How to spend your design learning budget in 2022

How to spend your design learning budget in 2022

Posted byAlex Hepworth on

career growthdesign

A couple of weeks ago we shared some of the best ways engineers can spend their learning budget before the end of the year. This time round, we’re turning the spotlight on the designers.

PSA: There’s just 62 days to go until Christmas. And that means you’ve only got a couple of months left to use up your design learning budget. Don’t let it go to waste!

Whether you’ve got a large chunk of cash ready to spend, or are struggling to use up a dwindling budget, we’ve got ideas to suit everyone (plus some things that don’t cost a thing).

Let’s get stuck in.

Ways to spend your design learning budget

Design conferences and events

I’m kicking off with a shameless plug for Progression (sorry not sorry). Our San Francisco meetup is tonight, Monday October 24th, and we’ve got a few tickets left. Join our founders Neil and Jonny, plus our fantastic panel, featuring design leader and co-author of Org Design for Design Orgs, Peter Merholz, to talk all things career design. It’s entirely free to come along. Find out more and RSVP here.

Regardless of your specialism, you’ll find an event to suit you at Design Calendar. Curated by designers for designers, there’s nine events coming up this side of the new year, some remote, and some free. You can also subscribe to Design Calendar to access expert workshops and community sessions, and match with other creatives. The first month’s free, then it’s $9.99 a month.


Jesse and Martin, who make up the design team here at Progression, have trawled their bookshelves — here’s their recommended reading.

Just Enough Research by Erika Hall

A guidebook of trusted research methods for every team, no matter its size

Available at A Book Apart (A Book Apart is a great place to find brief books on design)

Content Design by Sarah Winters

A short and practical guide to content design

Available at Amazon

Type Matters! by Jim Williams

A reference book covering everything you need to know about typography

Available at Amazon

User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design are Changing the Way We Live, Work & Play by Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant

Understand how user-friendly design can shape our behaviour

Available at Amazon

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things by Don A. Norman

A fascinating exploration of the influence design can have on our feelings about everyday objects

Available at Amazon

The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda

Maeda proves that less is more when it comes to design, business, technology and life

Available at Amazon

Online courses and subscriptions

Learn how to design and code using the very best platforms and tools with Design+Code. Start with in-depth technical courses then strengthen your knowledge with quick tutorials. You can access Design+Code for free, or upgrade to Pro for $19.99 a month to access all courses, source files, certificates and premium tutorials.

SuperHi is an awesome website for wannabe designers and seasoned professionals alike. Take your pick from a broad range of online courses, and learn how to code and manage projects, as well as design. Some courses are free, but you’ll need to pay for others. Unlimited access to SuperHi will set you back $360 a year.

Ways to develop your design skills that don’t cost a thing

Social media

Our design team is a social bunch — here are their favourite Twitter-ers (?!).

  • Jasmine Friedl — Head of Design at Dropbox Core and pawrent to one very cute pup
  • Tanner Christensen — Digital Product Designer, and previously of Lyft, Facebook and atlassian
  • Andy Budd — Design Founder, speaker, start-up advisor, coach and ex shark-wrangler 👀
  • Helen Tran — Product Designer and SaaS founder at Shopify
  • Erika Hall — Co-founder of Mule Design Studio and author of the aforementioned Just Enough Research
  • Meng To — Founder at the aforementioned Design+Code
  • Brian Lovin — A Progression fan favourite and designer, podcaster and writer
  • James M — Designer at Tailwind Labs.


Learn on the go with a design podcast. Jesse reckons New Layer is one of the best around for designers, but it’s fairly tricky to find — thankfully though, you can listen on PodBean.

There’s a whole seven seasons of the Design Better podcast to binge at your leisure. Learn how to be more collaborative, creative, impactful and inclusive, with insights from a broad range of experts.

And for something focused specifically on UX and UI, check out UI Breakfast and the UX Podcast, a twice-monthly design podcast that’s been going for over 10 years!

If you’re looking for wide-ranging conversations with designers as well as writers, artists, curators and musicians, Design Matters with Debbie Millman is for you. Recent guests include author Candice Carty-Williams, artist Richard Tuttle and actor Ethan Hawke.

Don't forget Progression's very own podcast either! We particularly recommend our episodes with Brian Lovin, Jasmine Friedl, Andy Budd and Sana Rao

Online resources

Our last two recommendations come in the form of websites. Browse Laws of UX for design best practices, a fantastic free resource. And for something a little bit different, take a look at Growth.Design’s 44 UX case studies featuring big brands like Typeface, Tinder and Headspace.

Are we missing something? Tweet us @ProgressionHQ — we’d love to hear from you.

Picture of Alex Hepworth

Posted by Alex Hepworth

Content Writer at Progression

Alex on LinkedIn

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