Non-Design Books for Designers — Women Authors Edition

Kate Rutter
2 min readNov 22, 2020


In April, 2019, Dan Saffer compiled a fabulous list of Non-Design Books for Designers. But at 87% male, it wasn’t a very gender-balanced list. There are, of course, a slew of historical reasons for this. I don’t blame Dan…he’s just the messenger. So I reached out to Dan to suggest broader representation, and he asked me for suggestions. And then it became a mini-quest.

Step 1: Collect my personal favorites to add to the list (not a collective process, but some ideas to start.) — Done, Nov 21, 2020.

Step 2: Post to Twitter and ask for recommendations (following Dan’s process…tho his following is a bazillion times larger, so we’ll see what response I get.)- Started Nov 21, 2020

Step 3: Expand the list from women to other excluded communities, starting with authors of color.- Started Nov 21, 2020

An initial version of the balanced list (Nov 21, 2020)

The list of books I would personally recommend.

52 Cups of Coffee, Megan Gebhart
Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
Creating Sensory Spaces, Barbara Erwine
Dear Data, Giorgia Lupi, Stefanie Posavec
Game Thinking, Amy Jo Kim, PhD
How to Get People to Do Stuff, Susan Weinschenk
Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
Making Comics, Lynda Barry
Mindset, Carol S. Dweck
Radical Focus, Christina R Wodtke
The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron
The Book of Qualities, J. Ruth Gendler
The Creator’s Code, Amy Wilkinson
The Doodle Revolution, Sunni Brown
The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing, Kate Swift
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondō
The Opposite Is Also True, Cleo Papanikolas
The Senses, Ellen Lupton, Andrea Lipps
We Should Get Together, Kat Vellos



Kate Rutter

Strategic Sketcher :: sketchnoter :: graphic recorder :: lean entrepreneur :: recovering UX designer :: always carries stickynotes ::