As we’re getting close to ending what was one rollercoaster of a year, we’ve decided to pay an ode to our faithful companions. Companions who kept our spirits up during the endless days of lockdown restrictions and social distancing. Here’s a round-up of the most interesting books, movies, videos, documentaries, podcasts, and articles that provided us with much-needed mental stimulation.

Must Watch Movies and Documentaries of 2020

The 100 Years Show

the 100 years show - 2020 recommendation

One can merely stand back and express awe at this 105-year-old artist who’s been active for much of the past century, but sold her first painting in 2004 at the age of 89! Watch Carmen Herrera’s inspiring story to learn how to value your artistic talents from within, sans validation from the outside world. If there’s one thing Ms. Herrera teaches us, it is that the secret to finding happiness is to keep doing more of what you love, no matter what.

The Social Dilemma

the social dilemma - 2020 recommendation

The Social Dilemma talks about the consequences of our growing dependence on social media – the way it influences what we see, read, and going by that, the way we think. This documentary created is worthy of the buzz it created and the conversations it provoked when it was released this year.

Milton Glaser: To Inform And Delight

Milton Glaser, the man behind the iconic I ♥ NY design is remembered for his sublime graphics as he is for his thoughtful reflections on the role of design as a whole. This wonderful documentary takes viewers on a journey through Glaser’s personal life, his creative process, and his lasting design legacy.

Must-Read Articles and Papers in 2020

Frame the Problem

Designing the right solution calls for identifying the right problem to solve, before anything else. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to frame the problem well. One can only do that by asking the right questions, the answers to which lead to framing the right problem to solve. This short article lists out those pertinent questions.

10 Experiments You Can Try to Improve Discovery

The design process begins with research or the discovery phase. This is the phase that sets the tone for the entire process to follow. Roadblocks in this stage can muddle the rest of the process, sometimes irreparably so. These 10 experiments throw light on how you can manage to offset those glitches.

The Hidden Traps in Decision Making

Bad decisions can be attributed to a variety of reasons – unclear alternatives, lack of data, or more. But sometimes the fault does lie in the hands of the decision-maker itself. This paper details 8 psychological traps that are particularly likely to affect the way we make business decisions, and how to steer clear of them.


Introduction to Modern Product Discovery

In this video, product discovery coach, Teresa Torres talks about placing different into context and help product teams know what to use when. As designers, we continue to explore the best way to help us prioritize user needs, discover unmet needs, and develop solutions that address those needs. This video helps in figuring out the best way to accomplish that.

The Power of Time Off

Can you boost your creativity by doing nothing? Noted designer, Stefan Sagmeister certainly believes so and tells you how in this video. The daily humdrum of our working leaves us with minimal time to refresh our energies which actually dulls the creative brain. Taking time off is more necessary than you think – it renews your creative faculties, helps you engage with new influences, and improve your output.

Abstract: The Art of Design

abstract the art of design - 2020 recommendation

There are little to no chances of anyone in the design profession to have missed this series. But in case you’re among those rare beings, do give it a watch. The series chronicles eight of the most innovative designers working today in fashion, art, cars, and more and learn how design impacts every aspect of life and shapes our world today. From Tinker Hatfield – the mind behind the most popular Nike Jordans ever sold and the first self-lacing sneakers to graphic designer Paula Scher, you’ll find the most awesome creative profiles out there.

Top Podcast Recommendations of 2020

99% Invisible

99 Invisible - 2020 recommendation

99% Invisible is like an ode to the definitive quality of good design, invisibility. This series takes you behind the most intriguing origins of products and services that have seamlessly blended themselves into our lives such as Murphy’s beds, highways, coin mints, and more.

Design Matters

Design Matters

Design Matters is one of the oldest and most revered podcasts that started out as a radio show in 2004. Ever since, it has been having insightful conversations with the most brilliant creative minds of our time, including actors, musicians, writers, architects, art historians, and more, besides designers across disciplines.

Adventures in Design

AID is a fun, happy, every day show that talks about everything under the (design) sun. From pathbreaking design to dealing with real-life design challenges, this podcast covers all the topics concerning the discipline and its professionals. The conversations are fun, humorous, and practical, and you’re sure to find something that delights you every day.


Articulating Design Decisions

Articulating Design Decisions

The title says it all, doesn’t it? Every designer ought to read this book, even if they think they’re expert communicators. Talking to stakeholders and communicating the value of design is a tightrope walk for many. This book proffers doable tips, tactics, and actionable methods to talk the talk when it comes to prepping and presenting your designs.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

thinking fast and slow

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Daniel Kahneman, takes us through a remarkable journey of the mind, revealing the two systems that drive the way we think. The first – fast, intuitive, and emotional, the second – slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The catch is knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. A true classic!

The Effortless Experience

the effortless experience

The Effortless Experience is a definitive mind reader of customers and is relatable at every level. Here’s an excerpt: Loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be “wowed”; they want an effortless experience. And they are far more likely to punish you for bad service than to reward you for good service. Need we say more?

2020 is going to be a memorable experience for all of us. It packed in enough action and bumps to last us for another 5 years at the very least. What kept us sane were these fine pieces of content and entertainment which led us to think and expand our creative horizons. Do make sure you share your recommendations in the comments section!