Summer Reading for Service Designers

Good books on service design are few and far between. I’ve put together lists in the past and so have other designers but unless you’ve actually read the books it’s tough to see the connections sometimes. Service designers draw inspiration from across disciplines and that means that a raw list isn’t always enough of a roadmap for people to triage unfamiliar reading.

Earlier this year I starting wondering whether I could adapt the system I built for organizing service design research papers to the task of organizing books. Something that could build context and uncover the “why” behind recommendations.

I’ve been working with that idea off and on for a few months now and I think it’s finally ready to launch.

Service Design Books is a co-created library of recommended reading for service designers. It’s a community website. Anyone can add a book to the library and add ratings, tags or comments to help people make sense of an emerging field.

There are over forty books in the collection from a dozen different curators but that’s just the beginning. For this initiative to thrive it’ll need a little more help. Take a look at the collection and add your perspective. If you’ve read one of the books take a moment to rate it and if you think other service designers should read it as well then second the recommendation.

It’s easy to add your own picks to the collection. Just type a book title or an ISBN code to import a book. It should take less than a minute and you can always go back later and edit the information. The site is open to everyone.

Give it a shot and help kick the tires. And if you come across a good book this summer add it to the stack.


  1. adrià garcia i mateu

    Thank you so much Jeff!
    I’m trying to learn, by the moment, by myself, reading all that falls upon my hands. I started a year ago studying under the LeNS program, based on Product Service System Design for Sustainability. And I would like to make you two questions; what is the difference, if it really exist, between Service Design and PSSD and how do you think sustainability can modify the field of Service Design.

    I know that both are questions that can’t be answered in 5 words, but maybe if you are interested on it and have the time it would be amazing to have feedback.

    Thanks again🙂

    à

  2. Jeff

    Hi adrià,

    I don’t know if I can fully answer your first question but product/service systems have been an important part of service design literature since the beginning. Lynn Shostack’s 1982 paper “How to Design a Service” introduced a continuum between product dominance and service dominance and made it clear that products and services exist in an ecology with one another.

    Nicola Morelli’s 2002 paper on “Designing Product/Service Systems” from Design Issues is also in the service design canon.

    As for sustainability, I would argue that it is already influencing service design and has been for some time. Services that aren’t sustainable don’t last very long. From a global perspective Ezio Manzini’s publications get quite a bit of play in the service design community and Paul Hawken’s 2000 book Natural Capitalism has been on a few reading lists.

    I hope that helps; thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hi Jeff,

    Thank you so much for the response!

    à




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