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The Smashing Book 2 – Review

For those of you who haven’t picked up a copy of The Smashing Book 2, this is a brief overview and some of my initial thoughts about the book. I received my copy last week, and I’ve been reading it for the past couple of days. So far, I’m impressed. Just like everything the team at Smashing Magazine does, the emphasis here is on quality – from the content to the actual printing of the book.

The production quality was the first thing I noticed after unboxing it. Unlike the first book, this one has a hard cover, stitched binding, and even a “Smashing” orange bookmark. Not that the original Smashing Book was bad, but It’s evident that much more emphasis and care was put into the production of this one.

The focus of The Smashing Book 2 is on design, usability, and coding. It starts off with an overview of the principles of graphic design and how they’re applied to web design. In this chapter, I especially like the section on “Timeless Thinking”, which basically talks about how to create something that won’t become outdated. It explains how to achieve this by focusing on the fundamental building blocks of design instead to using a bunch of trendy gimmicks for nothing more than visual appeal. We could all benefit from more of this kind of thinking.

The book continues on with plenty of practical tips and advice on building web sites, from mobile to e-commerce. There’s also interviews with experts on subjects like the future of web typography. But what I like best about the book so far is that it seems to be more focused on the philosophy behind what we do.

Here’s the list of chapters from the book:

  • “The Principles of Great Graphic Design”, Matt Ward and Alexander Charchar,
  • “Visible vs. Invisible Design”, Francisco Inchauste,
  • “Designing Mobile User Experiences”, Mike Rundle,
  • “Sketching, Wireframing and Prototyping”, Janko Jovanovic,
  • “Red Flags in Web Development”, Christian Heilmann,
  • “The Future of Web Typography”, Vivien Anayian,
  • “Game Design Techniques Applied to UX Design”, Christoph Kolb,
  • “When They Click: Psychology of Web Design”, Susan Weinschenk,
  • “Design Patterns on E-Commerce Websites (A Study)”, Steven Bradley,
  • “How to Make a Book (Like This One)”, The Smashing Magazine Team.

Another nice touch are the colorful full-page illustrations that open each chapter. They’re created by Yiying Lu, who is well known for her design work on Twitter’s famous “Fail Whale”. These illustrations, excellent typography, and great page layout make this book a pleasure to read.

As a bonus, there’s a free e-book you can download, called the Smashing Book #2: The Lost Files. The hard cover book was originally supposed to have more chapters, but the chapters became bigger than planned. So this free e-book is the result.

You can get your copy of The Smashing Book 2 from the Smashing Shop.

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