In the past decade, web and graphic design have gone from being small-time jobs to becoming full-fledged creative industries. And as these industries have grown, so too has the need for quality resources that graphic designer can rely on to keep their skills sharp.

With the rapid growth of the internet and the rise of digital media, more and more people are turning to web and graphic design as a way to express their creativity. And as the demand for quality designers grows, so too does the need for quality resources.

Whether you’re just getting started in your design career or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s always something new to learn. And what could be a more effective way to procure this knowledge than by reading a great book? In this article, we’ve rounded up 13 of the best books that every web and graphic designer should read. Trust us, each one is worth your time!

The Best Books for Web & Graphic Designers:

Web Design :

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design: Designing Great Web Sites is Not Rocket Science! – Jason Beaird & James George

Overview

Designing Great Web Sites is Not Rocket Science! is definitely a resource that all web designers should have read. It covers all the basics of web design, from choosing the right colors and fonts to layout and usability. Assuming you have a foundation in building websites are simply looking for a boost when it comes to visuals, then this book is for you.

With clear, concise writing, in a light and humorous tone, and beautiful full-color examples, The Principles of Beautiful Web Design expands on 5 essential web design principles that is requisite for every web designer:

  • Layout and composition
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Texture
  • Imagery
Why You Should Read It

If you want to learn how to design beautiful websites, this is the book for you. It covers all the basics of web design, from choosing the right colors and fonts to layout and usability. The book is perfect for expanding your vision to see the world in a whole new setting, allowing you to develop a better eye for graphic design in order to create excellent-looking websites.

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites – Jon Duckett

Overview

A great book for those who want to learn how to code websites from scratch. HTML and CSS are the two most essential coding languages for web design, so this book will teach you everything you need to know in order to start coding your own websites. The book is very well-written and easy to follow, with plenty of practical examples to help you learn the concepts.

The book introduces HTML and CSS in a way that is light and visually engaging. This allows it to be accessible to everyone in full color. It utilizes lifestyle photography and infographics showcase topics in a way that is easy to comprehend.

Why you should read it

This book is perfect for beginners who want to learn how to code websites from scratch. It is also great for those who want to learn more about HTML and CSS, as it covers both of these languages in depth. It is targeted at professionals who need to know a little bit of code at work (maybe to update a CMS or an e-commerce store) and those who want to make their personal blogs even more attractive and engaging.

The book boasts a unique structure that will take through the different chapters as you progress while dipping into various topics of particular interest at your leisure

Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Web Graphics – Jeniffer Robbins

Overview

Arguably known as the best book for learning all about the code behind the design, this book is aimed at absolute beginners and covers all of the basics of web design, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript and web graphics. Furthermore, this resource will aid you to:

  • Learn about website set-up, command line, and wrangling content with clients.
  • Learn how to format text, images, links, forms, and tables in HTML.
  • Learn how to build stylesheets to adjust things like color, background, layout, and so on.
  • Introduces you to the basics of Javascript and how to bring your website to life.
  • How to design responsive imagery, the best file formats to use, and efficient optimization strategies.
Why you should read it

If you’re new to web design and want to learn the basics quickly and easily, this is the book for you. Depending on how you plan to design websites, this book will teach you how to start coding from scratch or how to use web design software like Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, and Dreamweaver.

6 Practical WordPress Projects – Variety of Authors

Overview:

This book takes a practical approach to teaching WordPress by guiding you through the creation of six projects. The six projects included are:

  • Tonino Jankov’s book “How to build a WordPress theme from scratch.”
  • Ahmed Bouchefra’s book “Creating Custom Endpoints for the WordPress REST API.”
  • Tonino Jankov’s book “Building a Non-blog Site with WordPress.”
  • Anthony Burchell’s book “Preparing Your Content for the Extended Reality (XR) Future.”
  • Ahmed Bouchefra’s book “Building a WordPress Plugin with Vue.”
  • Tonino Jankov’s book “Using the WordPress Settings API to Build a Custom Admin Page.”

This book is valuable for learning how to manipulate WordPress Back-End, narrow down and streamline the various ensuing processes and eventually be able to create much more expensive websites for your clients.

Why you should read it

If you want to learn WordPress by actually doing, this is the book for you. Even for those who are not using WordPress currently or not providing WordPress currently, it is a good read purely for the creative thought process and clear explanations

Building Progressive Web Apps: Bring the Power of Native to the browser – Tal Ater

Overview

This book is a practical guide that walks you through the steps of building a Progressive Web App (PWA). PWAs bridge the gap between web apps and native apps, providing a native app–like experience inside of a web browser. You’ll learn how to use service workers, offline caching, and push notifications to create an app that can work even in low-connectivity or offline conditions. You’ll also discover how to use the new App Shell architecture to make your app load instantly. Along the way, you’ll build a sample PWA that demonstrates these concepts.

The topics covered include:

  • Web Manigests
  • Caching
  • Background Sync
  • Service workers
  • Bowser APIs
Why you should read it

If you want to learn how to build PWAs, this is the book for you. It is especially targeted at those of you who plan on building websites with high volumes of mobile visitors and learning how to build progressive web apps (PWAs) is the next logical step. It covers all the bases, from the basics of what a PWA is and why you should build one, to more advanced concepts such as service workers, push notifications, and app manifest files.

Laws of UX: Using Psychology to Design Better Products & Services – Jon Yablonski

Overview

The intersection between design and psychology has never been more important. In our ever-changing, technology-driven world, it’s essential for designers to understand the psychological principles that drive human behavior. The Laws of UX is a book that explores the psychological principles that impact how users interact with products and services. It covers a wide range of topics, including the importance of first impressions, the role of habit in human behavior, and how to design for persuasion.

Furthermore, it acts as a practical guide to implementing psychological principles in design to create better and more intuitive user experiences. It includes:

  • In what way do aesthetical-pleasing designs create positive responses?
  • In what way do these psychology principles corelate to the UX heuristics?
  • The core principles from psychology that are most useful for designers?
  • This also details several predictive models including Jakob’s law, Fitts’s law, and Hick’s law
Why you should read it

If you want to understand how psychology impacts user experience design, then this book is a must-read. It offers insights that can help you design more user-friendly products and services.

UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want – Jaime Levy

Overview:

In today’s market, companies are fighting for users’ attention. So how do you create a product that not only stands out, but also provides a great user experience? In this book, Jaime Levy provides readers with a step-by-step guide on how to devise innovative digital products people will actually want to use.

The book covers topics such as:

  • The UX strategy framework
  • Conducting user research
  • Conducting competitive research
  • Validating concepts
  • Storyboarding
  • Conducting competitive analysis
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Designing prototypes
Why you should read it

This book is geared towards entrepreneurs, startup founders, product managers, UX designers, and anyone who wants to create a user-friendly digital product. If you’re looking to create a digital product that people will actually want to use, then this book is for you.

Graphic Design:

Color Studies – Edith Anderson Feisner

Overview:

In the past decade, there have been numerous studies on the effects of color in web and graphic design. The findings of these studies have shown that color can have a significant impact on a viewer’s mood and emotions.

While there are a wide variety of colors that can be used in design, each color has its own unique meaning and feeling associated with it. Therefore, it is important for designers to choose colors wisely in order to create the desired effect on their audience.

This book covers topics such as:

  • Color systems and wheels
  • Color and how we perceive it
  • Digital technologies and color
  • Color composition
  • Symbolism
  • The several different dimensions of color (including hue, intensity, value, and temperature)
Why you should read it

This well-written and beautiful book on color studies will teach you all about color theory and everything on how to use it to create stunning and effective websites. Ultimately, this book is aimed at graphic designers in general and will be instrumental in getting you to be really creative about designing with color.

Design Systems – Alla Kholmatova

Overview:

Design systems have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to create consistent and well-organized designs. This book covers the topic in great detail, discussing everything from setting up a design system to how to use it effectively. The topics covered include:

  • Why and how should you create reusable components?
  • Ways to maintain a design system?
  • Which elements should be saved to it?
  • In what way should developing a shared language for the needs of your system be valuable for teams?
  • How to account for risks?
Why you should read it

If you’re working on any kind of design project that needs to be heavily organized, this book is an excellent resource. It will show you how to streamline your design process and make sure that all of your elements are working together cohesively. Although this book is teams working on large and complex digital products, they can also be applicable for solo freelancers and small design teams trying to bring order and consistency to their project.

Grid systems in graphic design: A visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers, and three dimensional designers – Josef Müller-Brockmann

Overview:

First published in 1996, Josef Muller-Brockmann’s Grid Systems in Graphic Design has become the definitive guide on using grid systems for graphic designers. This book is a must-have for anyone working with complex design projects that require a high level of organization and consistency.

The topics covered in this book include:

  • The various guidelines and rules that describe the function and use for the grid systems, from 8 to 32 grid fields, which can be used for a varied number of projects.
  • A vivid introduction to three-dimensional grid being treated as well.
  • Exact directions for using all of the grid systems possible presented are given to the user, while showing examples of working correctly on a conceptual level.
Why you should read it

Although it is targeted toward graphic designers, three dimensional designers, and typographers, it is a practical guide suitable for designers of all skill levels. If you are unsure about grids or why they are necessary, check this book out.

Logo Modernism – Jens Müller & R. Roger Remington

Overview:

A comprehensive survey of logo design from the 1940s to today, Logo Modernism is an essential read for any graphic designer wanting to understand the history and evolution of this essential aspect of our visual culture. This book provides an in-depth look at the origins and development of logo design, with a wide variety of logos categorized and analyzed.

This book will help you understand the importance of logo design, and how it has evolved over the years. You will learn about the different types of logos, and how to create a logo that is both unique and memorable. You will also learn about the different techniques that are used in logo design, and how to choose the right one for your project.

Why you should read it

Logo design is one of the most important aspects of graphic design, yet it is often overlooked in design books and history. This book provides a much-needed overview of the evolution of logo design, from its humble beginnings in the 1940s to the modern day. It is an essential read for any graphic designer wanting to understand the history and evolution of this essential aspect of our visual culture.

Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should – Michael Janda

Overview:

Design school doesn’t teach you everything you need to know about being a successful designer. In fact, there are some things that they actively try to discourage you from doing. In this book, author and graphic designer Michael Janda uses humor to dispense priceless hard-won advice collected from the personal successes and failures he has faced running his own agency and dispels many of the myths about the design industry while giving advice on how to be a successful designer.

The book covers topics such as:

  • The importance of thinking outside the box
  • How to ensure that you stand out from amongst the crowd
  • The value of networking
  • Managing a team, bidding on projects,
  • Building effective client relationship
Why you should read it

This book is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the design industry and how to be a successful designer. It’s full of useful advice and tips that aren’t always taught in school. Whether you’re just starting out in your design career or you’ve been working in the industry for awhile, this book is sure to offer some valuable insights.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – Donald Miller

Overview:

In this book, Donald Miller takes readers through the process of creating a brand narrative that will resonate with customers and help them understand what your business is all about. He uses clear examples and easy-to-understand language to make the concepts accessible to anyone.

By the end of the book, the readers are expected to have gained several insights into how to craft a brand story that will connect with customers on a deeper level and help them see your business in a new light. They would also be equipped to create marketing materials that are more effective and impactful.

The key takeaways from this book include:

  • The importance of having a clear message that resonates with your target audience.
  • The different elements of a brand narrative and how to craft one that will work for your business.
  • The importance of using stories and emotion in marketing, and how to do it effectively.
  • The different types of visuals you can use to support your brand narrative and make your marketing more effective.
  • How to bring your brand story to life across all of your marketing channels.
Why You Should Read It:

Why you should read it: If you’re working on branding for your business (or if you’re in charge of marketing), this book will help you create a narrative that will reach your customers and help you achieve your goals. The book is also packed with useful tips and advice on how to make your marketing more effective by using stories and emotion. If you’re looking to improve your brand strategy, this is a must-read.

Conclusion:

As a designer, it is vital that you stay up to date on the various techniques and trends. One of the most obvious ways to do that is through reading various books. If you’re looking to improve your web and graphic design skills, then make sure to check out some of the books on our list. These books will show you the ropes, teach you new techniques, and inspire your creativity. From foundational texts to more specific guides, there’s something for everyone. So get reading and start becoming a better designer today!

As for us at Pixelstreet, we are a web design company that believes in the power of books. We have a library in our office and we encourage our employees to read as much as possible. After all, knowledge is power! If you’re looking for more resources on web and graphic design, then make sure to check out our blog. We regularly post articles on design news, tips and tricks, and much more.

Happy reading!

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Khurshid Alam
Founder

Khurshid Alam is the founder of Pixel Street, a web design company. He aspires to solve business problems by communicating effectively digitally. In his leisure, he reads, writes, and occasionally plays a game of table tennis.