Web Sites That Work by Roger Black with Sean Elder

This book is an golden oldie. It’s important to remember that this book was written not only a long time ago (Published March, 1997…so you know it was written sometime in 1996) but also very early into the history of the World Wide Web. It’s important to remember the context in which this book was written so that you can take some of the particular pieces of information with a grain of salt. And, since you can routinely find it on the shelves of Half Price Books for a couple of bucks, I hardily endorse it.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk, PhD

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People is a list of all the bits of psychology that they should be teaching in design school. It’s neatly organized, easy to refer to, and easily the best $30 I’ve spent on books in the last few years. If you’re even remotely interested in improving the effectiveness of your designs through an understanding of cognition, this is a great place to start.

A Smile in the Mind by Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart

A Smile in the Mind is an in-depth examination of the use of wit in graphic design. It’s also a cogent argument for wit as a technique for building mnemonic value. “The Gag” as I used to call it (before I learned fancy words like “mnemonic”) is a valuable tool in the job box in any good designer’s brain, and with good reason. A Smile in the Mind puts concrete names and concepts behind the hunches we all have about the most popular way to make things memorable.