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30+ Essential Books For Web Designers That’ll Make You Smarter!

Learning is fast moving to the online domain with a gazillion blogs and video tutorial networks catering to every niche in the longtail. Reading books is going out of fashion and if not for ebooks, they would have become relics long ago. Irrespective of their length and quality blogs and video tutorials, still they lack the research and organization of a good book.

There is a very possibility that web design is the one domain that generates so much educational content online. But thankfully, there is no dearth of books catering to web designers too. We have put together a list of books that might come in handy to sharpen your skills, get better at handling customers and running a profitable business.


The Smashing Magazine Collection

Run by a bunch of people so passionate about web design and development, Smashing Magazine is very influential. Known for their quality, longform articles in their own unique voice, from time to time they publish ebooks on a variety of design and development topics.

From graphic and vector design to CSS, jQuery, WordPress and Typography, their collection has something for everyone in the web design business. Almost all of their ebooks are priced at $4.99, which is a steal if you take into account the wealth of information packed in those pages.

A Book Apart Collection

Staying true to their name, the books of A Book Apart stand apart too. Written by professional web designers of pedigree, the books cover the entire spectrum of web design. Apart from the CSS and HTML titles, books on UX and mobile first development are worth a read. Their Design is a Job book is one of a kind and helps designers to their jobs better.

The Rockable Press Collection

Rockable Press is a sister entity of Envato, which runs the iconic Tuts+ network. Their flagship publication is the Web Designer Confidential series they publish every year. If you don’t know about it already, every year, they conduct a survey amongst web designers and then analyze the data to present it in a readable format.

Web Design Confidential offers deep insights into the workings of the industry and also carries interviews from famous designers too. Their icon, vector and WordPress theme design books are equally good too.

Designing Web Interfaces

Want to learn how to create great user experiences on today’s Web? You might want to pick up this book then. In this book, UI experts Bill Scott and Theresa Neil present more than 75 design patterns for building web interfaces that provide rich interaction. The authors were instrumental in designing UX for Yahoo and Netflix for years, making this book a must read.

CSS: The Missing Manual

Orielly’s Missing Manual series is known for being thorough and exhaustive. Now in its second edition, this book combines crystal-clear explanations, real-world examples, and dozens of step-by-step tutorials to show you how to design sites with CSS that work consistently across browsers.

Javascript: The Good Parts

Javascript is a bridge between the front and backend of a web application. This authoritative book scrapes away these bad features to reveal a subset of JavaScript that’s more reliable, readable, and maintainable than the language as a whole-a subset you can use to create truly extensible and efficient code.

Learning jQuery

After learning Javascript, learning jQuery is a natural progression. In this third edition book , you will learn to Create interactive elements for your web designs and to create the best user interface for your web applications.

Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS 3

Responsive Web Design that tackles user interface across the desktop and mobile platforms is all the rage these days. This book teaches you everything that’s cutting edge about both these technologies including stunning new capabilities including animations, transitions and transformations.

Web Designer’s Roadmap

The Web Designer’s Roadmap from SitePoint is aimed at intermediate to more experienced web designers wanting to advance their careers and professionalism, by establishing a better design process. Those who plan to build a successful web design business or career should not miss this one.

Create Stunning HTML Email

Trust me when I say this, creating a perfect email newsletter that gets the attention of the target audience is no joke. It’s not just the content, you’ll have to pay keen attention right from the HTML design to ensure the mail renders neatly and escapes the spam filters. This little ebook would help you make sure your newsletters make the cut.

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

This book is aimed squarely at non-web designers who are looking to create beautiful websites. One of SitePoint’s best selling books it caters to a variety of web professionals without a graphic design or art school background.


The New Rules of Marketing & PR

Business communication has changed over the recent years. Creative ad copy is no longer enough. This is pioneering guide, offers a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of the Internet to communicate with buyers directly, raise online visibility, and increase sales. Its about getting the right message to the right people at the right time – for a fraction of the cost of a big-budget advertising campaign.

Mastering Online Marketing

This McGraw-Hill publication teaches the techniques that will put you on the fast track to harnessing the power of the Web for your marketing goals. The content is all about using an array of Internet tools to build credibility and visibility, spread your message, and form meaningful customer relationships. And it will only take you 36 hours to master it too!

Tax Savvy for Small Business

Understanding the tax system is vital to the health of every small business. Virtually every decision a business makes has tax consequences that can affect its bottom line – and the IRS is always watching. Develop the best tax plan for your small business, learn the ins and outs of the tax code, and create comprehensive strategies to get back the most from the IRS with this all-in-one guide.

How to Turn Technical Assistance Into a Profitable Relationship

Keeping your customers in the flock is as important as winning new clients. We have been emphasizing the same in this blog time and again. This book is a complete guide that shows you how to maintain a quality staff, choose the technology that’s right for your business, mesh multiple types of support, evaluate your operation, and more.

Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit

Like we blogged about earlier, customer loyalty works wonders for a business. In a tight market, your most powerful growth engine and your best protection from competitive inroads is this: put every thing you can into cultivating true customer loyalty. Loyal customers are less sensitive to price competition, more forgiving of small glitches, and, ultimately, become “walking billboards” who will happily promote your brand. An essential read indeed!

The Big Book of Customer Service Training Games

Getting the attitude of the customer support staff in line with your support policy and culture is a big deal. The book is filled with exercises, with which employees will learn how to create a rapport with the customer, how to focus on the unique needs of individual customers, how to maintain a positive attitude, and more.

High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce

When Steve Wozniak himself endorses a book, it must be really good. The book is targeted at those who are involved in doing business in this social commerce era.

The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees

Social can make or break a business. Your business is one irate tweet from getting slammed. In this book, the authors share insights from their study of successes and failures at more than four hundred organizations that have used social technologies to foster—and capitalize on – customers’ and employees’ collective efforts.

Did I miss any great ones in the list? If you know of better suggestion, do chime in!

Image Courtesy – Emily Holt