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A List of Handpicked 5 System Design Books

What is system design and analysis? 

The System Design field has gained a lot of attention recently. It is a vast field as it includes several concepts and principles in designing systems. To put it in simple terms, it is a process of designing the components, architecture and interface of a system for it to meet the requirements of the user. Since there are a number of system design books that have been and are being published, we have decided to narrow the list down to 5 system design books. 

Laying The Foundation – A Book About Design Systems, by Andrew Couldwell

On the top of our list is the best system design book, “Laying The Foundation”. It was published in 2019. The author Andrew Couldwell is a designer who codes, who has experience of over 15 years. Recently he has created and designed digital brands, products and design systems for companies such as adobe and WeWork. Laying The Foundation is an inclusive book as it is a guide to creating, maintaining design systems and design documentation. Couldwell has introduced the readers to two very different approaches to creating a design system. By focusing on the importance of brand in design systems, product design and web design, Couldwell shares his knowledge of what he has learnt over the years through this book. 

This Is Service Design Thinking- Basics-Tools- Cases by Marc Stickdorn 

The next book on our List of Handpicked 5 System Design Books is “This Is Service Design Thinking – Basics- Tools- Cases”. This book shares the experience, passion and knowledge of twenty-three international authors and few online contributors from the global service design community. Since the system design field has gained a lot of popularity recently, “This Is Service Design Thinking” emphasizes and describes this field. It is perfect for beginners and learners as it introduces an interdisciplinary approach to system design. 

System Analysis Design and Development: Concept Principle and Practices by Charles. S. Wasson

The next entry on our list is “System Analysis Design and Development”, written by Charles. S. Watson. This book serves the purpose of a textbook for graduate as well as undergraduate learners as it represents a guide to System Analysis, design and Development. The main motive of this book is to bridge the gap between and unify System users, system acquisitions, multi disciple system engineers and Project, functional and executive management education. Wasson has provided his readers with real-world examples and personal notes. It challenges its readers with exercises to apply their knowledge to systems in the real world. It is an excellent choice for both new and experienced professionals.

The Design of Everyday Things by Don. A. Norman. 

Written in 1988, it is the perfect blend of  Psychology and Design. Norman is the director at the Design Lab at the University of California and is well known for his expertise in Cognitive Engineering. “The Design Of Everyday Things” is a complex narrative as it links the author’s knowledge of behavioural psychology to design. With the use of case studies, he describes the psychology behind what he considers good and bad design. Making it a complex narrative that changes the way one perceives things. It goes on to explain how UX and UI complement and are incomplete without one another. Even though this book was published in 1988, it is still regarded as one of the best books in the design space. 

Innovating for People: Handbook for human-centred Design Methods by LUMA Institute

This last book on our list is “Innovating for People: A Handbook for human-centred Design Methods”. Published in 2012 and written by LUMA Institute, which is an educational company based in Pittsburg. It teaches people how to be more innovative and creative. This book is a calling for people from different walks of life to be more innovative and versatile. 

It is a compact book that has described the human-centred design in 36 different methods, by a three key design skill:

  • Looking: methods for observing human experience.
  • Understanding: A method for analyzing challenges and opportunities
  • Making: methods for envisioning future possibilities. 

 A brief description has been given for each method, followed by an Illustrated example, benefits and a guide of hints for an initial application. As the name suggests, this short yet handy book motivates people by providing new and innovative methods for the design community.  
Every day the design community is faced with problems related to design, too much traffic on the system, designing the database.  These concepts and principles of system design can be complicated. By reading an expert’s solution or experience to a similar set of problems, we can find a solution. There are thousands of papers, journals and articles that are available online. But these five system design books surround the author’s experience, system analysis and design thinking. Being a learner or a beginner, or a designer, these books should serve your purpose.

Published by Antara Bhargava

Sr. UX Designer

Antara Bhargava Sr. UX Designer