I’ve just started mentoring young designers over at bloc and thought I do a post on some of the books that I have picked up in the past years that have made a large impact on my design process and also freelance business. This is not a complete list of books that ride on my shelves, but I think new designers can learn alot from these books.
The Strategic Designer: Tools & Techniques for Managing the Design Process
I absolutely love this book. This book will teach you the importance of having a design process and how to use and sell that process to clients. Without a design process, you aren’t really selling much except flat files with no solution.
Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook, Special Edition by Dan Cederholm
This was the original book that taught me how to hand code CSS. Although this might be a little outdated in 2014, it would be a great starting point if you are just introducing CSS into your workflow.
The Complete Manual of Typography: A Guide to Setting Perfect Type (2nd Edition)
If you want to really understand typography; when and how to use it, than this book is a great little guide to have on the shelf.
Communicating the User Experience: A Practical Guide for Creating Useful UX Documentation
If you are new to UX Documentation and want to inject some of this into your design process, than this book is for you. It will teach you how to wireframe, create personas, userflows, etc.
The Enjoyment and Use of Color
Using color really has deeper roots in traditional art than modern digital design. If you want to dig in more on color and how you can use it in your designs properly, than this is a great book to pick up.
The Designer’s Guide To Marketing And Pricing: How To Win Clients And What To Charge Them
Both of the books by Benum and Top are vital to setting up a freelance business and figuring out what to charge and how to get work. One really large bonus is that you will get a consultation with Ilise Benun with your purchase of this book. I used it to ask a question about my business I had been pondering for a while.
The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money: How to Think About It, How to Talk About it, How to Manage It
This book goes into one of the most important aspects of your freelance business, money and how to manage and talk about it. Very good book.
Design Is a Job
This book is vital to your career as a designer. Buy it, read it, keep it on your shelf. It will save you from making alot of mistakes as a designer just starting out in this industry.
The Art Spirit
Although rooted more in traditional art this book is a great reference to have beside your setup when inspiration fails you. I will just substitute out the traditional art he is talking about for more modern digital design. Highly recommend this one.
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