Do you want to become a pro at web designing without burning a hole in your pocket? Apart from enrolling in great budget-friendly programs like this one, reading high-quality web design books is the perfect alternative. By listening to successful web designers who have come before you, you can dramatically increase your design skill set. All you need to do is pick the right books to kick start your career.
Apart from basic concepts, these following books contain helpful illustrations, tips and tactics, examples, case studies and so much more. And before you select the ideal books to support your design aspirations, check out our do’s and don’ts of learning web design. With that said, continue reading for a list of books to start your career.
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites
By Jon Duckett
This book is highly recommended for web design beginners. It introduces you to the basics of HTML and CSS. Unlike other web design books teaching HTML and CSS, which can be on the dry side, this book is compelling, even if you don’t yet have a foundation in coding. It’s an all-color book with visuals and images that make the technical information a bit less overwhelming. Every concept in this book is explained in a way that’s accessible to everyone--hobbyists, students, and professionals alike.
This book is a joy to read and will make you wish that other technical topics were presented in such a simple and engaging manner.
By Jennifer Niederst Robbins
Let’s be honest, any book written by Jennifer Niederst Robbins is worthy of attention. Robbins is a pioneer in web design. She began her web designing journey as early as 1993. Her experience and achievements should be enough to realize that the content in this book is valuable for any current or aspiring web designer.
In this book, you’ll learn how the World Wide Web and web pages work, and then slowly build from there. As you finish this book, you’ll gain the skills to create a simple website with multi-column pages. You’ll also learn the skills to adapt your website to be compatible with mobile devices.
This book is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have experience in web designing. It serves as a guide that openly welcomes you to the world of UX and design. And most importantly, it teaches the readers how to begin web design from scratch.
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
By Austin Kleon
Are you worried that you’re not creative enough? Some people feel like they don’t have what it takes to be a true artist. This book will prove you wrong. Author Austin Kleon discusses principles which Austin Kleon believes are the formula for success. Some of these principles are:
1) Steal like an artist
2) Fake it till you make it
3) Share your work with people
4) Geography is no longer your master
5) Creativity is subtraction
Creativity is absolutely essential when it comes to web designing. This book will be your best friend if you want to stand out in the field of web design.
Designing with Web Standards
By Jeffrey Zeldman
This book is indispensable for a web designer, just as a level is for a carpenter. Similar to many career fields today, web design has gone through a revolution. There are better resources and improved ways of doing things, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends.
This book will persuade you to adapt to the new tactics available in web design. You’ll learn how to create web pages and apps that are search engine friendly. You’ll also learn about Web 2.0 apps that have revitalized the medium and the online marketplace.
CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions
By Andy Budd
If you’re thinking about becoming a web designer or CSS professional, then this is the book to begin with. It presents the contrasting information on CSS-based design found on the internet and turns it into one definitive, modern guide. This book offers all the solutions to specific problems related to web design, such as inconsistencies in performance and browser bugs.
While CSS can’t be mastered with only theoretical knowledge, this book will take you as close as possible to learning it first-hand. Through reading this book, you’ll get to know about all the advanced techniques to turn your vision into a real-life website.
By Jon Duckett
Another gem by Jon Duckett. His reputation in the web design world and his work for brands like Philips, Diesel and Nike is a testimony to how incredible his work is. With a clear step-by-step outline and colorful illustrations and photographs, this book serves as an interactive guidebook for beginners.
Design is a Job
By Mike Monteiro
Create something that you’re proud of! That’s the gist of Monteiro’s book on web design.
For him, ethics are everything. Whether you’re a freelance web designer or a business owner, ethics are crucial. The author considers design to be a service that should be presented in a way that will help clients. He writes, “Show your work. Don’t hope someone “gets it,” and don’t blame them if they don’t— convince them.”
With this book, you’ll gain a wide range of knowledge from creating contracts, to selling design services, to working with clients or as a team.
Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty
By David Kadavy
The word “hackers” in the title inspires instant curiosity. This book redefines this term by associating it with anyone who’s curious how web design actually works. The aim of this book is to make you understand the techniques and concepts behind a design by deconstructing it.
Kadavy wants to teach you how to understand what makes some web designs remarkable. Another aspect that Kadavy emphasizes is interactive design. Through various examples of reverse engineering, you’ll learn how to create stunning, modern designs that users want to engage with.
Universal Principles of Design
By William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler
The title of this book might sound dry, but the book gives you a holistic view of the principles and concepts of web design. The authors have provided 100 design principles. These principles are diverse in terms of their sources such as aviation, mathematics, psychology, biology, and many other disciplines - but they all apply, in their own way, to web design. Every principle might not be applicable to your work, but there’s something useful in there for every designer. Overall, this book should be a part of every budding designer’s reading list.
Choose Yourself! Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream
By James Altucher
What can be more encouraging and optimistic than this title! The contents of this book are as witty as the title, and the book offers answers to many questions that web designers commonly face. It also discusses how you can gain a competitive edge over other designers. It’s all about taking risks in your web design approach.
You’ll definitely come across a number of thought-provoking ideas in Altucher’s writing. Here’s one of the notable quotes from this book that summarizes the author’s perspective: “The only truly safe thing you can do is to try over and over again. To go for it, to get rejected, to repeat, to strive, to wish. Without rejection there is no frontier, there is no passion, and there is no magic.” You can also check James Altucher’s blog, which is especially motivating for anyone who’s breaking into the world of design for the first time.
Keep Learning Web Design
As you can see from this list, it’s possible to advance your expertise in web design by reading the work of other design experts. If you don’t have time to read them all, then at least pick the ones directly related to your career goals.
If you want to learn more about web design and you can’t wait for books to arrive in your next Amazon order, our UX design career tips are a great place to start.