Just Enough Research, by Erika Hall

Last week brought another wonderful title to the A Book Apart library, Just Enough Research by Erika Hall:

Design research is a hard slog that takes years to learn and time away from the real work of design, right? Wrong.

Good research is about asking more and better questions, and thinking critically about the answers. It’s something every member of your team can and should do, and which everyone can learn, quickly. And done well, it will save you time and money by reducing unknowns and creating a solid foundation to build the right thing, in the most effective way.

In Just Enough Research, co-founder of Mule Design Erika Hall distills her experience into a brief cookbook of research methods. Learn how to discover your competitive advantages, spot your own blind spots and biases, understand and harness your findings, and why you should never, ever hold a focus group. You’ll start doing good research faster than you can plan your next pitch.

Erika manages to dispel all the excuses people usually make to get out of doing research, and breaks it down to be thoroughly practical and approachable. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today!

Design and paperback format updates

I’m also excited that Erika’s book marks the first to sport our updated paperback styles and logo. Back when we came out with our first book, I hadn’t entirely thought through how the design system might play out across other titles, and we were mostly concerned with not losing our collective shirt trying to make books. As time went on, I started uncovering some of the shortcomings of the design decisions I made early on. Seemingly small things like having the book title type in both black and white proved to drastically limit the color options available for covers; too light of a color and the white type would disappear, too dark of a color and the black type would do the same.

Similarly, we were finally able to change the spine treatment to include the full title (this was never a mistake on the original books, but a limitation from our original printer). I was able to correct those things and more to give ourselves a lot more flexibility for future titles. We’ve also made lots of other updates to our paper stock, printing, and binding. You can read more about the design updates on the A Book Apart blog here and here.