Exposing the Magic of Design

I recently read Exposing the Magic of Design by Jon Kolko. This field doesn’t seem to have a lot of textbooks, but this definitely strives to be one, and succeeds.

As described in the title, it addresses the most mystical part of the design process, synthesis. Classically this is a very messy process that culminates in an Aha! moment which clients find a bit flimsy as a foundation to base business decisions on. However, Kolko seems to untie the knot that was synthesis and show how the process can be made much more transparent. Once he has built his argument for this he provides methods, with real examples of use, for achieving this clearer more structured method of synthesis.

I underlined about half the sentences in the book. I eventually just decided I would need to re-read the book a few times. However, because it tried to be a textbook, there are some accommodations for jumping around in the book. It’s definitely something that will stay close at hand at all time.

[update] Since I’ve written this post initially, I’ve been trying to actually use this book. It’s not going so well. While the tools and theory are there, the explanations are not. It seems the book reads well, but in terms of usability it lacks the depth in terms of actual tool explanation to really be able to fully implement them. Luckily, This Is Service Design Thinking will compliment it nicely.