What do all successful designers have in common? The ability to approach complex challenges with simple, yet innovative solutions. And while we all have our own techniques for problem solving — from team brainstorming sessions to step-by-step formulas — sometimes we need to approach our work from an entirely different angle. Here, we’ve rounded up 11 inspirational design articles from creative thought leaders around the web. Spanning everything from app interactions to modern web design monotony, these reads are sure to help you see age-old problems in a new light.
1. How to Design Happiness
Mark Wilson | Fast Co. Design
This article explores the three psychological stages of human happiness: anticipation, experience, and memory. Wilson uses lessons from a SXSW puppy experiment to show how designers can methodically reconstruct one of our most complex emotions.
2. Why Good Storytelling Helps You Design Great Products
Braden Kowitz | Google Ventures
We’re all familiar with the importance of storytelling, but few resources explore the detailed relationship between storytelling, product design, and user experience. Here, Kowitz explains how story-centered design improves both the efficiency and effectiveness of product teams.
3. Unintuitive Lessons on Being a Designer
Julie Zhuo | Facebook
Influential designer Julie Zhuo details eight humbling, yet realistic lessons she’s learned in the past ten years. More self-help than design tutorial, this Medium post introduces essential truths that can help all of us create better work.
4. Microinteractions: The Secret of Great App Design
Nick Babich | UX Planet
What does it take to create a best-selling app? Perfectly-timed microinteractions, or so says Nick Babich. See how these tiny, often-overlooked details can have an enormous impact on emotion –and learn how to incorporate them wisely.
5. 5 Ways to Use Design Thinking in Your Everyday Routine
Michelle Polizzi | Brandfolder
Whether you’re a small agency or a full-fledged enterprise, design thinking should play a role in your daily work. Accompanied by a handy infographic, this post explores how design thinking can be harnessed to devise out-of-the-box ideas, and find a greater purpose in your work.
6. From Fledgling To Founder: How Designers Can Push Their Creations Into The Real World
Mathias Jakobsen | Smashing Magazine
Designers have a special advantage when it comes to entrepreneurship, and this Smashing Mag read explains it all. In addition to the economic and branding benefits of design-focused companies, Jakobsen walks us through the three stages of “design founderism” in an easy-to-grasp blueprint.
7. How Creativity Can Kill a Good Website Design
Rafal Tomal | RafalTomal.com
Rafal Tomal approaches a sensitive but important topic: how too much creativity can actually hinder design. While that may seem daunting, fear not. Tomal defines three ways designers can achieve a delicate balance between creativity and usability.
8. Four Things Working at Facebook Has Taught Me About Design Critique
Tanner Christensen | Facebook
This post will resonate with any creative who’s ever endured a professional critique. Christensen advises on four ways to improve this agonizing process — including how to focus on feedback, not criticism — and his tips are strikingly on-point.
9. The 10 Deadly Factors That Threaten To Kill Your Creativity (And How to Beat them)
Jim Compton-Hall | Canva
Imbued with uplifting messages about believing in yourself and loving your own work, this listicle from Canva is sure to help kick the creative block — leaving you feeling refreshed and inspired.
10. The Dribbblisation of Design
Paul Adams | Intercom
This article confronts the Dribbble community with an honest, yet necessary inquiry — are designers so focused on impressing their peers that they fail to address real problems? This article reminds the Dribbble community of product design’s fundamental purpose.
11. Longing for Innovation: Why Do All Websites Look the Same?
Lior Yair | Webydo
We can all agree that many modern websites look synonymous. But as long as they function, is that really a bad thing? Yair shows how web designers can create innovative sites that break free of the standardized mold.