If you’re looking to dive into the world of content design — or perhaps you’re already swimming in it and want to make a bigger splash — we’ve got a treat for you.
Here’s a list of 10 outstanding books that every content designer should read. These books are packed with insights, practical tips, and a whole lot of fun. Add them to your bookshelves or borrow them from the library; however you get your books, these are must-haves.
Let’s dive in!
- “Content Design” by Sarah Winters: This book is a must for anyone interested in content design. Sarah Richards, who coined the term “content design,” provides a comprehensive guide on how to focus on what content best serves the users’ needs. The book is divided into two parts. The first five chapters cover research and other preparatory activities such as discovery. The later five chapters focus more on practical issues, such as designing, writing content, and pair writing — all that content designers need to do to get the job done. It’s a great resource for understanding the difference between content design and copywriting.
- “Designing Connected Content” by Carrie Hane and Mike Atherton: This book offers an end-to-end process for building a structured content framework. The authors share how to research and model your subject area based on a shared understanding of the important concepts, and how to plan and design interfaces for mobile, desktop, voice, and beyond. It’s perfect for content designers who want to understand interfaces for various platforms and how this could help them build the best product.
- “Accessibility for Everyone” by Laura Kalbag: In this book, Laura focuses on designing with accessibility in mind. She guides the reader through the accessibility landscape: understanding disability and impairment challenges, getting a handle on important laws and guidelines, and learning how to plan for, evaluate, and test accessible design. It’s a great resource for content designers who want to create content that is accessible to all users.
- “Just Enough Research” by Erika Hall: Good content design is all about understanding user needs. The best way to understand user needs and create content to satisfy those needs is through research. In this book, Erika Hall distills her experience into a guidebook of trusted research methods you can implement right away. It’s a great guide for content designers who want to create content that truly meets the needs of their users.
- “Content Strategy Toolkit” by Meghan Casey: In this book, Meghan Casey outlines a step-by-step approach for doing content strategy, from planning and creating your content to delivering and managing it. Armed with this book, you can confidently tackle difficult activities like telling your boss or client what’s wrong with their content, getting the budget to do content work, and aligning stakeholders with a common vision. It’s perfect for content designers who are new to content strategy or those who want to effectively plan, create, deliver, and manage content.
- “A Practical Guide to Information Architecture” by Donna Spencer: This book is a very practical guide to information architecture and navigation design for website and intranet design and redesign projects. If you’re a website designer or intranet manager and don’t have a lot of information architecture experience, this book will help you feel more confident about your processes and decisions. It’s also a good resource for those who might have been in the space for a little bit and need a refresher on the topic.
- “Leading Content Design” by Rachel McConnell: In this book, Rachel McConnell shares practical tools to solve real content problems, from breaking through organizational blockers to growing great teams. It’s perfect for content designers who are now in managerial roles and are building that skill set through organizing teams and growing their presence among stakeholders.
- “Microcopy: The Complete Guide” by Kinneret Yifrah: This book takes a deep dive into the world of microcopy. It covers everything from basic UX writing principles to how to design voice and tone from scratch. It also explores how to use copy to alleviate users’ concerns and write in ways that are accessible to everyone. It’s a great resource for content designers who want a comprehensive read about UX microcopy.
- “Storytelling in Design” by Anna Dahlström: This book shows you how storytelling can make a powerful difference in product design. By applying tried-and-tested principles from film and fiction to the context of design and business, you’ll learn to create great product experiences, as well as how you can use storytelling to get buy-in. It also can help improve your presentation skills so you can wow your stakeholders. It’s a great resource for content designers who want to understand how to bring the power of storytelling to UX.
- “The Business of UX Writing” by Yael Ben-David: This book offers savvy and practical guidance to ensure our digital products support the user and the business. It’s perfect for content designers who want to understand the intersection between business goals and user needs. It can provide an overview of the business for new UX content designers and be a starter guide for those who want to move into a managerial role.
We hope you find these books as enlightening and enjoyable as we did. Remember, content design isn’t just about creating content; it’s about creating experiences. With these books in your arsenal, you’re well on your way to designing content that not only informs but also engages, delights, and inspires. Happy reading!