Book Review: The Smashing Book

January 2010

Starting off with my first book review of the year.

I was very excited to hear about a Smashing Magazine (SM) book, entitled ‘The Smashing Book’. SM is undoubtedly the number one web designer’s resource on the web. Whenever I need to find something, it’s the first place I go to look. It covers all aspects of web design and has some great authors who put a lot of effort into their writing.


The book contains no lists of links or aggregated content. It has 10 carefully prepared, written and edited stories that are based upon topic suggestions and wishes of Smashing Magazine's readers.

Who is it for?

Web designers. Most definitely for beginners. Intermediate to seasoned designers should know most of the book but it’s a nice reminder of various best practices.

What's in it?

As you’d expect, the book covers pretty much all aspects of web design.

  1. User interface design
  2. CSS layouts
  3. Typography
  4. Usability
  5. Color
  6. Optimization
  7. Increasing conversions
  8. Turning a website into a remarkable brand

On top of these in depth chapters there are interviews with some of the industrie’s well established designers.


The book is basically all of SM’s best articles condensed into a book. This is what you’d expect, as it would be hard to top what they have on the website already.

The content is very detailed, perhaps even too much in some cases, but it is like a ‘bible of web design’ covering all the things you should know.

Not a big fan of the book’s aesthetics - it’s a bit like a novel in size and has an awkward bound. Would have liked to see a bigger, more open book (take Handcrafted CSS or HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions for example).

If you’re an avid reader of SM like I am, then you’ve probably already read most of the book before. Nice read to refresh your memory and I enjoyed the extra chapter about SM behind the scenes. I’m glad I have the book but if you’re strapped for cash, most of it is all available online, for free.

Buy The Smashing Book.

What did you think of The Smashing Book?

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