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20 Kindle Books All Web and Graphic Designers Must Read

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I know, I know…not everyone likes reading. And not everyone likes reading books. But as a web or graphic designer, it is important to constantly stay on top of the latest design trends, tricks and to constantly perfect your knowledge. After all, you want to be the best designer you can be, right? That is why in today’s post, I’ve rounded up a total of 20 books that I believe every web and graphic designer needs to read. All of these are available on Kindle (and most in paperback as well), so you can download them instantly and start reading. Of course you don’t need to read all of them, but if you haven’t read any, then you are definitely behind. Check out this list, and pick up a few copies for you to enjoy.

1. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

We design to elicit responses from people. We want them to buy something, read more, or take action of some kind. Designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. This book combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver a guide every designer needs. With it you’ll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for print, websites, applications, and products that matches the way people think, work, and play.

2. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.
Now Steve returns with fresh perspective to reexamine the principles that made Don’t Make Me Think a classic–with updated examples and a new chapter on mobile usability.

3. Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences

What happens when you’ve built a great website or app, but no one seems to care? How do you get people to stick around long enough to see how your service might be of value? In Seductive Interaction Design, speaker and author Stephen P. Anderson takes a fresh approach to designing sites and interactions based on the stages of seduction. This beautifully designed book examines what motivates people to act.

4.  About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design kindle

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, Fourth Edition is the latest update to the book that shaped and evolved the landscape of interaction design. This comprehensive guide takes the worldwide shift to smartphones and tablets into account.  New information includes discussions on mobile apps, touch interfaces, screen size considerations, and more. The new full-color interior and unique layout better illustrate modern design concepts.

5. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC/6 – The Missing FAQ – Real Answers to Real Questions Asked by Lightroom Users

Adobe Lightroom CC/6 – The Missing FAQ is primarily designed as a 600+ page conversational FAQ-style reference book, giving you the detailed information you need to make informed choices, whether you’ve been using Lightroom for a few months or a few years. No more pressing buttons without understanding the repercussions!
Unlike most other Lightroom books, this isn’t just the theory of how Lightroom’s supposed to work, but also the workarounds and solutions for the times when it doesn’t behave the way you’d expect.

6.  Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services

Whether you’re designing consumer electronics, medical devices, enterprise Web apps, or new ways to check out at the supermarket, today’s digitally-enabled products and services provide both great opportunities to deliver compelling user experiences and great risks of driving your customers crazy with complicated, confusing technology.

Designing successful products and services in the digital age requires a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in interaction design, visual design, industrial design, and other disciplines. It also takes the ability to come up with the big ideas that make a desirable product or service, as well as the skill and perseverance to execute on the thousand small ideas that get your design into the hands of users. It requires expertise in project management, user research, and consensus-building. This comprehensive, full-color volume addresses all of these and more with detailed how-to information, real-life examples, and exercises.

7. Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

In a complex world, products that are easy to use win favor with consumers. This is the first book on the topic of simplicity aimed specifically at interaction designers. It shows how to drill down and simplify user experiences when designing digital tools and applications. It begins by explaining why simplicity is attractive, explores the laws of simplicity, and presents proven strategies for achieving simplicity. Remove, hide, organize and displace become guidelines for designers, who learn simplicity by seeing before and after examples and case studies where the results speak for themselves.

8. CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems

In this practical guide, CSS expert Lea Verou provides 47 undocumented techniques and tips to help intermediate-to advanced CSS developers devise elegant solutions to a wide range of everyday web design problems.

Rather than focus on design, CSS Secrets shows you how to solve problems with code. You’ll learn how to apply Lea’s analytical approach to practically every CSS problem you face to attain DRY, maintainable, flexible, lightweight, and standards-compliant results.

9. Think First: My No-Nonsense Approach to Creating Successful Products, Memorable User Experiences + Very Happy Customers

Creating an app, site or any product that succeeds — or sells — is most definitely a tall order. Designing anything for people is tough, because we’re inherently complex and…well…messy. Which means that things like market share and ROI don’t come easy. But time and effort spent finding the right problems to solve allows designers, developers and product teams to take quantum leaps forward in exceeding the expectations of everyone involved.

In Think First, Joe Natoli shows you exactly how to do this, using lessons learned from his 26 years as a UX consultant to Fortune 100 and 500 organizations. You’ll find proven principles, step-by-step methods and straightforward, jargon-free advice that can be applied to any kind of digital product. Think First proves that while people are indeed messy and complex, designing for them doesn’t have to be.

10. UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want

User experience (UX) strategy requires a careful blend of business strategy and UX design, but until now, there hasn’t been an easy-to-apply framework for executing it. This hands-on guide introduces lightweight strategy tools and techniques to help you and your team craft innovative multi-device products that people want to use.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, UX/UI designer, product manager, or part of an intrapreneurial team, this book teaches simple-to-advanced strategies that you can use in your work right away. Along with business cases, historical context, and real-world examples throughout, you’ll also gain different perspectives on the subject through interviews with top strategists.

11. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students

Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of ornaments and captions, lining and non-lining numerals, the use of small caps and enlarged capitals, as well as information on captions, font licensing, mixing typefaces, and hand lettering. Throughout the book, visual examples show how to be inventive within systems of typographic form–what the rules are and how to break them. Thinking with Type is a type book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words.

12. Logo Design Love: A guide to creating iconic brand identities

Completely updated and expanded, the second edition of David Airey’s Logo Design Love contains more of just about everything that made the first edition so great: more case studies, more sketches, more logos, more tips for working with clients, more insider stories, and more practical information for getting the job and getting it done right.

In Logo Design Love, you’ll learn:

  • Best practices for extending a logo into a complete brand identity system
  • Why one logo is more effective than another
  • How to create your own iconic designs
  • What sets some designers above the rest
  • 31 practical design tips for creating logos that last

13. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

From research and analysis through brand strategy, design development through application design, and identity standards through launch and governance, Designing Brand Identity, Fourth Edition offers brand managers, marketers, and designers a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity. Enriched by new case studies showcasing successful world-class brands, this Fourth Edition brings readers up to date with a detailed look at the latest trends in branding, including social networks, mobile devices, global markets, apps, video, and virtual brands.

14. Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

Have you ever struggled to complete a design project on time? Or felt that having a tight deadline stifled your capacity for maximum creativity? If so, then this book is for you.

Within these pages, you’ll find 80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Exercises range from creating a typeface in an hour to designing a paper robot in an afternoon to designing web pages and other interactive experiences. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help you increase your capacity to innovate.

Creative Workshop also includes useful brainstorming techniques and wisdom from some of today’s top designers. By road-testing these techniques as you attempt each challenge, you’ll find new and more effective ways to solve tough design problems and bring your solutions to vibrant life.

15. Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should

It takes more than just a design school education and a killer portfolio to succeed in a creative career. Burn Your Portfolio teaches the real-world practices, professional do’s and don’ts, and unwritten rules of business that most designers, photographers, web designers, copy writers, programmers, and architects only learn after putting in years of experience on the job.

Michael Janda, owner of the Utah-based design firm Riser, uses humor to dispense nugget after nugget of hard-won advice collected over the last decade from the personal successes and failures he has faced running his own agency. In this surprisingly funny, but incredibly practical advice guide, Janda’s advice on teamwork and collaboration, relationship building, managing clients, bidding work, production processes, and more will resonate with creative professionals of all stripes.

16. Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business

Unlike other dry business books, this refreshing, straightforward guide from Logo Design Love author and international designer David Airey answers the questions all designers have when first starting out on their own. In fact, the book was inspired by the many questions David receives every day from the more than 600,000 designers who visit his three blogs each month.

How do I find new clients? How much should I charge for my design work? When should I say no to a client? How do I handle difficult clients? What should I be sure to include in my contracts?

David’s readers–a passionate and vocal group–regularly ask him these questions and many more on how to launch and run their own design careers. With this book, David finally answers their pressing questions with anecdotes, case studies, and sound advice garnered from his own experience as well as those of such well-known designers as Ivan Chermayeff, Jerry Kuyper, Maggie Macnab, Eric Karjaluoto, and Von Glitschka. Designers just starting out on their own will find this book invaluable in succeeding in today’s hyper-networked, global economy.

17. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

18. Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design

Whether a marketing campaign or a museum exhibit, a video game or a complex control system, the design we see is the culmination of many concepts and practices brought together from a variety of disciplines. Because no one can be an expert on everything, designers have always had to scramble to find the information and know-how required to make a design work—until now.

Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated is a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary encyclopedia of design. Richly illustrated and easy to navigate, it pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the concepts applied in practice. From the “80/20” rule to chunking, from baby-face bias to Occam’s razor, and from self-similarity to storytelling, every major design concept is defined and illustrated for readers to expand their knowledge.

This landmark reference will become the standard for designers, engineers, architects, and students who seek to broaden and improve their design expertise.

19. Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation

Learn how companies make us feel good about doing what they want. Approaching persuasive design from the dark side, this book melds psychology, marketing, and design concepts to show why we’re susceptible to certain persuasive techniques. Packed with examples from every nook and cranny of the web, it provides easily digestible and applicable patterns for putting these design techniques to work. Organized by the seven deadly sins, it includes:

  • Pride — use social proof to position your product in line with your visitors’ values
  • Sloth — build a path of least resistance that leads users where you want them to go
  • Gluttony — escalate customers’ commitment and use loss aversion to keep them there
  • Anger — understand the power of metaphysical arguments and anonymity
  • Envy — create a culture of status around your product and feed aspirational desires
  • Lust — turn desire into commitment by using emotion to defeat rational behavior
  • Greed — keep customers engaged by reinforcing the behaviors you desire

Now you too can leverage human fallibility to create powerful persuasive interfaces that people will love to use — but will you use your new knowledge for good or evil?

20. A Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS: Learn it faster. Remember it longer

The ultimate learn-by-doing approach. Short chapters are paired with free interactive online exercises to teach the fundamentals of HTML and CSS. Written for beginners, useful for experienced developers who want to sharpen their skills. Prepares the reader to code a website of medium complexity. The learner spends two to three times as long practicing as he does reading. Based on cognitive research showing that retention increases 400 percent when learners are challenged to retrieve the information they just read. Explanations are in plain, nontechnical English that people of all backgrounds can readily understand. With ample coding examples and illustrations.

…the end.

You may be wondering why this article is not like others as it doesn’t have pictures. That’s for a reason. It urges you to start reading – not quickly look at photos and screenshots. If you’ve made it to the bottom of the article (without cheating), then I congratulate you – you are an eager learner, and are more than ready for the useful Kindle books in this article.

Please feel free to leave a comment as to which of these Kindle books for designers are your favorite – or if you’ve got any others to add to the list.


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Written by Iggy

Iggy is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques collating creative website designs. You can follow Iggy on Twitter.

6 Comments

  1. Jack says:

    Awesome selection of books! We’ll certainly pass these on to our team of web designers!

    Keep the great articles coming . . .

  2. kalyan says:

    I have usable web mobile and interactive design book. It explains how to design web in a simple way and easy to use. So that customer can easily find out what he is looking for.

  3. Yolanda says:

    Very useful for us the web designers and developers!Thanks for the resources! Yolanda

  4. Riya says:

    Nice sum up. I am going to purchase one of them very soon :)

  5. Nice selection of books, thanks

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