Web Design Books to Read in 2020

Posted by Ryan Gittings

Being a freelance web designer offering a wide range of services means you can find yourself deep in projects for months and focusing on one specialist area. You are either doing front-end development work, back-end development work or digital marketing. I find that I never really have enough time to sharpen up on every area as much as I like with the high benchmarks I set and pride myself with. I always want to produce better, improve my skill set and increase the quality of the end products I’m producing.

I wanted to produce a resource for designers who want to read and learn more about the details of web design. I found several different resources so far that helped me personally in developing my skills.

Better Web Typography for a Better Web, by Matej Latin

This is a fantastic book! I began reading it this year and have yet to put a lot of it into practice, but it’s been a real eye-opener and a fantastic resource for me.

Before reading, my typography skills were limited. I had no idea about the technicalities of fonts, type and scale and what makes good typography. I found matching fonts, choosing the right font and utilising the design options we have available to us. The book goes through things like the anatomy of a typeface, choosing typefaces, how to design perfect paragraphs, rhythm and scale and a tonne more.

The book is available on Amazon and the website offers a free course and more!

Refactoring UI, by Steve Schoger

This is something I read last year having followed Steve Schoger on Twitter. He went viral in the design community with his very helpful small design tips thread that just gave developers a few tips to visually improve designs.

I decided to purchase his eBook and it’s well worth it. The book gave me insight into the design process by showing how design is approached by different designers. I find the book very different from other resources because it doesn't go into the very detail of design, which was actually kind of refreshing. The way the book is structured just meant you can pick up a tonne of small tips that any designer can make to improve technical aspects of design, from typography and hierarchy to increased user experience.

The book is available to buy on their website and I’d recommend following Steve on Twitter.

Design Systems, by Alla Kholmatova

This is a book I read on a regular commute I make and a bit different from a lot of other books I’ve read. This book is geared more towards teams and designers who work on products and platforms. It gave me a big insight into how teams work and how designing systems can benefit a lot of the work I produce. It also gave me the confidence to work with more startups, like Glowday, in creating a digital design system rather than just producing a set of screens. I now offer a lot more value to offer clients launching products and the design work I produce is better than what I would produce before reading the book.

Information on the book can be found on the Smashing Magazine website, available in multiple formats.

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