18 Hand-Picked Links for Startup Founders Wanting to Learn Design Basics

Design, but simple.

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The value of design in business is being more pronounced than ever before. Uber just redesigned their logo to help reposition their company. Google updated their branding after nearly two decades.

This article lists a collection of design learning resources any entrepreneur should use to learn design basics, of course after reading through Startups, this is how design works, and my book on the same topic. These resources will help you understand the value of design in business.

Will knowing design basics mean you can do it all yourself?

Maybe, but that’s not the point. Like knowing basics of programming, of how software works, of how code works, it will help you to be a better leader and have realistic expectations for the designers on your team.

Want to dig deeper on this topic? Join my list to get a list of books on design for entrepreneurs and startups:

Let’s now dive into the resources and links any design-conscious business owner should know.

Design Tutorials Lynda.com

Lynda.com Design Courses

Lynda.com has been around for a while and when I say a while, I mean like 100 years. They continue to deliver useful and up-to-date content on various topics, including design basics as well as design tools like Photoshop.

Here’s a nice list of design tools for entrepreneurs.

Designlab Learn UI UX design skills part time online


DesignLab offer a unique twist on the online courses; they assign you a personal design coach who will review your progress and give you pointers on your work. Highly recommended!

Thinking with Type Home

Thinking With Type

This renowned book by Ellen Lupton doesn’t need much introduction. It explains the complex ideas behind typography in an easy to read format, almost like an illustrated pop science guide. On the official website, you can read it for free.

What is Design Thinking YouTube

What is Design Thinking

If you ever wondered about what design thinking means, you should watch this video a couple of times. In just 4 minutes, it manages to explain the concept in simple terms.

The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Centered Design

The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Centered Design

Unbounce is an authority in the space of conversions. Besides providing a great tool for building landing pages and sharing useful content on their blog, they also release awesome books like this one. If you’re looking to increase your revenue without additional marketing, give this free ebook a read.

Design Disruptors InVision

Design Disruptors

I am really looking forward to this upcoming film by InVision. Judging by the copy on their landing page, the film will explore the relationship between startups and design and its place in this new economy.

David Pogue Simplicity sells TED Talk TED.com

Simplicity sells

This entertaining TED talk will try to persuade you to pay closer attention to your product’s ease of use. It will have you think whether your forms have too many fields to fill out and how good your error messages are. Worth giving it a watch.

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Great Designers Steal

In this short video, Jeff Veen explains the concept of stealing design.

How filmmakers manipulate our emotions using color YouTube

How filmmakers manipulate our emotions using color

This short Youtube video will uncover the ways colour affects how we perceive movies and visual messaging.

Design Courses on Treehouse

Treehouse Design Courses

Treehouse is a younger player in the field of online courses and they regularly update their content. If you want to find out about Sketch app, go over creating a logo in 30 minutes, or learn design basics, this is the place to go.

Mackenzie Child YouTube

Mackenzie Child Youtube Channel

Mackenzie Child is an example of the rare type called unicorns. Unicorns can design as well as develop their websites and are nearly impossible to find. On his Youtube channel, Mackenzie will teach you how to design and develop websites — and all for free.

Design the New Business English subtitles on Vimeo

Design the New Business

This 39 minute documentary will uncover the ways designers and entrepreneurs can work together to create better products and build better businesses.

The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web – a practical guide to web typography

The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web

Another typography book, but this time more hands-on. When I try to develop universal guidelines for graphic design, I often refer to the ratios suggested in this guide.

Free Guide UX Design for Startups

UX Design for Startups

This free ebook written by UX expert Marcin Treder will give you some insight into how you should approach user experience in your startup.

R.A. Mashelkar Breakthrough designs for ultra low cost products TED Talk TED.com

Breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products

Another TED talk in which you’ll discover three products that were re-designed to make it cheaper and more accessible for people of all backgrounds.

Objectified Gary Hustwit


Objectified is one of the feature-length films by Gary Hustwit (another one being Helvetica) in which he looks at the design process of everyday products and the relationship between the designers and the manufacturing process.

Designing at Booking.com Phil Hammel

Designing at Booking.com

Another very short documentary about the design process behind Booking.com.

There you go. Have you got a favourite resource on design basics you want to share? Contact me and I’ll add it.

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