The Unicorn Skill: A Reading Guide For Designers Who Want To Write

The 2017 Design In Tech Report, John Maeda’s influential industry overview, lists writing as a key design skill. There are several reasons why. With the rise of chatbots and artificial intelligence, the success or failure of a software product increasingly falls to interface copy–the text with which a user interacts. In a more general sense, design is about communicating ideas, and writing can help clarify your thoughts. To paraphrase George Orwell: Write well, think well.

One problem: Few designers are trained to write. Or the training is so rudimentary, it’s largely useless in a professional setting. Luckily, the best way to get better at writing is to do something you already do every day: read.