Advertisement
  1. Web Design
  2. How to Learn
Webdesign

The Tuts+ Recommended Web Design Reading List

by
Languages:

The Tuts+ Web Design Instructors are an opinionated bunch, so I asked them what their favourite design books are. Here’s what they think you should read, broken down into digestible sections:

  1. Design Principles
  2. Responsive Web Design
  3. UX and Usability
  4. Typography
  5. SVG
  6. CSS
  7. WordPress
  8. JavaScript

1. Design Principles

Universal Principles of Design

By William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler. It’s organized like a glossary, not like a text-book but I still remember how much I learned about design concepts, psychology, perception and usability just by reading this book. It was the first time I read about things like Gestalt, grids or the Occam’s razor.

A great reference book and a great introduction to some universal concepts we should learn, to be not only better professionals but also better thinkers.

Recommended by Armando Sotoca

The Non-Designer’s Design Book

For absolute beginners The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams is excellent. Plenty of examples showing first a bad design and then applying a few simple principles to make it a good design.

Recommended by Steven Bradley

Design for Hackers

Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty, is a superb book for learning the fundamentals of design, especially as they apply to the web and mobile. Its author wrote a piece for Tuts+ too: 9 Quick Wins for Halfway-Decent Design

Recommended by Adi Purdila

Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design

We use grids every day on the web, and this book by Khoi Vinh helps to clarify the principles behind doing it properly.

Recommended by Marko Prljic

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

I can’t help but be reminded of another great book, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. It offers a lot about visual language and it’s a fun read.

Recommended by Steven Bradley (and Ian Yates - it really is a corker)

2. Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design

If any book here should need no introduction, surely it’s this one. Written by Ethan Marcotte and published by A Book Apart in 2011 it changed the web design world irreversibly. Responsive Web Design is a movement which has come on leaps and bounds since its conception, but the principles and ideas laid out in this book still hold firm today. If you haven’t read it, read it.

Recommended by Ian Yates

Instant Responsive Web Design

Shame filled plug time... Instant Responsive Web-Design is a really short, concise book (written by Cory) that outlines key concepts in responsive web-design with illustrations.

Recommended by Cory Simmons

3. UX and Usability

Rocket Surgery Made Easy

A classic introduction to usability testing and its importance, by Steve Krug.

Recommended by Lee Munroe

Mental Models

Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, by Indi Young, explains clearly why users do the things they do. Understanding users’ behavior will give you the best chance of building products which work.

Recommended by Kendra Schaefer

Seductive Interaction Design

Recommended by Marko Prljic

Inspired

Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan. Great book on how teams should work together to build products people will actually use and love. Something all members of a product team should read.

Recommended by Lee Munroe

UX Design for Startups

Marcin Treder from UXPin is well known for his deep knowledge of two things: UX design and Startup culture. In this free ebook he brings them both together, with brilliant quotes like:

“I love the smell of metrics in the morning”

Recommended by Catalin Miron

Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click?

I loved Neuro Web Design by Susan Weinschenk, it has a lot to do with psychology and human behaviour, definitely a must read for all UX and web designers.

Recommended by Tomas Laurinavicius

4. Typography

On Web Typography

The fact is, you should probably just read every single title in the A Book Apart collection, but Jason Santa Maria’s most recent is definitely worth picking out. His knowledge and instinct where type is concerned are presented brilliantly in this bright red book, helping you and me understand how to make our type on the web better.

Recommended by Ian Yates

Responsive Typography

Published comically close to “On Web Typography”, Jason Pamental’s “Responsive Typography: Using Type Well on the Web” puts into words some inspired and practical approaches to typography. Responsive typography can be a tricky subject and this book will help you understand the technicalities and the theory behind implementing it properly.

Recommended by Ian Yates

Butterick’s Practical Typography

This is an unusual one, in that it’s neither a printed book, nor an ebook. It uses the web as a publishing platform, asking that you volunteer to pay as much as you feel it’s worth. You don’t pay through Paypal or Bitcoin either, but by purchasing other Matthew Butterick products.

Recommended by Thoriq Firdaus

What is Typography?

David Jury’s complete break down of the anatomy of typography. He looks at tools and processes, the mechanics of type, and all the ways of arranging and displaying type properly.

Recommended by David Darnes

5. SVG

Pocket Guide to Writing SVG

Joni Trythall hit the scene relatively recently as someone “who explains stuff really well”. This ebook, Kickstarted in August 2014, explains SVG in wonderfully clear detail. It covers everything from semantics and SVG file structure, creating simple shapes manually, the intricacies of Bézier curves, strokes, typography and, most importantly, fruit.

Recommended by Ian Yates

6. CSS

SMACSS

Jonathan Snook explains how to create scalable and maintainable CSS - every developer should read it! It will help you to improve the workflow instantly and add structure in your code. It’s great to use it as a base in a team and you can combine it with your Sass workflow.

Recommended by Tim Hartmann

The Book of CSS3

This one’s been on my shelf for a long time and it’s still the most solid guide to CSS3 I’ve read. Peter Gasston has poured every shred of detail possible into this compendium, so don’t try to sit down with a cup of tea and read it in one go. Due very soon for a second edition release, the new chapters will include information on values and sizing, blend modes, filters, and masking. You can also expect an overhaul of what was written on media queries, gradients, flexbox and grids.

Recommended by Ian Yates

7. WordPress

Digging Into WordPress

Chris Coyier and Jeff Star’s brilliant guide to running, theming and developing WordPress.

Recommended by David Darnes

8. JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript

This recently updated pay-what-you-want e-book will take you from JavaScript beginner to guru. It’s the de facto recommendation for anyone wanting to improve their JavaScript skills and as the web marches forward we see these skills becoming more crucial even in the web-design industry.

Recommended by Cory Simmons

What’s on Your Bookshelf?

The cream will always rise to the top, but books are also very personal things. Your favourites may not be listed here, so what would you recommend to our web design readers? Let us know in the comments and tweet with the hastag #tutsbooklist.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.