Many avenues for learning are available to content designers who want to hone their craft and excel in their field. These include on-the-job training, courses, training programs, and certifications.
One of the best sources of insight and expertise that is available for content designers is books written by leaders in the field. In this article, we will cover the best books on content design that you can find in 2023.
Top 10 Content Design Books to Read in 2023
Let’s dive right in and learn about the best books on content design.
1. Content Design by Sarah Richards
Sarah Richards coined the term ‘content design’ when heading content at the UK Government Digital Service. She currently leads Content Design London, a content design consultancy. Sarah is a highly experienced content designer who trains professionals at all experience levels and coaches teams and individuals involved in complicated projects.
Sarah’s book Content Design is considered a seminal book in the field of content design. In the book, Sarah explains that content design focuses on what content best serves the users’ needs, whether it be the written word, infographics, visuals, videos, or charts. She also explains how content design is different from copywriting.
The book does not cover content strategy. This is because the author believes that a content designer should understand content strategy before working on content design.
Content Design is divided into two halves. 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, that content designers need to do to get the job done.
The book is packed with practical tips, imagined examples, and real-world examples from Sarah’s extensive experience in how to do content design well.
To purchase, check out Content Design.
2. Writing is Designing by Michael Metts and Andy Welfle
Michael Metts teaches teams and individuals how to build better products and services through design. He teaches about writing for interfaces, collaborative goal-setting, building trust with users, and more. He is currently working as the Principal Content Designer for Expedia Group.
Andy Welfle is a content designer. He has worked at Facebook and Reusser Design, solving UX writing and informational architecture problems on the web and in apps. Currently, Andy is leading a content design team at Adobe.
In Writing is Designing, Michale and Andy talk about using language as a design tool – from high-level messaging frameworks to tactical guidance for error states and accessibility. They teach you to think about writing for interfaces strategically, iteratively, and with the user in mind.
Topics covered in the book include strategy and research, inclusivity and accessibility, voice, tone, and collaboration and consistency.
To purchase, check out Writing is Designing.
You can master content design and UX writing skills through our UX writing certification course. Check it out here:
3. Designing Connected Content by Carrie Hane and Mike Atherton
For more than 20 years, Carrie Hane has been helping organizations transform to meet the ever-changing needs of the people they serve and take advantage of the latest technology. Her current role is Head of Content Strategy Relations for the content platform Sanity.io.
Mike Atherton has been connecting people to content for more than 20 years. In his current role as a content strategist for Facebook in London, he collaborates with product specialists to build experiences from the terminology up.
In Designing Connected Content, the authors share an end-to-end process for building a structured content framework. They show you 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.
Major topics covered in the book include structuring content and publishing content.
To purchase, check out Designing Connected Content.
4. Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag
Laura Kalbag is a designer who has worked on everything from graphic design to web development while learning how to run a sustainable not-for-profit organization. She is the co-founder of Small Technology Foundation, a not-for-profit working towards building a more rights-respecting web.
In Accessibility for Everyone, 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.
The book is aimed at web designers, developers, content strategists, copywriters, researchers, testers, and anybody else who creates web content and makes web pages and websites.
It teaches how to leverage tools and techniques like clear copywriting, well-structured IA, meaningful HTML, and thoughtful design, to create a solid set of best practices.
To purchase, check out Accessibility for Everyone.
5. Conversational Design by Erika Hall
Erika Hall is a research and information design expert and leads her own design studio.
In Conversational Design, Erika’s focus is on how to make digital systems feel less robotic and more real. She emphasizes that conversation is the best model for creating device-independent, human-centered systems, regardless of whether you work with the interface or visual design, front-end technology, UX writing, or content design.
Topics covered in the book include the human interface, the principles of conversational design, putting principles into practice, and the power of personality.
To purchase, check out Conversational Design.
6. Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
Good content design is all about understanding user needs. And the best way to understand user needs and create content to satisfy those needs is through research.
In Just Enough Research, Erika Hall distills her experience into a guidebook of trusted research methods you can implement right away,
The book will help you learn how to discover your competitive advantages, spot your own blind spots and biases, understand and harness your findings, and why you should never hold a focus group.
Topics covered in the book include research basics, the research process, organizational research, customer and user research, competitive research, surveys, analysis, and analytics.
To purchase, check out Just Enough Research.
7. Storytelling in Design by Anna Dahlström
Anna Dahlström is a UX designer, speaker, & author who helps individuals, teams & companies with User Experience and storytelling.
Storytelling in Design is a practical guide that 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, and for improving your presentation skills.
Topics covered in the book include the importance of storytelling, the anatomy of a great story, storytelling for product design, storyboarding for product design, and presenting and sharing your story.
To purchase, check out Storytelling in Design.
8. Content Strategy Toolkit by Meghan Casey
Meghan Casey has been working with content and communications since 1996. Currently, she is the lead content strategist at Brain Traffic, the world’s leading agency devoted exclusively to content. She helps a wide variety of clients–startups, nonprofits, colleges and universities, and Fortune 50 companies solve the content problems most organizations encounter every day.
In Content Strategy Toolkit, 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 on a common vision.
The book explores multiple topics including identifying problems with content, understanding the business environment and the audience, getting stakeholders aligned on business goals and user needs, setting the content strategy and deciding how to measure success, and creating and maintaining on-strategy content.
To purchase, check out Content Strategy Toolkit.
9. A Practical Guide to Information Architecture by Donna Spencer
Donna Spencer has extensive experience in user experience, service design, workshop facilitation, and information architecture (IA). She has worked in government, education, startups, and much more. Currently, she is working as a product designer at MakerX.
A Practical Guide to Information Architecture 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 process and decisions.
Topics covered in the book include an introduction to information architecture, understanding people, understanding content, designing information architecture, and designing navigation.
To purchase, check out A Practical Guide to Information Architecture.
10. Leading Content Design by Rachel McConnell
Rachel McConnell is a content design leader and author. Prior to working in tech, she spent a decade in advertising and brand marketing. As part of her career in tech, Rachel has worked in content strategy and design, operations, and leadership for many leading British companies. Rachel is also the co-founder of Tempo, a community for content design leaders.
In Leading Content Design, Rachel shares practical tools to solve real content problems, from breaking through organizational blockers to growing great teams.
Topics covered in the book include what operations are and how they enhance your work, when and how to scale your content practice, overcoming blockers and streamlining workflows, building stronger bonds within and between teams, and fostering a content community of practice.
To purchase, check out Leading Content Design.
Books don’t only contain data and new information. Books also show you how the experts think and open up avenues that you never knew existed.
The insights and experienced shared in books are based on years or even decades of practical experience. You can learn from others who have done it before and succeeded. What you learn can help you succeed in your career, and in time help you make your own contributions to the field of content design.
If you are new to UX writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our UX Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a UX writer, how to dominate UX writer interviews, and how to stand out as a UX writing candidate.