10 Books Every Web Designer Should Read

by Nov 15, 2018Design

With the prevalence of the modern Internet, most people don’t bother to read books anymore. After all, you can find countless articles and blogs that can answer any question from how to get stains of suede, to how to build an effective content management strategy. But books are still a great resource for gaining knowledge in a particular skills or field, or just for giving you inspiration. In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that 72% of American had read a book in the past year, but this number has been continuously falling. Many people don’t read because they don’t feel like they have the time, but if you’re learning along the way, then reading can be extremely beneficial for you and your career. So here are 10 books every web designer should read:


Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty

Hackers is a bit of a dirty word nowadays, but really it just means anyone with a burning curiosity to know how things work and how to make them better. Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy explains what makes certain designs so beautiful. Kadavy does this by breaking down elements of a design in order to understand the design as a whole. Mostly focused on interactive design, this book will take you through color theory, proportions and geometry, and different medium as Kadavy explains the framework of good design.

Learning Web Design

If you call yourself a web designer then you probably have a basic knowledge of web design principles. However, having a reference book with basic principles and  information is a necessity for any designer. Learning Web Design by Jennifer Niederst Robbins starts at the very beginning, teaching you about the web and how web pages work. Each chapter tests you along the way, giving you exercises and even a short quiz. By the end of the book, you should be able to build a simple website that is responsive on any mobile device. Also, the latest edition came out in May 2018, so you can still get the latest information from this book.

Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop

Oftentimes getting the content for a website is easy, it’s designing the layout that’s challenging. Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop by Timothy Samara teaches you the rules of grid-based design. Samara focuses on giving you the principles of grid-based design and experience working with them, and then allowing you to break them later. This book is more technical, going through different types of grid layouts, as well as the basics of arranging typographical space, formatting, and sequencing. Even if it is a bit denser, this is a fantastic resource for web designers.


Implementing Responsive Design

One principle we emphasize at DCDS is our dedication to responsive design. Implementing Responsive Design by Tim Kadlec is great resource for making an design mobile friendly. Although published in 2012, the book acknowledges the every changing landscape of web design, and the new devices and platforms that seem to come out of nowhere. This book provides the basics of building responsive sites, setting up responsive workflows, and enhancing content for different devices. Overall, this is a great resource to start learning the elements of responsive design and its importance in the web design community as a whole.

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

Part history, part manual, and part comedy, this book about typography is a must-read for any web or graphic designer out there. Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield goes through 560 years of typography history, explaining where all of the fonts we know today came from and why there are so many. The book also goes in-depth into how a font as a mood and style, and how certain fonts have taken over the world. It’s a great read for any design junky and it gives you a deep understanding of the power of typography.

Designing for Emotion

The best designs are the ones that speak to people on an emotional level, allowing individuals to feel a human connection through a design. Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter is all about making users fall in love with your website. Walter, the user experience design lead at MailChimp, uses psychology, case studies, and everyday common sense to help you build strategies and concepts that make users feel an emotion through your design.

Seductive Interaction Design

A bit of a silly take on web design, Seductive Interaction Design by Stephen P. Anderson answer the question of “what happens when you’ve built a great website or app, but no one seems to care?” Anderson takes you through the steps of building a website alongside the stages of seduction, teaching you to captivate your users and keep them around long enough to see how they can benefit from your product or service. Learn how to attract attention and keep users engaged with beautiful design!


Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy

While it’s great to know the basics of web design, you also need to consider why your designing a particular website. That’s where Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy comes in. This book by Phil Barden uses science to explain purchasing behavior and how it affects marketing. By spelling out the “secret codes” that makes people buy specific products and services, Barden explains how you can apply this knowledge to make your own marketing relevant and different from your competitors.

Since a website is the first step in any company’s inbound marketing strategy, this book is especially helpful to web designers. By designing a site to cater to purchasing behavior, you’ve set up the beginnings of a compelling and effective inbound marketing strategy.

Where Good Ideas Come From

There have been some pretty innovative ideas throughout history, especially in the world of design, but how do creative ideas come about? Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson address questions like, what environment breeds innovation, what sparks good ideas to beginning with, and how do we generate these ideas to benefit the future? Johnson does a great job of identifying seven pattern behind innovation and shows examples of these patterns around many different disciplines, including design. Maybe once you read this book you’ll be able to foster your own innovative ideas.

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative

While not strictly about web design, Steal Like An Artist is a great manifesto for any creative. This short book by Austin Kleon reveals the truth behind creativity: nothing is original. This book’s positive message revolves around embracing influence and collaboration, allowing you to constantly reimagine and redesign both your and other people’s art. And this goes for any type of art, including web design. The book is super fun and short, but if you’re more interested in a talk on the subject, you can watch Austin Kleon’s TED Talk with the same title.

At DC Dev Shop, we’re dedicated to making you a functional, efficient, and visually appealing website. We offer services in web designweb development, and inbound marketing, helping you to brand and optimize your digital presence.

Download our Inbound Marketing Playbook

Take a PDF copy of our Inbound Marketing Playbook with you to read on the go.

Let's Work Together

We are the leading  WordPress development and HubSpot Consulting agency in the D.C. area, working with brands to attract and retain clients by leveraging web technologies and inbound marketing methodologies.

Don't be shy, drop us a line. Whether you are aiming to launch a new website yourself or want to hire a team of experts to build a custom site, we'd love to hear from you.