Psychology for designers

This week I went all out and bought all the currently-released Five Simple Steps Pocket Guide digital books. I say “went all out”, they’re an absolute bargain at £6 for a collection of four, or £2 per book. Reading this book thoroughly, following the links in the text, took me about an hour. I’m a fairly fast reader but can be slow to digest new ideas.

Psychology for designers by Joe Leech

I started reading with Psychology for designers by Joe Leech first. It appeared to be one of the least specific of the books, and so looked slightly different. Having downloaded six books, it was very hard to choose! Funnily enough, this was exactly the example topic dealt with by Joe in the book: making choices easier for users when faced with a (navigation) menu.

Joe’s background, and his mother’s background, in psychology made for a fascinating description of the differences between the different types of psychology and instantly gave real world examples of the application of psychology, making what you might suspect to be a dry and academic subject very interesting.

The entire book focuses on knowing what type of psychology could help you with your design project, when to look for it, how to find it and when to use it. If you’re looking for a book on tips and tricks on psychology itself, this isn’t it. But it does so much more. Much like the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, this book shows you how and where to learn about psychology and apply it to your future design projects.

When I look at the list of upcoming Pocket Guide books, it makes me quite giddy. Colour Accessibility, Combining Typefaces, CSS Animations and Design Evolution to name just a handful. I think these Pocket Guides will likely form a perfect list for students and professionals alike, giving good doses of web knowledge at affordable prices.

Side note: I read this whole book on my phone! I didn’t need to, I had my laptop and iPad right next to me, but the PDF in landscape seemed to be the ideal easy reading environment for me. Although I did struggle reading some of the linked sites which weren’t so well-optimised.

Reading Psychology for designers on my phone

Reading Psychology for designers on my phone


  1. I really enjoyed the first series of these pocket guides. Like you, I’m much more interested in reading a shorter, more focused book. A lot of web books are too long and dry and boring –; it’s good to see Five Simple Steps and A Book Apart leading the way with this format, not to mention self-published books like Josh Long and Drew Wilson’s Execute. Do you think you’d ever write one of these pocket guides? I’m tempted to put together a proposal and send it in to them, but I need to think of a decent topic for it first! I doubt I could write a traditional ‘heavy’ web book, but I reckon I could turn out 80 pages on something I really knew about! Thanks for the review, anyway –; I always trust your opinion on these matters. I’ll definitely be getting the second batch of pocket guides :)
  2. I’m not sure I know enough on any one topic to do so… my writing is also not very book-ish. This blog is like a diary gone work-y. Wow. That comment is exactly an example of why I couldn’t write a book… ;-)