Design leadership books

Enhance your skills as a design leader with our free downloadable ebooks.

Play Up Your Impact

A handy step-by-step guide to effectively describe and hype the impact of your work when everyone thinks it’s optional.

"Play Up Your Impact" is a guidebook written for designers, researchers, content strategists, writers, and anyone who wants to improve their skills in using data to understand their impact at work. And it’s useful to anyone who works alongside them. This book offers a practical approach to analyzing and advocating how your work contributes to the bottom line by utilizing data, statistics, and storytelling.

In “Play Up Your Impact,” CDO School founder Ryan Rumsey draws from his personal journey of leading design at Apple, EA, Nestlé, and USAA to offer encouragement, motivation, and strategies tailored for leaders at in-house teams.

    Business Thinking for Designers

    Bring a business mind to design and transform your career and company.

    Published by InVision, this is the ultimate guidebook to help designer leaders gain more trust and build better relationships with business partners, empowering great work.

    Written by Second Wave Dive founder Ryan Rumsey, this book includes actionable plays on how designers can speak the dialects of colleagues, communicate design value in new ways, and take a business-minded approach to maximize impact.

      Design a Winning Design Team Strategy

      A 130-page activity guide to interpret your business strategy and choose the unique, specific ways your Design Team brings good business to life.

      "Design a Winning Design Team Strategy" is a workbook written for people who lead design teams and organizations. It’s also very useful to anyone who works alongside them. This workbook offers a practical, step-by-step approach to moving beyond the familiar but tired tactics of leadership and establishing a strategic plan for how the design team drives both design and business forward. As a result, you’ll have a clear vision for your team’s success, what actions your team should continue, expand, or eliminate, and which strategic partners are the best fit to complement your efforts.

      This workbook is based on the activities Ryan Rumsey developed while leading teams at EA, Nestlé, and USAA, and has since taught over 1,100 design leaders around the world through his boutique learning programs at CDO School.