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A list of books when designing hardware

A list of books when designing hardware


I started designing for hardware for the first time at Urban Company in 2022. A small team of less than 5 core members along with many others built our 1st RO water purifier from the ground-up. After 1.5 years, we're about 50 people strong and still learning new things every day. We're unlearning our ways to design software while keeping the hustle intact.

All of us are building NATIVE (Urban Company's hardware brand) and hardware for the first time and realised the fastest way to learn (and apply) things required to do for building great products are to read books, watch YouTube, ask stupid and complicated questions on ChatGPT, and keep sharing these with each other.

I've bought 20+ books (listed below) to share with everyone so all of us can pick one up and educate the other as others do the same. We realised that not only do we need to learn the methods of designing hardware from the greats, but also how have they built large, inspiring companies around products. We needed to learn how to build specific teams for hardware, specific specialisations, learn the basics of industrial design to assembly and manufacturing to colours and testing.

I wish I had read and applied from all the phenomenal resources before I started in 2022. I picked some books as an Apple fanboy but started applying them in context of building the team and way we design. Some books were recommended by Krishna & Shreyas (Industrial designers in the NATIVE team). I hope this list helps others too.


  1. Inside Apple: Learn about the hyper-secretive ways in which Apple operates, their obsession with simplicity and hiring only the best.

  2. Creative Selection

  3. Insanely Simple

  4. Build

  5. Jony Ive

  6. The one device

  7. The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness

Dyson, Xiaomi, Samsung, others

  1. Xiaomi:How a Startup Disrupted the Market and Created a Cult Following (Xiaomi)

  2. The Xiaomi Way: Customer engagement strategies that built one of the largest smartphone companies in the world (Xiaomi)

  3. Invention: A Life of Learning through Failure (Dyson)

  4. Samsung Rising: Inside the secretive company conquering Tech (Samsung)

  5. Something's off (Nike)

  6. The Huawei Story (Huawei)

  7. Fire in the valley: The making of the personal computer

  8. BlackBerry: The inside story of Research in Motion (Blackberry)


  1. Design book Polestar 2: The book dedicated to one of the most beautifully designed car ever.

  2. Stockholm design lab: The folks who worked with Polestar, one of my favourite automobile brands.

  3. Dieter Rams: The complete works

  4. The design

  5. Industrial Design A-Z

  6. Soft City (City design)

  7. The design of everyday things (Physical products in general)

Reference & technical

  1. Manufacturing processes for design professionals (Manufacturing processes): A reference book that we keep handy for new products development.

  2. Indian anthropometric dimensions for ergonomic design practice (Ergonomics & usability design): I wish I had this book earlier to avoid a lot of ergonomic improvements I could have made with the V1 of our product.

  3. Product design for manufacturing & assembly (DFMA)

  4. Sketching the basics (Drawing): I'm fairly good at sketching; designed the first device from all the learnings of Mechanical Drawing course in engineering. I wanted to practice more methodically.

  5. How to Draw: Drawing and Sketching Objects and Environments from Your Imagination: By the one and only Scott Robertson and even though it's mostly for sci-fi vehicles and scenes, the basics are on-point and applicable to draw anything.

If you're already in the profession of building hardware products and feel there's a MUST-READ, please let me know on Twitter.

© Copyright 2023, I guess.

© Copyright 2023, I guess.