There’s plenty of free advice and tuition out there for web designers. Get your teeth into these great free ebooks.
Looking for a little expertise in HTML5, coding or going it alone? Well, to need to get bogged down in hefty hardbacks – there’s a huge range of digestible ebooks for you to get your teeth into. And most importantly, many of them are free. Here we list of 10 of the best.
01. Getting Real
Getting Real explains how to go about building a web application and covering everything from the basics to the more advanced. Written by leading agency 37Signals – who are well known for both their blunt, no-nonsense blogging and their gung-ho, “you can do it” attitude, this is very far from a dry, technical text. And best of all, you can download a PDF version for free!
This very readable manual and reference on modern typography, explores the art and history of the field as well as technical details. The free online version includes a new chapter on digital typography, plus expanded information on typefaces and designers.
Written by Shaun Henry, Just Ask cover the basics of including accessibility in design projects, with shortcuts for involving people with disabilities in your project. There are tips for comfortable interaction with people with disabilities and details on accessibility in each phase of the user-centered design process.
An excellent example of the freemium approach to ebook marketing. This extremely worthwhile book from Five Simple Step’s founder Mark Boulton is available to read as a series of web pages. You can pay to download a PDF version if you’d prefer to read it offline or on your eReader, but the entire book is available via the website completely free of charge.
The book itself covers a range of techniques for approaching graphic design on the web, split into five sections including typography, colour and layout.
SMACSS (pronounced “smacks”) is more style guide than rigid framework. There is no library within here for you to download or install. SMACSS is a way to examine your design process and as a way to fit those rigid frameworks into a flexible thought process. And this great free book by top designer Jonathan Snook explains it all in easy-to-follow language.
A beginner’s guide to web design, this free ebook from Jennifer Niederst Robbins starts with the very basics of how web pages work, and goes on to take you through to CSS layouts and optimised graphic files.
Rather than trail through heavy texts on HTML5, this Quick Learning Guide provides a round up of everything you need to know in no time. The guide covers the main elements of HTML5 and focuses on the basics to help get you started, quickly.
Advertising executive and creative Hugh MacLeod provides 26 ‘tried-and-true tips’ to help guide your creative self through the business world. Famous for drawing cartoons on the back of business cards, each of his tips is brilliantly presented by a cartoon drawing with advice ranging from ‘ignore everybody’, ‘put the hours in’ and ‘keep your day job’.
A designer’s ebook staple, Keven Airgid’s ‘Web Designer’s Success Guide’ is a comprehensive narrative on how to set up as a freelancer, and profit. Covering topics such as making the transition to self-employment, marketing your design skills and knowing what to charge, this ebook has all the answers you’re looking for when choosing to go it alone.
The guys at London design studio ustwo love pixels. So much so that they induct all new designers into the school of pixels with their very own Pixel Perfect Precision™ (PPP™) handbook. The aim? To give pixels the care and attention they deserve, to make sure they get the simple things right before moving onto the detail.
The 165 page guide is available in iBook format for both desktop and iPad, and also a straightforward PDF. And best of all it’s still free!
Another for the rookie, ‘Design Your Imagination’ is a complete beginner’s guide to web design, although it includes great tips for old-timers, too. The book uses examples to guide the reader through its 28 chapters, ranging from the history of web design, to design principles, planning and so much more.
A professor of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, Daniel Shiffman’s ebook focuses on the programming strategies and techniques behind computer simulations of natural systems. However, bear in mind that ‘The Nature of Code’ is not one for beginners, and you’re likely to need a background in coding to understand it completely.
A compilation of interviews with notable industry figures such as Jeffrey Zeldman (A List Apart), Karen McGrane, and Aarron Walter, and agencies like B-Reel, Unit9 and Ultranoir, this ebook outlines predictions for the future of web technologies and design for different devices. Also available to download and read on your iPad, Kindle and a wide range of devices and ereaders.
Following mobile’s phenomenal growth in 2012, this ebook provides tips on how to build amazing websites for mobile devices. It spans problems to consider when designing the user experience, 50 strategic approaches to create multi-screen designs and 50+ best practices to streamline your mobile design skills.
The Woork Handbook is a collection of Antonio Lupetti’s blog posts, after receiving requests by some of his four million website visitors in 2008 for a printable version. Topics cover CSS, HTML, Ajax, web programming, Mootools, Scriptaculous and other aspects about web design.