Book Notes: The Principles of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird

Characteristics: (where 1 is bad and 5 is superb)

  • Interestingness: 4.5
  • Subject Matter: 4
  • Organization: 3.5
  • Binding: 4
  • Writing Quality: 3.5

Are you a web developer who spends a lot more time doing server-side and database programming than front-end gui work? Have you ever spent any significant amount of time studying design, color, layout, etc. so that you can design a nice looking layout? If you are interested in such things, you might find this book very useful.

The text in big, bold, sans-serif letters on the back, "You Don’t Need To Go To Art School To Design Great Looking Web Sites!", were very much a turnoff for me on the book. There is nothing better for learning than a good education. Of course, if you cannot afford school or cannot seem to work it into your busy schedule, then you obviously have to go it alone in your learning. I am a huge believer in self-study and self-education, but having good teachers on top of a real desire to learn is an unbeatable combination. It really annoys me when people skip serious study and learning and pretend they are experts at something. Thus ends my tirade.

So the sentence irks me quite a bit, but I must admit. I liked this book (so if it irks you, try to ignore it). The topics of the book include layout and composition, color, texture (lines, shapes, patterns, et al.), typography and imagery. I have read/heard/thought of most of the information in the book at one point in my life (I used to have a keen interest in drawing and art, though there is obviously a lot more to real web design...), but for a beginner-ish book I thought the writing, layout, organization, examples, and coloring all coalesced into a very good piece of work. If you are familiar with web development but would consider yourself a novice at design, and are interested in improving, this is a great book to read.

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