Learning web design is much easier now than it has been a few years back. There is an abundance of sources that we can use to master it, such as tutorials, YouTube videos, online courses, blogs and so on. What the online world has enabled us to do, is draw inspiration and acquire knowledge from more different sources than before. But sometimes, nothing can beat reading a book. It seems like an old-school approach, considering all the online information available, but if you are really interested in learning how to be a web designer (or you just want to step up your game) investing in a good book is a smart thing to do. In order to save you time on finding the ones that really are helpful, here is a list of great books on web design.
1. HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites – Jon Duckett
It is one of the best books to read as your first design book. The author has a very practical approach on the subject, so the content is very easy to follow. He reduced the number of scary, complicated words to a minimum, so reading it won’t be demanding, even to an absolute beginner. The book explains all the basics you need to know and is full of pictures, which is also a plus.
3. CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions – Andy Budd, Cameron Moll, Simon Collison
The book contains a lot of useful tips on how to get pass the common issues you’ll come across when designing. When you first start using CSS, you will encounter an endless number of bugs and irregularities. This book will be a relevant read once you’ve already mastered the essentials, so there’s no use in reading it if you are still not familiar with the basics of CSS. It is full of great examples and it will definitely increase your productivity.
4. CSS: The Missing Manual – David Sawyer McFarland
To take your skills a step further, this book is a must-read. It uncovers all the secrets of CSS and explains it in great detail. Many web designers don’t know how to utilize all the potential CSS has and the book reveals the true power of it. It is full of tutorials, examples, and little tips and tricks that will help you become a pro in web design.
6. The Principles of Beautiful Web Design – Jason Beaird
Web design is not just about getting it to work, it has to visually work, as well. After all, it has to be easy on the eyes, right? This book is very good for learning which colors or fonts to choose, learning about shapes, lines, symmetry and balance. It will tell you everything you need to know about what makes a ‘good design’ and is full of visual examples. Knowing the technical side is a must, but the more artistic side is what will make you stand out.
7. Web Design Confidential – Amanda Hackwith
The author has talked to 5,400 web designers from all across the globe in order to uncover everything, from their work habits to how the industry works. The book sheds new light on the business side of things and can answer many questions that you might have, whether it’s about your hourly rate or choice of employer.
8. Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug
You can build the most beautiful website in the world, but if users have trouble navigating it, your work is automatically failing to achieve its main purpose. This is one of the most important web design books you’ll ever read, because it will teach you valuable lessons about usability. It is written in a clever and funny way, but despite that, it is a great source of information. It teaches you to look at your website through the user’s eyes and make it easier to access.
9. Designing with Web Standards – Jeffrey Zeldman
The 3rd edition of the book is an essential read for anyone who works (or wants to work) in web design. Technology is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s the job of the designer to learn how to navigate these changes without frustration. He explains that standard is making a website that will work in 5 years as well as it does today and that can be compatible on various devices and browsers. He also talks about how designers can make their work more visible to search engines and how to improve user experience. This will be a book you can turn to every once in a while, in case you need guidance.
10. Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning – Dan M. Brown
Delivering a strong finished product requires a lot of preparation and, often, teamwork. The book is dedicated precisely to that topic – how to create a solid plan that can be shared with your co-workers or clients, so everyone could have a clear idea about what it’s going to look like once it’s finished. It might not sound like essential information, but it’s actually really helpful and easy to understand. The author explains the importance of charts, wireframes, mockups, usability reports and many other things that will help you prepare for executing your vision properly.
11. Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty – David Kadavy
In the book, the term ‘hacker’ is used to describe a person that has insatiable curiosity, wants to know how things work and how to make them better. It explores why something works or doesn’t work in design by taking apart an existing design and analyzing its elements. You will learn about structure, composition and different techniques. What makes it an interesting read is its approach of the subject, a reversed way of analyzing all the components that make a good design.
Taking the time to read some of these books will give you a good basis for designing for the web. No matter what you choose to do in life, there is always more to know and new ways of perfecting your craft, so exploit every opportunity to better yourself.