35 Useful and Free E-books for Web Designers

January 22, 2012 · 3 comments

by Dustin Betonio


I have been looking for free e-books for web designers since it is a medium that can be a good way to pick up inspiration and new techniques. While buying new and fresh books from the large publishers may give you the latest releases free e-books still can be a great and completely free resource. With a tablet or e-book reader it actually works quite well and it also give you some time away from the computer to more easily focus on learning.

Sound too good to be true? Well its not, there are actually a lot of e-books available on the internet. In this post, I am showcasing a useful collection of free e-books that every designer and developer should consider reading. I hope that you will learn some new techniques and get help in mastering your own expertise and skills. Feel free to comment if I missed out some interesting free e-books. Enjoy!



1. The Design Funnel: A Manifesto for Meaningful Design


Stephen Hay – explains how there is a process that can help you get into the mind of the clients and figure out what exactly they want their designs to look like, even if what they tell you is not so clear for you.

2. Why Design?


The “Why design?” booklet outlines the role of design in business strategy. It seeks a common framework for why design adds value to clients’ interests. It defines the power of Designing, a larger concept that includes strategy as well as artifacts across a variety of disciplines.

3. Time Management for Creative People

Time Management for Creative People

Delivering time management training and coaching for hundreds of creative people has taught the author a lot about what it takes to get original work done in the midst of the demands and distractions of the 21st century workplace.

4. Introduction to Good Usability


An accessible guide to good usability and design for beginners and intermediates. These 21 pages include some classic problems of usability that you might encounter and the solutions to handle them.

5. Head first HTML with CSS & XHTML

Head first HTML with CSS & XHTML

A learner’s guide to creating standards-based Web pages.

6. Design Your Imagination


The book has been written by some of WebGuru India’s most seasoned professionals and is divided into 28 comprehensive chapters. Each chapter is on a specific topic with a number of examples for better understanding. The language is lucid, to-the-point and easy to understand.

7. How To Be Creative

How to be creative

MacLeod, an advertising executive and popular blogger with a flair for the creative, gives his 26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative. Each point illustrated by a cartoon drawn by the author himself.

8. Integrating Accessibility Through Design


Find out how to improve the design of your website by keeping an eye on accessibility. What makes this resource great is the fact that the author, Shawn Henry, is a promoter of web accessibility for users with disabilities.Also, this book helps you improve your products—websites, software, hardware, and consumer products—to remove accessibility barriers and avoid adding new barriers. One guiding principle is: just ask people with disabilities.



The definitive guide to HTML & XHTML.

10. HTML5 WTF?


Another overview of the changes introduced by HTML5.

11. A Practical Guide To Web Typography

A Practical Guide To Web Typography

A must-have for any web designer that respects himself. It’s a classic! It walks you through all the web design principles and the available techniques that can help you design a better website.

12. Access by Design Online


Being a web designer means to create thinking of users at all times. The goal is to make the site as accessible and easy to use as possible. This e-book explains the process of usability and the principles of a web that works for all users.

13. Type Classification eBook


This book has been made to help you learn the 10 broad classifications of type. These are the basic foundations of what you need to learn to learn typography and it is essential for any designer to know how to classify type.

14. JavaScript Programming for the Absolute Beginner

JavaScript Programming for the Absolute Beginner

This book not only teachers JavaScript – a great programming ‘gateway’ language – it also teaches readers the fundamental programming concepts they need to grasp in order to learn any computer language.

15. Using XHTML


Using XHTML, including comprehensive information that will help web professionals to get the most from XHTML. The book starts by explaining how XHTML differs from HTML, and why its necessary. It then covers the meat of XHTML, including syntax and document creation.

16. Pro Drupal Development

Pro Drupal Development

Widely praised for its in-depth coverage of Drupal internals, bestsellingPro Drupal Developmenthas been updated for Drupal 6 in this edition, and provides are even more tricks of the trade to help you further yourself as a professional Drupal developer.

17. Web Style Guide: 3rd Edition (HTML)

Web Style Guide  3rd Edition

Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites

18. Taking Your Talent To The Web

Taking Your Talent To The Web

The author wrote this book in 2001 for print designers whose clients want websites, print art directors who’d like to move into full–time web and interaction design, homepage creators who are ready to turn pro, and professionals who seek to deepen their web skills and understanding. Rated 5 stars in amazon, it is now downloadable for free.

19. Web design in a Nutshell

Web design in a Nutshell

“Web Design in a Nutshell,” is one of the first books to capture this new web landscape with an edition that’s been completely rewritten and expanded to reflect the state of the art. In addition to being an authoritative reference for (X)HTML and Cascading Style Sheets, this book also provides an overview of the unique requirements of designing for the Web and gets to the nitty-gritty of JavaScript and DOM Scripting, web graphics optimization, and multimedia production. It is an indispensable tool for web designers and developers of all levels.

20. Things I learned about Browsers and the Web

20 Things I learned about Browsers and the Web

A very useful ebook about browsers and the web.

21. Forty’s Pocket Guide to SEO

Forty’s Pocket Guide to SEO

Quick reference for SEO terms and phrases.

22. The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web (HTML)


A practical guide to web typography.

23. Design Patterns

Design Patterns

‘Essential JavaScript & jQuery Design Patterns For Beginners’. Design patterns are reusable solutions to commonly occurring problems in software development and are a very useful tool to have at your disposal.

24. jQuery Fundamentals

jQuery Fundamentals

The purpose of this book is to provide an overview of the jQuery JavaScript library; when you’re done with the book, you should be able to complete basic tasks using jQuery, and have a solid basis from which to continue your learning. This book was designed as material to be used in a classroom setting, but you may find it useful for individual study.

25. Dive Into HTML5

Dive Into HTML5

Dive Into HTML 5 is an ongoing book that seeks to elaborate on a hand-picked Selection of features from the HTML5 specification and other fine Standards. The final manuscript will be eventually published on paper by O’Reilly, under the Google Press imprint.

26. The Woork Handbook

The Woork Handbook

The Woork Handbook is a free eBook about CSS, HTML, Ajax, web programming, Mootools, Scriptaculous and other topics about web design.This book is a miscellanea of articles written by Antonio Lupetti on his web design blogr. During the period form January to December 2008 “Woork” has been visited from over 4 millions visitors and has received a lot of requests to distribute a printable version of its contents.

27. HTML5 Quick Learning Guide

HTML5 Quick Learning Guide

This guide introduces you to just the main elements of HTML5 that you’ll probably want to use right away. This guide is for those who want to get the basics figured out first, and worry about the finer details later on.

28. Eloquent JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript

A concise and balanced mix of principles and pragmatics. You will surely love the tutorial-style game-like program development. This book rekindled my earliest joys of programming. Plus, JavaScript!

29. Practical PHP Programming

Practical PHP Programming

In this eBook you’re about to learn to use the most powerful web development language that can be found, and, what’s more, you will do so with the minimum of fuss.

30. Knock Knock

Knock Knock

Knock Knock is now available for you to read for free. It’s a short take on how to use the new online marketing tools to make any website work more effectively.

31. Ruby on Rails: Up and Running

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is the super-productive new way to develop full-featured web applications. With Ruby on Rails, powerful web applications that once took weeks or months to develop can now be produced in a matter of days. If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. If you’re like a lot of web developers, you’ve probably considered kicking the tires on Rails – the framework of choice for the new generation of Web 2.0 developers.

32. Ajax Design Patterns

Ajax Design Patterns

“Ajax Design Patterns” shows you best practices that can dramatically improve your web development projects. It investigates how others have successfully dealt with conflicting design principles in the past and then relays that information directly to you.

33. Foundations of Ajax

Foundations of Ajax

If you are an experienced web developer ready for a concise yet quality introduction to Ajax, then you have found your book. Written in a friendly conversational tone by experienced web developers for experienced web developers, it would be hard to imagine a better introduction to XMLHttp Request and the related technologies needed to leverage its benefits.

34. Essential ActionScript 3.0

Essential ActionScript 3.0 \

Essential Actionscript 3.0 is a great book for beginners as well as intermediates with Actionscript 2.0 experiance. This book was completely re-hauled from the previous Essential Actionscript 2.0 book. It breaks down the very basics and leads programmers down the path to good effective.

35. Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design

Beginning CSS

Cascading style sheets (CSS) are the modern standard for website presentation. When combined with a structural markup language such as HTML, XHTML, or XML (though not limited to these), cascading style sheets provide Internet browsers with the information that enables them to present all the visual aspects of a web document. Cascading style sheets apply things such as borders, spacing between paragraphs, headings or images, control of font faces or font colors, background colors and images, textual effects such as underlined or strike-through text, layering, positioning, and a number of other presentational effects..

Author : Dustin Betonio

Dustin Betonio is a Translation Management graduate at University of Mindanao. His earlier career was devoted on customer service outside the information highway. Currently studying Law in the same University.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Chalk April 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

Hi Dude, thanks for the idea. Several of these links are good.
However, i wondered about the O’Reilly books – they don’t usually give stuff away free.

A preview of a book in google books is not the same as a free e-book.
Many of these links are just to preview books in the google play store.

Not quite right.



Aniket - Freelance Web Designer January 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thanks for the Awesome compilation.
Very happy to see “Pro Drupal Development” in the list.
Love drupal & am mostly engaged in drupal development. So Thanks again.


Angle January 23, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thanks is not enough to say. Wonderful and very useful post. You have done a good job.Maintain it.


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