One of the biggest myths we’ve heard all decade is that books aren’t relevant anymore.
Admittedly, the age of social media made it more popular to read books on e-Readers, smartphones, tablets and other form of mobile electronic devices. In fact, web designers and developers expressed increasing eagerness for online resources, preferring to turn to articles on the Internet when inspiration is needed.
However, there’s a lifetime of learning in books waiting to be discovered so we shouldn’t rely solely on Internet resources if we want to get ahead of our competitors. Sure, there are endless RSS feeds and design blogs to glean ideas from, but jaded web designers who bemoan the fact that there’s nothing new under the sun to seek inspiration from should turn to some lovely books who may yet offer a wealth of ideas and innovation between their crisp, sweet-smelling pages.
Without further ado, here’s our list of 13 enlightening books that will help you on the path to be a distinguished web designer.
Book 1: The Lean Startup (Eric Ries) Besides fame and recognition, every web designer wants to make it big in their industry and earn a substantial income doing what they love best. One way to do this is by creating a startup. This book can turn any web designer into a business-savvy entrepreneur. Some basic must-knows covered include webhosting features, which by the way, is being compared to on this page by WhoIsHostingThis.com. You may want to bookmark that as a reference when seeking the best webhosts in the process of creating your own website. We also love how this book gives good pointers on being innovative and measuring progress effectively when creating a startup.
Book 2: Big Brand Theory (Sandy Publishing) Designers who are big on branding should definitely get their hands this book – this is evidently a beautiful book that fits well on every designer’s bookshelf, judging by its dynamic images and enthralling case studies involving high-end branding campaigns from Adidas and Starbucks, just to name a few. Here, you’ll read how large brand names think outside the box to get to where they are, so if you want to emulate their success in corporate identity, you’ll want to draw inspiration from the campaigns outlined in this book.
Book 3: The Design of Everyday Things (Donald A. Norman) Why do we design? For whom do we design for, if not for PEOPLE? This book offers fresh perspective to everyday design problems. Good web design is intuitive and functional, and this book may yet provide some very interesting ideas for every web designer who wants to be proud to have designed something that needs very little improvement.
Book 4: Return to the Little Kingdom (Michael Moritz) The world is divided into two sorts of people, those who love Apple and those who hate Apple. Besides fanboys, this book caters to those who are indifferent but grudgingly admit that they wished they had Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack’s ideas to create this world-famous company. The author of this book successfully chronicled how this giant conglomerate evolved and eventually became the design benchmark to be reckoned with today.
Book 5: HTML, XHTML and CSS Bible (Steven M. Schafer) Covering topics on HTML, XHTML, CSS and web design, this book may contain information you can readily access online (and for free too) but it comes in a pleasing, easy-to-read format that any designer worth his certificate will appreciate. We love the little useful pointers sprinkled everywhere that make it easier for readers to find important details.
Book 6: The Unusually Useful Web Book (June Cohen) If there’s one book about web design, usability and project management that you need to read, then this is it. You could be a web design student, fresh graduate or jaded designer who needs to deal with artistic temperament, but this book will stick with you and offer relevant tips and ideas throughout your career. The insides of the book itself is designed like a good site as its sidebars offers checklists and tips you’ll need to make your website creation a cinch.
Book 7: Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition (Steve Krug) So popular is this web usability classic that it has sold more than 100,000 copies and its second edition is now still selling well online and in brick-and-mortar bookstores. This book should go straight to your reading list if you believe that a well-designed website is not only beautiful, but must be functional,responsiveand intuitive.
Book 8: 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Susan Weinschenk) Again, this book confirms what we believe in all along: every design produced has to deliver what people need, not what they want to see. Whether you design websites, apps, products or print ads, you’ll want to check out this book and find out how to produce work that meets real people’s needs.
Book 9: Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles. (Jan Tholenaar) Typography will never go out of fashion. This book illustrates the many styles that you can apply to your daily work. Don’t be perturbed by the word “history” in its title – there really isn’t much boring historical stuff here. Au contraire, you get to feast your eyes on the many beautiful print catalogues lovingly collected by the author.
Book 10: How to be a Rockstar WordPress Designer (Collis Ta’eed& Harley Alexander) We all agree that WordPress isn’t about to phase out anytime soon. If you think so too, you may need this book to sustain your WordPress efforts. One plus point about this book is that it’s written in an entertaining manner so newbies need not be perturbed by all that information on CSS, HTML and XHTML.
Book 11: The Principles of 2 Dimensional Design (Wucius Wong) Printed in 1972, this book is pretty much still relevant as it is the ideal design guide for people who abhor clutter and chaos. This book is deemed a classic and comes personally recommended just because we love the nostalgia that accompanies it.
Book 12: Package Design Workbook: The Art and Science of Successful Packaging (Steven DuPuis& John Silva) Who says web designers can’t learn anything from good packaging design? We think this book’s chock full of inspirations that will allow people to learn a thing or two about web design based on the multi-dimensional design examples illustrated.
Book 13: Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills (David Sherwin) Every designer needs a challenge once in a while (as if the constant tight deadlines aren’t scary enough). This book provides what we call mental exercises for designers to prove their mettle – all within the confines of a set deadline.