New book The Way to Design looks to teach designers about business

The book has been written by entrepreneur Steve Vassallo to help guide designers in setting up their own businesses, and also teach start-ups and big companies how to value design.

A new digital and print design book and manifesto has launched, which aim to improve designers’ knowledge of business and problem-solving skills.

The Way to Design has been written by Steve Vassallo, general partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Foundation Capital and previous design engineer at consultancy Ideo.

“Designer-founder” concept

It is centred around the idea of the “designer-founder”, and aimed at those with a creative background who want to become entrepreneurs or who have learnt business acumen over time.

It details how designers can make the transition to “designer founder”, based on advice from creatives who went on to set up their own businesses.

As well as being aimed at designers, it provides advice for businesses that want to make their companies more design-led and the benefits of doing so.

It also puts forward the argument for purposeful design, explaining how designers can create work that is “fundamental” and has “meaningful impact”, says Vassallo.

Insight from the book is taken from nine months’ worth of research based on real-life experiences and interviews with design entrepreneurs, design academics and founders of design-led companies such as Pinterest and Airbnb. It is split into six chapters, and also includes a focus on the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

“Bring concepts to life”

UK-based design studio Human After All has designed the print book, digital pdf and accompanying website, working with illustrator Christopher DeLorenzo to “bring the book’s concepts to life” and create a “coherent, united visual language”, says James Round, senior creative at the design studio.

The design features a bright, multi-coloured palette, alongside a bespoke, hand-drawn typeface based on DeLorenzo’s handwriting, and many enlarged, pull-out quotes. Chapters are colour-coded and attributed their own illustrations. The user experience of the website was also inspired by blogging websites such as Medium, Round adds, to “provide a great online experience”.

“A demand for designers to be multi-disciplined”

“We wanted to make it look accessible,” he says. “We didn’t want it to be immaculately-gridded and minimal. It needed an edge of playfulness to it, but at the same time not to look frivolous. Designers should be able to sit down and have a really nice experience reading it.”

On the value of the book, he adds: “Nowadays, there is a demand for designers to be fairly multi-disciplined. Companies like Facebook and Twitter use design very effectively, and it’s important that individual designers realise the impact they can have within an organisation like that, or how they can use their design skills to start a business of their own.”

The Way to Design had an initial print run of 100, and a second print run is not yet confirmed. It is available to download as a pdf and view online for free. It has currently reached 30,000 website readers and 5,000 pdf downloads.

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