Web designing is a highly valuable skill. And like with all skills, if you want to hone your craft, you must read some of the best web design books to get inspiration, wisdom and learn tips and tricks from the professionals.
The old cliche is true; ‘the more that you read, the more things you will know'. And when it comes to web designing, it does not matter if you are a beginner or an experienced web creator. Reading web design books can help you brush up on the basics, learn new things and develop your web design skills more professionally.
How Web Design Books Can Help You Grow As A Creator
When it comes to learning how to create beautiful websites, there are tons of things things that you can learn from reading web design books. There are web design books that can help you learn more about how to use the right typography, there are books that will teach you beginner-to-advanced level HTML and CSS, then there are web design books that will teach you how to stay creative, inspired, and motivated even when you are struggling to come up with new ideas.
Either way, reading web design books is one of the best ways to develop your skills as a website creator. And while reading attentively does require you to devote your precious time and money, it will ultimately teach you how to build better websites that truly stand out.
That’s why in today’s post we are going to compile a list of some of the best web design books that we believe every designer and web creator should read. Make sure to bookmark this page so you can refer to it later.
10 Best Web Design Books For Beginners & Advanced Creators
There are tons of great web design books available online, but it might be a bit of trouble to find the right ones for you. Some web design books were published and written several years ago, and while they definitely have valuable insights, you may be looking for web design books that are more contemporary and suitable for recent trends and changes in web designing.
In our list of 10 best web design books, we have included titles that will be helpful for both beginners and experienced website creators. They cover topics ranging from the technical aspects of web design, tips and tricks, and even advice on how to stay motivated when building unique websites. Let’s dive in.
1. HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett is an amazing resource for learning how to design and build websites with coding. With beautiful, minimal illustrations, John Duckett explains coding in a very easy-to-understand way, so that you can apply whatever you learn from this web design book when you code with your computer.
For beginners, this web design book is very useful as it gives the readers a complete overview of HTML and CSS. You can learn the basics first before diving deeper into the advanced level lessons and become a better, more experienced web designer.
Another added advantage of this web design book is that it gives real-life examples of how to operate on both Mac and Windows so that you can become familiar with different operating systems and thus become a more flexible web creator.
2. Design Basics Index By Jim Krause
This is one of the most popular web design basics for website creators of all skill levels and experience. It covers topics on typography, colors, and business applications.
Written to be a learning source for both print and digital designs, Design Basics Index focuses on what Jim Krause refers to as the “3Cs of Design”, which include the three most important elements that all web designers and web creators should know about.
These include components such as text, photography, illustrations, and borders; composition which is the process of combining all the different components in your design; and finally concept which is the theme behind your design that will instantly grab your audience’s attention.
3. Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman
Designing with Web Standards is another great web design book that you can turn to for learning how to create functional, accessible websites using the correct web standards.
Web standards are essentially guidelines that were created to help make the most functional, inclusive, and accessible websites and web applications. These standards are often updated regularly, and as such, web designers and creators need to know how to design creatively in compliance with these standards.
Without following the proper web standards, you may often see that your design or application lacks important compatibility features and may need to spend hours to code and improve your design on different platforms, devices, or browsers. That’s why every web designer should make sure to follow the established web standards whenever they are designing a website or a web application.
To help you do this with ease, Jeffrey Zeldman teaches you all the basics of web standards that you can follow to design responsive and accessible websites and applications.
When referring to this book, make sure to get the latest edition of this web design book so you have all the recently updated information. Currently, the most updated version of this book is the third edition.
4. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability By Steve Krug
This book is considered a classic web design book for anyone who wants to become a better website creator. Although it is more suitable for advanced website designers and web developers, you can read this book to understand more about ‘web usability’ and how to design with inclusivity and accessibility in mind.
Don’t Make Me Think covers essential topics for any web creator, such as the fundamentals of good web design, how to test for the best user experience, and as the title suggests, how to create simple websites that your site visitors can easily read, understand and navigate.
The original version of this book was published back in the year 2000, and it was an instant hit. But to keep the book updated with recent information and trends, Steve Krug has released a second edition that also focuses on mobile responsiveness for web design.
5. The Elements of Typographic Style By Robert Bringhurst
Written by one of the most renowned typographers and poets in Canada, The Elements Of Typographic Style is a must-read web design book for any designer or web creator.
As the title suggests, this book will teach readers how to understand the right way to add and present content in your web design, how to choose and combine different fonts, and focuses on both technical details and aspects of typography to current influences of language.
Written in a mix of poignant prose and a bit of humor, this web design book is easy to read and is perfect for web creators of all skill levels and experiences.
6. Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks by Luke Wroblewski
This web design book focuses on a particular niche of website design. As the name suggested, Web Form Design: Filling In The Blanks teaches web creators how to effectively design engaging web forms.
All the content in this book is a result of thorough research by Luke Wroblewski, and draws on his professional experience with Yahoo! and eBay as well as the insights of other professionals and experts in this field.
Web forms are one of the most important and commonly used methods for interacting with your site visitors. So, although the topic itself is a bit niche, this web design book is worth checking out for those who want to learn how to create web forms that boost engagement.
7. Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy
In spite of the name, this web design book is not actually written for hackers. Rather, in this book, ‘hackers’ refer to anyone who is very curious about how things work, regardless of their background, knowledge, and skills.
That’s why Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty is a web design book that we would recommend all web creators to read. It doesn’t matter whether you are an advanced web creator or a beginner with little to no coding experience. With this book, you can learn the classical principles and techniques that are used for creating any beautiful design, both in print and digital form.
The book comes with tons of real examples, and deconstructs the techniques used for creating them, and teaches you how to apply the same knowledge to your own website design or application designs.
8. Above the Fold: Understanding the Principles of Successful Web Site Design by Brian Miller
Aimed specifically at beginner web creators, Above The Fold is a must-read web design book that provides timeless, fundamental knowledge on how to communicate effectively with your site audience using your web design. It is divided into three sections: ‘Design & Typography', ‘Planning & Usability', and finally ‘Business Value' and therefore gives you a complete overview of all the important topics related to successful and effective web design.
The second edition of the book is currently its latest version and can be a great reference book to turn to when you have questions about effective web design principles.
9. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
This is another very popular web design book that is recommended for all web creators. It is not necessarily a book that will teach you how to design websites or web applications; rather it’s a book that gives you ideas, advice and teaches you how to stay inspired and find your own distinct style as a creative person.
Written in simple language and adorned with soothing illustrations, Steal Like An Artist is the kind of book that you can quickly read and finish in your leisure hours.
Although the book does not cover any technical knowledge about designing websites, it’s a must-have for your bookshelf to help you stay motivated when designing creatively becomes too much of a challenge.
10. Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad
Last not but least, the final web design book on our list is Keep Going: 10 Ways To Stay Creative In Good Times And Bad. Written by the same author behind Steal Like An Artist, this book will teach you how to come up with fresh new ideas even when you feel like your creative juices have run out. It’s a great book to turn to on rainy days when you are struggling to come up with new design ideas.
We hope that with this list of best web design books, you will be able to hone your craft and stay inspired to create stunning websites or web applications. Feel free to check out all of these titles, or pick your favorites from our list. Either way, as long as you are learning new things, you can surely become a better web creator than you were before.
Recommended: 10 Effective Web Design Trends & Principles
While you are reading up on web design and polishing your skills, why not look into some of the most effective web design trends and principles that are taking over the internet today? Check them out in our blog post here.
This wraps up our list of the 10 best web design books that we believe are worth checking out. If you have your own personal favorites, share them with us in the comments below. For more fun tutorials, tips and tricks, news, and updates subscribe to our blog or join our friendly community on Facebook.