“Good design is good business” – An exquisite guide to free design resources for startups

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We’ve heard it again and again – that “good design is good business“. Not only that, successful companies such as Apple and Airbnb boast about putting design at the very core of their operations. Path CEO Dave Morin went so far as to say,  “If you don’t get the design right, nothing else matters.” But what is “good design”? How can you incorporate it into your startup strategy to create a killer product?

For those who are new to design thinking for business, you should know that it’s not just about fancy graphics and nice fonts. To help demystify design for startups, we’ve gathered a list of useful tools and resources so you can educate yourself on the fundamentals…

The basics

The basics

Startups, this is how design works – This comprehensive guide for non-designers covers everything from Dieter Ram’s 10 Principles of “Good Design” to industry perceptions on the importance of design for startups. Created by Silicon Valley interaction designer Wells Riley, the site provides entrepreneurs with a breakdown of the different types of design and tips on finding top talent.

Design Staff – Run by Google Ventures Design Studio, the blog is aimed at “helping startups design great products”. Its archive has plenty of useful articles on conducting product market research, collaborating with designers and understanding the design process.

Interaction design

Interaction design

Complete Beginner’s Guide to Interaction Design – To learn about the beginnings of interaction design and basic concepts driving usable products and services, check out UXbooth’s thorough guide on the topic.

A List Apart – For in-depth posts on how to design products and experiences that will delight your users, head over to online magazine A List Apart. Topics span information architecture, site navigation and usability testing and more.

Typography

Typography

What is Typography? – Creative Bloq has compiled a thorough and easy-to-understand list of concepts and terms so you’ll be equipped with typography basics. The post will help you navigate font selection, sizes and defining hierarchy.

Beautiful web type – When it comes time to selecting fonts, not many entrepreneurs or designers have the time to browse over 600 typefaces in the Google web fonts directory. To help ease the process, Chad Mazzola – Product Design Lead at Swedish mobile payment company Klarna – has created a beautiful showcase of some high-quality ones in action. The best part? If you click an example, you can get the typeface from Google’s directory.

Colour palette

Colour palette

Colour theory for startups – Want to learn how to pick colours for your website or mobile app and don’t know where to start? Designer and entrepreneur Sacha Greif has written a clear and easy-to-follow ebook on the topic with short case studies on 10 startups, including Airbnb, MailChimp and ZenDesk. Plus, it’s free if you sign-up to Greif’s weekly newsletter.

Design Seeds – If you need some inspiration for your startup’s colour palette, Design Seeds – created by designer Jessica Colaluca – is a great place to get some. The frequently updated and aesthetically pleasing blog features themed colour palettes consisting of six swatches, which you can hold your cursor over for the specific hex code.

Hailpixel – The tool, which dubs itself as the “colour picker for data-driven design”, is built by London-based designer Devin Hunt. Hailpixel provides an intuitive way for users to pick colours for a palette. How it works: hover across the screen for desired hue, lightness and saturation then simply click to save the colour.

Design philosophy

Design philosophy

The Shape of Design – Written by designer Frank Chimero, the book explores the influence of design in our lives and the world. What can design do? What can it not? Are we using it right? Why do we make things? Why do images arrest us? While the hugely popular book is now sold out of hard copies, Chimero has offered it for free online.

Design the New Business – The makers behind the 40-minute documentary – which investigates how design is shaping business – believe that as things become more interconnected, design’s role in helping to solve problems and drive the future will increase. The full movie is available here.

Image credits:
featured image – © peshkova – Fotolia.com
wireframe – flickr user baldiri
typography – flickr user anikki*

For related posts, check out:

From coding to web design – 10 awesome, affordable ways to learn new tech skills
Stop, think, dream… Top 10 websites for a creative screen break
“If you don’t get the design right, nothing else matters” – Path CEO Dave Morin on business, books and Berlin’s startup scene