Book Review: Jason Beaird's "The Principles of Beautiful Web Design"

Rating: 4 out of 5

I consider myself knowledgeable in generating the CSS and xHTML code needed to get a design from paper to the web. What this book does is attack the area of development in which I need help with: creating the design. This book teaches the basics of design principle in Layout and Composition, Color, Texture, Typography, and Imagery. Like all SitePoint books, The Principles of Beautiful Web Design walks you through a project from beginning (talking to a client) to end (polished web design) in order to provide a real world example of the material being taught.

The most informative chapters, for me, in this book were: Color and Typography. The chapter on Color goes over the basics of color psychology, color theory, and creating a color palette. There were a few good resources identified in this chapter including: the Color Scheme Generator from WellStyled and Jonathan Snook's Colour Contrast Checker. The chapter on Typography goes over the anatomy of a letterform, typeface distinctions, and choosing the right fonts. One of the most helpful bits in this chapter was a web resource: Marko Dugonji's Typetester, which allows you to compare a variety of text options side-by-side to help you choose the right font and styling for your web site.

This is a good resource for developers, like myself, who want to learn more about the design world (at least how it applies to the web). What this book does not do, and is not intended to do, is teach you about xHTML, CSS, or PhotoShop. So, if you are a designer and want to learn how developers work, this book is not for you. I am looking forward to applying what I have learned throughout the book to my next web project (you might just see some changes on this site as well).