Published on April 20, 2011

This post was previously on the Pathfinder Software site. Pathfinder Software changed its name to Orthogonal in 2016. Read more.

For anyone involved in product design, I highly recommend the book Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The book does a great job of explaining 6 principles that characterize products that “stick” in the minds of customers. The principles are:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories

For product designers, these principles are great tools for improving your product design. Much of what makes a design successful come back to the critical thinking that drives what the core product is. Is the core product simple? Does it have an emotional tug? Can you express the core product in a story that evokes imagination? You can use the Made to Stick principles to guide the critical thinking process and involve your team in that process. You can also use the principles to judge the likelihood your product or a competitive product will “stick” in the minds of customers.

Made to Stick is a practical and insightful book that can be read cover to cover or a section at a time. The book includes numerous examples to illustrate the six principles and quick exercises to help you hone your skill at applying them.