amsterdam: BIS Publisher.

Dunne, J. (1993). Back to the Rough Ground: ‘Phronesis’ and ‘Techné’ in Modern Philosophy and in Aristotle. Notre Dame, IN. University of Notre Dame Press.

Frayling, C. Research in Art and Design. Royal College of Art Research Papers, 1, 1 (1993), 1-5.

Heskett, J. (2002). Design – A Very Short Introduction. Oxford. Oxford Press.

Janlert, L-E. & Stolterman, E. (1997). The character of things. in Design Studies, Vol 18, No 3, July (1997), 297-314.

Krippendorff, K. (2006) The Semantic Turn – A New Foundation for Design. CRC Press.

Lawson, B. (2005). How designers think – the design process demystified. Architectural Press.

Lawson, B. and Dorst, K. (2009). Design Expertise. Architectural Press.

Nelson, H. & Stolterman, E. (2003). The Design Way -- Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World. Educational Technology Publications. New Jersey.

Pye, D. (1969) The Nature and Aesthetics of Design. Cambium Press; Reprint edition (July 1995)

Rittel, H, W. & Webber, M. M. (1974). Dilemmas in General Theory of Planning. in Design Research and Methods, 8 (No. 1): 31-39.

Schön, D. A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner. New York, NY. Basic Books.

Schön, D. A.  (1987) Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Simon, H. A. (1996). The sciences of the artificial (3rd ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Stolterman, E. The Nature of Design Practice and Implications for Interaction Design Research. in International Journal of Design, 2, 1 (2008), 55-65.


Webfoot said…

Who is Stolterman, S.? (last reading)


Pin Sym
Erik Stolterman said…
Hi Pin Sym

Good to hear from you! And thanks for the note, I have changed it...I don't know who that S. is...

Anonymous said…
Hi Erik,
It's been a while.... some 8 or 9 years since you approved my master thesis on systems design. Time flies. My reading list on Design is somewhat shorter, as one would expect, but we do at least have one book in common.... "The Design Way - .. " I was hooked on the first line...."Humans did not discover fire, they designed it". Katrin Jonsson recommended it to me. I often pick it up when I am in a state of analysis paralysis. :-)

Daniel Larsson Vinterdag
Architect (ITIL/ITSM)
Erik Stolterman said…
Hej Daniel

Nice to hear from you! I am happy to see that the book is read :-)

Jag hoppas att allt är bra och att du har framgång i din professionella karriär!

video transfer said…
nice post i like it thanks for sharing with us
Steve Kendall said…
One key thinker left out of all of these lists is John Habraken, emeritus professor of architecture at MIT. See

Steve Kendall, PhD (MIT'90)
Professor of Architecture
Ball State University, USA
You mention both (Schön 1983) and (Schön 1991). Any difference between the two?
Erik Stolterman said…
Hi Peter Axel

Good to see you here! And thanks for the comment. The reference was actually wrong, so I have changed it, i meant to reference two different books by Schon and now it is correct (I hope).


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