Just Enough Research

One of the intriguing challenges of being a designer is that you never know what type of projects come your way. How can you solve the users’ problem if you don’t know anything about the project yourself? This is where Erika Hall’s Just Enough Research comes in handy. From organizational to user to competitive to evaluative to quantitative, Hall has all your researches covered. Read it and apply it because “research can save you and the rest of your team a ton of time and effort.”


Responsive Design Workflow

When I was an intern many years ago, I asked my mentor if I could watch him work in Photoshop. I was interested in his process. Reading Responsive Design Workflow is like seeing how Stephen Hay goes through his process. It’s fascinating and informative at once. Some of his workflows could definitely be incorporated into my own process, and yours as well.


Foundations of Web Design: Introduction to HTML & CSS

I was searching for an approachable and comprehensive book on HTML & CSS to recommend to students and Thomas Michaud’s Foundations of Web Design fits the bill. The instructions are easy to follow. The illustrations are clear. Most important of all, the contents are up-to-date. I am also glad that Michaud included a chapter on ARIA landmark roles.


Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited

Since part of the course I will be teaching is on usability, I need to find a book for students to read. I spent the past three nights revisiting Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think and it gives me nostalgia. Most usability principles remain the same since 2000 (when the first edition of the book was published), but the third edition is updated with new screenshots and a new chapter devoted to mobile. It’s definitely worth rereading.


On Web Typography

Jason Santa Maria thought he could write a brief book on web typography in six months and it took him a few years to finish it. The wait is worthwhile though. Jason’s knowledgable subject matter combined with his approachable writing shows that the process of working with types could be rewarding and engaging. Jason’s passion for typography is also apparent in his compelling explanations. Required reading not just for web designers.


Typographers on Type

Ruari McLean’s collection of essays in Typographers on Type read like chefs sharing their favorite recipes and cooking process. From William Morris’s “Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press” (1895) to Matthew Carter’s “Now We Have Mutable Type” (1990), McLean has done an excellent job of assembling the pieces in chronological order, supplying short introduction for each essay, and providing useful information and development of typography in the 20th century. The book is set in FF Quadraatt, which is beautiful and easy to to read.

Twentieth Century Type Designers

Sebastian Carter’s short profile of prominent type designers starting from Frederic W. Goudy to Carol Twombly (the only female designer featured in the book) is a good overview to typography. Worth a read.

Bruce Rogers: A Life in Letters, 1870–1957

Bruce Rogers designed Centaur (one of the well-known humanist typefaces) and responsible for classic book design including works from Shakespeare and the Bible. As one of Rogers’s apprentices, Joseph Blumenthal collected the letters Rogers had written and presented in a form of an autobiographical; therefore, the subtitle of this book not only refers to the typographic letters, but also the actual written letters. The book is set in Monotype Centaur and printed on Mohawk Superfine paper. Needless to say, it’s an insightful, beautiful read.

The Complete Typographer

In the first 35 pages of The Complete Typographer, Christopher Perfect managed to give readers a brief history of typography starting from 3000BC to 1990s. The second section exams the different categories of types with illustrations to help identify their characteristics. The last part provides guides on working with type. This is a good overview for anyone wanting to learn a bit about typography but doesn’t want to delve into it too deeply.

The Typographic Scene

Walter Tracy’s brief collection of essays give a broad history of typographic events in the twentieth century with the focus on symmetrical verses asymmetrical design. Like Letters of Credit, his concise, thoughtful writing makes the argument on both sides clear and balanced. The piece on reading research is also intriguing.