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5 resources for a complete design toolbox
Sep 2016

5 resources for a complete design toolbox

Whether you are starting in design or are in the middle of an intense project, here are  5 great resources about design and UX methodologies we trust, apply, and teach!


  1. IDEO Method Cards

In their own words, this  deck of cards contains “51 ways to inspire design”. Each card describes a method and gives short insights on how and when to use it. Combined with real-life (and very 1990’s) pictures, the cards are categorized by type: Learn, Look, Ask, and Try. These cards are a pure pleasure to use.

We find this tool especially practical to inspire the courses we teach and the workshops we conduct with clients.


  1. Design Thinking Process and Methods Manual by Robert Curedale

Design Thinking is a human-focused, prototype-driven process for innovation. This book is a great resource for professionals of any industry who desire to learn at their own pace about what it is, when, and why they should use the key methods described.

We just wrapped-up our first Design Thinking course based on principals from Robert’s book. As our research and design director would say: “…like matches, the freshness of these tools has a limited wow-life. Therefore, you need a box full”. By learning the fundamentals, you can follow recipes until you are comfortable enough to make adjustments of your own. Beyond the tools and methods, Design Thinking is an approach. It’s not about matches, it about lighting the fire.  


  1. Sketching User Experiences, getting the design right and the right design by Bill Buxton

Our team definitely recommends this for those who start in design. This book was created for and by designers.

You should not expect this book to explain methods in depth, but rather illuminate design processes with real world examples.


  1. This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider

Contrary to the previous book, This is Service Design Thinking has a chapter dedicated to illustrating various tools. Well explained, this book is designed to be read easily by starting at any page.

In my opinion, it sets a solid foundation to what service design is all about. For those who already know this practice, this book will inspire you.


  1. Universal Methods of Design: 100 ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions by Bruce Hanington and Bella Martin

Last but not least, this book is our researcher’s favorite methods book because it covers (almost) all “methods used by today’s top practitioners” and can be used as a quick and reliable reference.

For the curious ones out there, Universal Principles of Design is a cross-disciplinary reference and a great addition to this list.


Sometimes you know something better is out there, but you just don’t know where to start looking. Hopefully these resources will be useful to you and your team as they are for us.

Finally, we value your opinion and want to know what you have thought of these books, or if there are more you desire to share.


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