Rose Recommends: March | Learn some web design!

Hey hey hey! It’s almost the end of the month, so that means it’s time for me to do a recommendation post a day or 2 before the month is out! I should really start titling these a month ahead….

I took a Web Design course last semester and it has helped me immensely, not only with designing websites, but also with designing graphics. I figured this could be a useful topic to recommend to book bloggers, since we spend so much time on the internet, and many of us design our own stuff (and put so. much. time. into that, too).

Head First HTML and CSS

First, it’s good to know HTML and CSS. I actually had a ton of fun learning it. It’s cool to go from a blank white screen to a whole web page with just the power of a keyboard. The book we used in my class was Head First HTML and CSS. It’s from 2012, which means there are a few things that are outdated about it. However, the language it uses to teach you is so accessible and understandable that I actually had FUN learning from this book. There are conceptual exercises you can fill out like a workbook within the text. AND it comes with digital files that you can get online so you literally can code with the book as it teaches you different things. Despite some of it being outdated (you can easily find the newest HTML and CSS rules on W3 schools, aka the most useful site on the internet), the way it teaches you makes you truly learn the nuts and bolts of what you are doing.

Principles of Beautiful Web Design

Next is The Principles of Beautiful Web Design (3rd edition). It’s pretty much is as it sounds. It does not teach you any code. But it gives great examples of web pages that are well-designed, and it literally takes you through the entire process of designing a website – from concept, to structure, to color palette, font, you name it. It uses a consistent example of designing one hypothetical website so you can see how each step progresses as you go. Really cool book.

The next two books are not books that were on the syllabus – I just checked them out from the library because I am an over-achiever and wanted to learn more about design. These books are not necessarily only for web design, but can also be applied to graphic design, too.

The Non-Designers Design Book

The first is The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin P. Williams. This book opened my eyes to graphic design concepts that I had probably subconsciously recognized, but as the book argues, putting words to these “invisible” design elements is the first step to becoming a good designer (like why does center alignment look weak, and what fonts pair well together). It has great examples of the same documents designed in different ways to show the effects of all the changes you can (and should) make. Like, after I read it, I began noticing poor design all around me. It has helped me on many occasions designing for work-related things. So helpful!

Design for Hackers

Finally, Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy is a fascinating look at design principles from the inside out. He even goes into the history of the development of some design principles, which might sound like a total snoozefest, but he writes in such a friendly (and FUNNY!) style, that it is a great read! If you are interested in typography, this is a good book to pick up, too. If you are going to pick up any one of the last three books I mentioned, this one should be the one because it is a fantastic overview of the principles covered in the other design books I mentioned. If you want it all, go for this book.

And that’s it! Let me know if you know of any other books on this topic I should check out!



18 thoughts on “Rose Recommends: March | Learn some web design!”

  1. This is such a cool topic!

    I taught myself some HTML probably in the early 2000s but haven’t used much of it since then, so I haven’t kept up with all of the updates. I finally realized that I’m a person who has trouble learning things “just in case.” If I had a reason I wanted to make a website with HTML and CSS, I would be all over that. But learning it “just in case” I might need it 8 months from now? I’ll probably get bored and quit. 😦 Same for languages. I can’t learn a language just because it’s fun. I need to have the motivation that I’m going to be visiting a country that speaks it or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was coding with Code Academy for awhile, but I haven’t had a chance to use any of that knowledge. So I’m not sure how much of it I still have. It’s difficult to learn something that won’t have an immediate use.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice! Yeah, I know I’ve already forgotten stuff because I haven’t needed to use most of it since. The stuff I’ve used heavily since is more the design and less of the code. But I’m glad I have a foundation.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks! Yeah, I know what you mean. I’d been thinking about learning it for a while, since my knowledge was limited to what I used on Myspace back in the day lol. If it weren’t for the class, I probably wouldn’t have done it own my own.


  2. Such a cool topic! I really want to say that I’m going to pick up one of these books and learn html, but I know myself a little better than that, and am pretty sure despite even the best of intentions, my brain will clam up at the sight of code… 😉 But it’s so awesome that you learnt this and it’s a really useful skill! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m super interested in web and graphic design so I looove this post. I did a programming course a couple years back and I feel like I’ve forgotten so much because I haven’t been doing it regularly for so long. I even went back to Codeacademy a while ago to try and brush up my skills haha. I don’t know if I could access these particular books, but you’ve definitely inspired me to look up some ones that deal with coding and design because I really want to get back to where I was.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love web design & coding! I’m currently in my second semester of web development class, and am really enjoying it. We are just getting started on learning wordpress & building themes and self-hosting & customizing. I’m so excited for the rest of the semester as I am debating going the self-hosting route, but I’m too scared about it right now!
    That Head First HTML & CSS book is a really great book! That’s the book we used last semester in my first class. I love how they teach the information – lots of repetition, but in different ways/formats, and I think I retained a bunch of the info better that way.
    We just spent the first part of the semester this time learning Bootstrap, which was fun too.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah it’s a bit too intimidating for me right now, but maybe someday. I’m just not sure I want all of the extra work that is involved. And if my site is working now and I’m happy with it, then why change it? But then there’s the customization and being able to do what I want with the site that is so tempting!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Really smart topic! Since I began blogging (a little more than months ago) I’ve battled with customizing my free blog with some html coding here and there Pretty basic though and I want to learn more especially about web design so I’ll keep these books in mindThank you!
    PS Luckily the blogger world is full of nerds always ready to give you a hand and two guys already saved my sorry butt when I had made a mistake 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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