Design referents: the professionals that taught me

This post is part of a series of posts thanking everyone who helps (or helped) me improve my knowledge and skills on design and development.

Luckily, we live in a day and age where quality information is readily available cheap and fast. You have many options to learn from the best: reading articles, books, watching videos, tutorials, examples...

Here you have a list of the people who unknowingly have helped me shape my perspective on product design. Here you have a list of my design teachers.

You can also check my frontend referents.

Edward Tufte

I consider myself a minimalist designer because I believe that data –usually text, charts in this context– must be clear and direct. That usually means getting read of -often involutary- distractions. When I learnt the concept of data-ink ratio it hit me hard. It is beyond minimalism and makes information gathering fast.

Don Norman

Even though he is not kneen on the term, he's considered the pioneer on User eXperience Design. His book The design of everyday things is an ageless must read, not only to "designers" but to anyone building a product.

John Maeda

His book The laws of simplicity is a very coherent work (is actually a really short easy-to-read but powerful book) which can be used as a heuristic –others would call it "cheat sheet", or check list- to analyze the usability of your digital product.

Steve Krug

He successfully made usability a hot topic in product design. The popularity of his book Don't make me think (whose title is a perfect summary) made everyone in the chain of product building aware of potential usability issues.


I bought Getting real because I already enjoyed reading their posts. It was eye-opening and helped me question outdated concepts acquired throughout my degree.

Ryan Singer (ex 37signals)

To me, he is one of the most insightful design-researchers in the digital product design field; always trying to improve the problem-to-solution process and openly sharing his solutions.

Oliver Reichenstein

I recall his post on making a 100% readable web (2006) as a milestone for web. His subsequent posts studying the differences of reading on a screen or a book are also worthy.

Luke Wroblewski

He wrote a post in 2015 titled Obvious always wins. The title is self-explanatory but many designers, and stakeholders with a say in their product's design, should still take a good note on this and many of Luke's articles.