It seems as if every industry is transforming at an accelerating speed, however perhaps none as fast as the web design industry. This means that in order to create the best websites you need to be up-to-date with the latest trends. Compiled here is a list of 15 books that every web designer should have read at some point.

1. Adaptive Web Design


Author: Aaron Gustafson
Price: $22 (paperback edition) easy-readers.net
$12 (Kindle edition)
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Aaron Gustafson’s book will give you a better understanding of the  the history as well as the practical application of progressive enhancement. It is packed with great know-how written in a great friendly and funny tone. If you haven’t already read the book then now is the time!

Jeffrey Zeldman, Happy Cog founder, heartily recommends the book:

“Coined by Steven Champeon of the Web Standards Project in the early 2000s, ‘progressive enhancement’ is the key idea behind standards-based web design. Both a method and a philosophy, it yields experiences that are accessible to all. Through mastery of progressive enhancement, we stop designing for browsers and start designing for people. No one has done a better, clearer, or more thorough job of illuminating progressive enhancement in all its richness than Aaron Gustafson … nor is anyone likely to.”

2. The Web Designer’s Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design


Author: Patrick Mcneil
Price: $18
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The Web Designer’s Idea Book includes more than 700 websites arranged thematically, so you can find inspiration for layout, color, style and more. Author Patrick McNeil has cataloged more than 20,000 sites on his website, and showcased in this book are the very best examples.

Sites are organized by color, design style, type, theme, element and structure. It’s easy to use and reference again and again, whether you’re talking with a co-worker or discussing website design options with a client. As a handy desk reference for design layout, color and style, this book is a must-have for starting new projects.

3. A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web

Author: Mark Boulton
Price: $12 Amazon Kindle
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Featuring five sections, each covering a core aspect of graphic design: Getting Started, Research, Typography, Colour, and Layout. Learn solid graphic design theory that you can simply apply to your designs, making the difference from a good design to a great one. What makes this book so great is the fact that it takes us back to the beginnings of graphic design, and reminds us that even though the web is not print, many of the same rules still apply.

 

4. Don’t Make Me Think!

 

Author:Steve Krug
Price: $23 Amazon Kindle
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With more than 100,000 copies sold, it really is hard to imagine that anyone working in Web design hasn’t read this book, however if you haven’t then NOW is the time to do so. The book is aptly subtitled “A common-sense approach to web usability” and the book manages to remain as relevant today as when it was first released.

5. Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure

Author: Tim Harford
Price:$14 Amazon Kindle
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 While this book isn’t directly aimed at web designers it should still be a must read for anyone who desires to have a structured approach to their problems. The premise behind this book is that everything we know about solving problems is wrong, and we should instead learn to rapidly experiment and adapt. Adapt’s general themes are beneficial to all.

Social software consultant and writer Suw Charman-Anderson says:

“Harford provides examples of how trial and error can be a more effective way to solve complex problems, and how trials can be structured to produce the best results. Illustrated with examples such as the development of the Spitfire, and the financial crisis, Harford explores what environments encourage innovation and how that innovation can then be adopted and expanded.”

6. Introducing HTML5

Authors: Bruce Lawson and Remy Sharp
Price: $17 Amazon Kindle
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As HTML5 continues to evolve, browsers are implementating at break-neck speed and HTML5 web sites spring up like flowers after rain.Lawson and Sharp’s Introducing HTML5, now in its second edition, helps you get acquainted with the possibilities of HTML5; it also explores the good and the bad within the spec, along with discussing aspects not yet fully implemented in browsers.

7. Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works

 Author:Janice (Ginny) Redish
Price: $35
Amazon

Web site design and development continues to become more sophisticated. An important part of this maturity originates with well-laid-out and well-written content. Ginny Redish is a world-renowned expert on information design and how to produce clear writing in plain language for the web. All of the invaluable information that she shared in the first edition is included with numerous new examples. New information on content strategy for web sites, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media make this once again the only book you need to own to optimize your writing for the web.

8. Responsive Web Design

Author: Ethan Marcotte
Price: $18/$9 (paperback/ebook)
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From mobile browsers to netbooks and tablets, users are visiting your sites from an increasing array of devices and browsers. Are your designs ready? Learn how to think beyond the desktop and craft beautiful designs that anticipate and respond to your users’ needs. Ethan Marcotte will explore CSS techniques and design principles, including fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries, demonstrating how you can deliver a quality experience to your users no matter how large (or small) their display.

Marcotte’s book assists you in catering for mobile browsers, tablets, netbooks and also massive widescreen displays, creating sites that anticipate and respond to your users’ needs. The book details techniques and principles behind fluid grids, flexible images and media queries.

9. The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design

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Author: Craig Grannel
Price: $23.09
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The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design is a great book, if you need suggestions on how to create great web sites that are standards compliant, usable, and look great,  and yet the book isn’t filled with boring and dry theory. No matter at what stage of your design career you, the mixture of practical tutorials and reference material makes this book invaluable to both beginners and more experienced designers.

 

10. The Unlimited Freelancer


Author: Mason Hipp, James Chartrand
Price: $29.00 (Ebook or Paperback)
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If you’re like most freelancers, you have a ton of potential: potential to grow a successful business, potential to make a lot of money, potential to do incredible things.

Think about it — freelancers have all the right traits. Strong will, independence, intelligence, creativity, and lots of professional ability. Most freelancers have everything they need to be wildly successful.

So why don’t we all have the life of our dreams?

 

11. The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

Author: Jason Beaird
Price: $18 Amazon Kindle
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Clipart, Comic Sans, and clashing colors … If any of these fail to make you cringe, this book will teach you why they’re design no-nos. SitePoint’s best-selling design book, The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, has been revamped to cater to a variety of web professionals without a graphic design or art school background. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to apply the fundamental principles of design and create beautiful websites of your own—seriously! There are certain design maxims and techniques anyone can learn and apply to ensure that their website is not only functional, but sexy too. No art school required. Whether you want to improve the look of an ordinary website or learn a new set of skills, The Principles of Beautiful Web Design will teach you good design fundamentals, ensuring that you avoid making any rookie mistakes.

12. Sexy Web Design: Creating Interfaces that Work

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Author: Elliot Jay Stocks
Price: $26.37
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Sexy Web Design is an easy-to-follow guide that reveals the secrets of how to build your own breathtaking web interfaces from scratch. You’ll be guided through the entire process of creating a gorgeous, usable web site by applying the timeless principles of user-centered design. Even if you’re short on design skills, with this book you’ll be creating your own stunning web sites in no time at all. Throughout, the focus is on simple and practical techniques that anyone can use – you don’t need to have gone to art school or have artistic flair to create stunning designs using the methods outlined in this book.

13. Universal Principles of Design 

Author: William Lidwell
Price: $18 Amazon
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Universal Principles of Design is the first cross-disciplinary reference of design. Richly illustrated and easy to navigate, this book pairs clear explanations of the design concepts featured with visual examples of those concepts applied in practice. From the 80/20 rule to chunking, from baby-face bias to Ockham’s razor, and from self-similarity to storytelling, 100 design concepts are defined and illustrated for readers to expand their knowledge.

 

14. HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites

 


Author: Jon Duckett
Price: $18
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Every day, more and more people want to learn some HTML and CSS. Joining the professional web designers and programmers are new audiences who need to know a little bit of code at work (update a content management system or e-commerce store) and those who want to make their personal blogs more attractive. Many books teaching HTML and CSS are dry and only written for those who want to become programmers, which is why this book takes an entirely new approach.

 

15. Designing With Web Standards

Author: Jeffrey Zeldman
Price: $23 Amazon Kindle
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“No one reading this book can afford to design today’s websites with yesterday’s piecemeal methods.” The second edition of the already very successful book by Jeffrey Zeldman is absolutely jam packed with info. The book is written in a friendly manner, which allows for an easy read. Third edition is out now. As Dan Cederholm author of Bulletproof Web Design and Handcrafted CSS puts it:

“A web designer without a copy of Designing with Web Standards is like a carpenter without a level. With this third edition, Zeldman continues to be the voice of clarity; explaining the complex in plain English for the rest of us.”