The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, by Jason Beaird. Published by SitePoint. ISBN 0-9758419-6-3. 170 pages (full color).
This is perhaps one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, mostly because it’s targeted specifically to folks like myself: those who are technically sound but graphically impaired. My solid skills behind a camera translate not at all to good site design and layout, so I was really excited to look through this book when I first heard about it.
Beaird has written a very concise, gloriously illustrated work that does a tremendous job of covering everything from layout/composition to textures and color. Throughout the book Beaird uses real-world examples of sites that illustrate the particular point he’s working on. Sitepoint’s willingness to spring for full-color printing helps nail down Beaird’s content.
The book clearly discusses layout fundamentals like balance, grid theory, and symetry/asymetry. The chapter on color hits color psychology (“Feeling a bit blue today?”), palatte selection, and the value of using color wheels to pick complementary and contrasting colors.
The rest of the book is every bit as golden, hitting texture, typography, and imagery. There are a number of terrific resources for fonts, colors, and images with a mix between free and commercial resources.
The Principles of Beautiful Web Design isn’t just for lame design folks like myself. I imagine even accomplished web designers could learn a thing or two from it. It’s that good.