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The 23 Best CSS3 Books For Front-end Developers

The 23 Best CSS3 Books for Front-end Developers

Want to become a web designer? Great! Now you need some CSS3 books to start. Funny how sometimes newbie technology enthusiasts misunderstand using Photoshop to build websites. The only situation where you need Photoshop is when you’re designing a layout, perhaps even a theme. But, the stitching together of that layout still needs to happen with CSS3, HTML5, and JavaScript.

Picking up web design as a side skill to learn can be of great benefit to your career. Google, for example, is constantly monitoring web design sites like Dribbble for potential new and visionary talents. Such desginers exist in vast numbers already. But unless we learn how to appreciate web design for what it is, we will mistake beauty for something that we take for granted. Even though many sites look pleasing, the aesthetics behind some of these sites are plain terrible.

That’s where CSS3 books come in handy: for educating yourself about industry best practices, the most secret tips and techniques, and also how you can learn about web design without writing code, for example through learning about product design, user experience design, and why a team of developers need to work together. A lot trending stuff right now for layout designs, content presentation, and product design; all topics that we’re covering in this list of CSS3 books.

Unfortunately, majority of these books here are for sale; you won’t be able to download them for free legally. Actually, this is the way things are when it comes to concise web knowledge; these authors have poured their hearts into producing a book based on their knowledge and experience. Buying them a few cups of coffee is the least you can do.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design

Ethan comes from the state of Boston. His passions are both design and code, and the process in which both can work together. He has been working with clients like Stanford University, NY Magazine, Boston Globe, and he’s even written a few books; co-written two of them. Ethan is seen as the pioneer of responsive web design by those who admire reading books on design.

His book, Responsive Web Design, has had such a huge impact on designers. Many consider it as one of the essential works for anyone who wishes to establish a designer career online. The book goes in-depth about the process of reaching above desktop computers. It also looks at solutions and practices that can be put in place to cultivate design for responsive devices. The book is full of interesting concepts, research, and facts that explain what it takes to build a responsive user experience, regardless of device/screen size. Great starter book for those who are keenly interested in mastering media queries.

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CSS3 for Web Designers

CSS3 for Web Designers

Those who have designed before will know Dan Cederholm as one of the co-founders of Dribbble; a bustling graphics designer community. He is also the co-founder of SimpleBits, a design studio and a content blog on design topics. Dan has written several books, and his portfolio consists of clients like Google, YouTube, and countless other big names that we’ve all learned to embrace over the years. A talented man like Dan doesn’t just appear every other day; it’s a lifelong journey that Dan dedicates himself to, and in the long run it clearly paid off; a visionary, if you will.

Although it would be great to list all of Dan’s books here, we have to give space for other visionary designers and writers, as well. His first book we’re displaying is CSS3 for Web Designers. If web is the canvas, then CSS3 is the paint. As simple as that. In the book, you’ll be learning about immediate techniques to use CSS3 in your existing designs. You may also progress to learn about typography, selectors, animations, and all that wonderful jazz that CSS3 provides. Dan’s approach always remains uplifting yet concise and up to date. You can expect to master techniques that no other tutorial on the web will provide you, at least not with an expertise that Dan is able to bring to our attention. The book was also updated to better reflect the current CSS3 trends, and general trends in web design.

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Sass for Web Designers

Sass for Web Designers

Since this is another book from Dan, we don’t need to introduce him twice. This one is titled SASS for Web Designers. It is a CSS pre-processor that makes writing stylesheets more of a programming experience. Raw CSS can be quite difficult at times, because designers are required to know the ins and outs of browsers, and layout patterns that would suit all types of browsing devices.

With a preprocessor like Sass, you can supercharge your CSS experience. Why rewrite a single selector when you can make a function out of it and use it globally for whatever purpose? The same goes for reusing colors, shapes, and dimensions. Traditionally, you’d end up writing thousands of lines of CSS code just to get the results you desire. But with simple functions, you can always access the same call repeatedly. You also save performance points in the process.

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Design for Real Life

Design for Real Life

Sara is an expert on content design and its effects on user experience, while Eric is an expert on web’s two most common languages: HTML and CSS. He’s also an exceptional writer. In fact, both of them are, as you will find in the following book: Design for Real Life. Now more than ever, product developers, product designers, and company influentials need to understand the concept of real designs that create pleasant user experiences.

Thorough user analysis isn’t something you can just keep doing and redoing all the time, since a tangible result would need a large set of data to begin with. But past experiences, case studies, and research can be used to create products and product experiences that are more empathetic to the average web user. If you’re in the business of crafting user experience, then this book will become your instant favorite; it depicts the topics of understanding your vision, creating beautiful design layouts, learning to use design to convey business purpose, learning from your own users, and adding some organic human elements that enlighten your users instantly.

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Get Ready for CSS Grid Layout

Get Ready for CSS Grid Layout

Rachel Andrew is a web developer with emphasis on CSS design. She’s written a few books, has spoken at numerous conferences and even has her own content management system in place, which is actively under development. Apart from writing about HTML5, she also produced the Get Ready for CSS Grid Layout book. It depicts the use of CSS grid layouts in front-end design. In 2016 alone, we’ve seen an immense influx of grid layout frameworks that are becoming more interactive, more dynamic and applicable to current design trends. The book covers all there is to know about grid layouts, their use in responsive design, and where grid layouts are heading in the future.

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Responsible Responsive Design

Responsible Responsive Design

Scott Jehl has appeared in the public, talking about design on a number of occasions. Having worked with great companies in the past, he has enough credibility in the industry for others to recognize his work through his book; Responsible Responsive Design. While Scott says that responsive design helped to shape the landscape of mobile device designs, there are still things that one can master and that includes understanding user intent, measuring the device type to adjust performance, and structuring a codebase that won’t dissolve into dust when times comes for another major web update. It’s a book that will open your eyes to new possibilities in responsive design, perhaps as Scott would say himself, responsible possibilities.

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Enduring CSS

Enduring CSS

Ben Frain has been punching the keys on his keyboard to put together web designs for nearly two decades now. He’s an expert in responsive design and consistently works with HTML5, CSS3 and SASS languages to bring about performance-optimized front-end designs. Ben says that he’s also a little bit interested in JavaScript. As an active front-end developer working for one of the largest online betting sites, Ben balances his knowledge deposits by writing books, and sharing insightful articles on his blog.

Enduring CSS is Ben’s take on what it takes to structure a CSS project that could potentially grow humongous with time. In the book, he shares his experiences and advices on how to scale a CSS project to multiple developers, without ever losing track of what is being worked on. In essence, it is the fundamental guidebook for understanding how to use CSS at scale. Ben warns readers that this isn’t strictly a learn-how-to-type-in-CSS book. Rather, it is an intellectual combination of aspects that help designers and developers to build large scale projects using CSS.

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Mastering CSS3 Colors

Mastering CSS3 Colors

Ben Fhala actually comes from a background of data visualization. He runs his own training school, and spends majority of this free time to teach, learn, and to create stunning visual art using data. Master CSS3 Colors isn’t his first book, and most certainly it won’t be the last.

The purpose of this book is to educate designers on what can be controlled in a CSS3 environment to create more artistic designs, user interfaces, and user experiences. You’ll begin by understanding the way color systems function, and how individual colors can be accessed and realized. Take Bootstrap 4, for example. It is shaping up the way we interact with colors on the web, and is once again showcasing to all designers who use Bootstrap that colors can be the defining aspect of a particular website design. With this book, you could quickly become the color guru of CSS and surprise your clients with design approaches that haven’t yet been seen on a large scale.

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Transitions and Animations in CSS

Transitions and Animations in CSS

Estelle has established a career for herself as a web development author, teacher, and a general expert in CSS3, HTML5 and JavaScript. She’s written a handful of books about web development and web design; her latest work was published this year, entitled Transitions and Animations in CSS.

As you can imagine, animations is a hot topic right now. Designers are learning to adapt to this new trend where motion experiences become a norm for delivering authentic and original user experience. Truthfully, the reasoning behind it is quite simple. A little bit of dynamic effect goes a long way to enrich the design and make it burst out with life as depth appears. Furthermore, users are provided with a pleasant way of experiencing modern web. Estelle, in this book, takes you on a journey of animations and transition effects. She also teaches you how you can quickly prototype an animated effect for your forms, buttons, text, pages, and other important parts of your website. All the necessary CSS properties for animations are covered in-depth; you can learn from Estelle’s own examples, too.

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CSS Secrets

CSS Secrets

Lea Verou isn’t a name you won’t cross if you work for the leading brands and corporations in the technology field. She can be found being featured in top magazines, CSS journals, and countless web design tutorials. She’s a confident little CSS guru that has managed to build her career based on confidence, creativity, and inspiration. Lea is as passionate about CSS as she is about JavaScript and HTML5. Many of her GitHub libraries have more than 1,000 stars and are being used by millions of combined users everywhere on the web. You can’t attain such results unless you’re seriously into design, development, and the open-source movement.

Lea has a strong background of web development understanding, but her eye for visual design won’t go unnoticed by those who’re passionate about visual design as much as she is. Now, she’s putting that creative inspiration into a book called CSS Secrets. Don’t worry, there are no actual secrets in CSS, not where properties are concerned. But there’s definitely a lot of secrets that an expert like Lea herself could bring to the table. CSS Secrets features dozens of tips, methods, techniques and practical approaches to help intermediate CSS developers to climb the ladder to advanced skillsets. What makes this book absurdly amazing is the fact that Lea covers all of her tips with prime code examples, ready to be reused whenever you feel ready.

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CSS: The Missing Manual

CSS- The Missing Manual

Dave McFarland has a crush on writing missing manual series. He’s done so for CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, and god.. even Dreamweaver! What a dude! David also does many great things on the digital web platform. He writes code, he designs websites, he can be hired as a consultant, or even for speaking arrangement. As you can guess, he’s also got a passion for writing, which shows in his eloquent books depicting common web technologies.

CSS3, as we learned, acts as the paint for the canvas, but what many designers don’t tell you is that picking up CSS isn’t as easy as reading the standard documentation. The path to expertise in CSS isn’t linear, yet that process can be minimized and shortened, which David noticed as an opportunity for producing a humongous 700 page book that now has multiple editions; which is good! You’ll be sweeping through tutorials and helpful tips and tricks on how to make truly modern and professional websites, the kind that you can sell to your clients.

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The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

It won’t matter to anyone if you read 100 books about web design. Without actually investigating the purpose of the book and putting its framework lessons into action, you’re just reading letters on a piece of paper, and that’s about it. SitePoint has a good reputation, and also history, of being a design junkie resource. It has also acted as one of the pioneers of decent online communities where people can hang out and discuss development, design, and technology at their own pace.

This book of web design principles is going to teach you the following lessons: how to use color in web design, how to structure layouts that work on desktop and mobile alike, how textures can be used to create unique design patterns, how to use grids and whitespace to build a layout, what role typography plays in design and how to benefit from it, are front-end frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation worth the trouble? They may sound like tips scattered across the sea, but once you hold the book in your hands and immerse yourself into the first few chapters, it all becomes clearer than sky on a sunny day.

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Jump Start Bootstrap

Jump Start Bootstrap

The tech monitoring tools tell us that Bootstrap is being actively used on more than 7.1M websites right now. With some plusses and minuses here and there, we can safely assume that the number is twice as much. Bootstrap has a reputation for being friendly to beginners, but also for being reliable to businesses that need concise frameworks when the task of building a business website calls. And that’s not all. Bootstrap is more than a framework; it’s a coating that you can apply to your apps, software, mobile websites, everything. And the funny thing is, these days at any given time you could be presented with the challenge of knowing Bootstrap, as more libraries and plugins start to use Bootstrap as their default theme and core framework.

Having a handy little guide to help you through the rough patches sounds like a wonderful start, and Jump Start Bootstrap is just the precise little handybook to help you get started. You’ll be taking home some interesting new lessons about Bootstrap: the process of setting it up and making your first project, learn about Bootstrap’s role in web development performance for websites, how to create Bootstrap grid layouts that work as responsive designs, explore the huge directory of Bootstrap components and how they can help in creating authentic user experiences, how to implement plugins, and how to achieve completely unique designs through Bootstrap theme styling.

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Jump Start CSS

Jump Start CSS

Louis Lazaris is a geeky little fellow who resides in Toronto, the tech empire of Canada; or so they wish it to be. He’s a freelance web developer who also happens to have written a couple of books on the topic. He runs a web developer tutorials website, and can be found sharing his insightful learning experiences across many other such websites. The joys of being a freelance developer these days!

Jump Start CSS escalates your previous lack of knowledge of CSS to a level where you will feel comfortable to write your own CSS code without worrying that you need to recheck with the documentation every five minutes. And while that sounds basic, there are chapters that discuss CSS3 animations and CSS3 transitions, too. As you already know from previous book descriptions, those are two very popular technologies right now. It’s a chance for freelancers to secure themselves financially so they can work on their own projects. SitePoint rarely disappoints with their books, so Louis’s book is a good choice for those experienced, and those who’re just learning about the basics of website development.

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Killer UX Design

Killer UX Design

Don’t judge a book by its cover. But at the same time, don’t assume that the title of the book implies the application to more than one use. Killer UX Design is a beginner friendly book that’s produced to help web designers (and developers) understand how their apps can be built with a more user-in-mind approach. This is not a book that’s going to show you code samples; it’s based on practical understanding of UX design. The only way to apply it to your own workflow is through understanding and continuous practice.

It’s not a light read, but neither is the whole spectrum of UX design. Jodie Moule goes all out with her expertise on this book, and you’ll come across some psychology based concepts that can be used in web design as well, as she has a degree in psychology. There are case studies that compliment some of the concepts discussed in the book. They have been very well-edited to suit the needs of designers ready to make great apps and products.

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The Web Designer’s Roadmap

The Web Designer’s Roadmap

The Web Designer’s Roadmap from Giovanni DiFeterici depicts the patterns that set apart professional web designers from those who are just learning about design. It’s a 200-page powerhouse of a book packed with insightful answers to questions that every web designer is bound to encounter during their progress on the ladder of web design. Those answers include: how to create a successful process of launching a web design, how to seek and manifest inspiration for your next design, how to do authentic design research, how to tap into the minds of your clients, how to design a website without using professional graphics design software, what are design patterns and how they can be utilized, what are the basic principles of responsive web design.

Sounds like a lot? Well, it’s all been packed into less than 200 pages. That way, you won’t be reading for too long before you start grasping those concepts.

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The CSS3 Anthology

The CSS3 Anthology

We already have Rachel Andrew mentioned earlier, her book on css grid layouts. She’s got one with SitePoint, as well. This one goes by the name The CSS3 Anthology. What could it possibly contain? The book targets people (designers, developers) who’ve prior experience on the potential of CSS3, whether in the form of a website layout, a stunning code sample on CodePen, or through browsing GitHub repositories. Rachel does an excellent job at pinpointing those kinds of CSS possibilities, and goes in-depth about each one. Advanced layouts, responsive layouts, smart layouts, browser compatibility, and user experience optimized forms — the major topics discussed throughout the book. Rachel’s witty approach and endless sea of experience are bound to capture your attention from start to the end.

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Web Form Design

Web Form Design

Luke Wroblewski has had an incredibly successful and fortunate run in his career already. As a product leader, he is currently working for Google. He has also built a number of startups that have been acquired in the past. His strong points are, of course, products and their design, and he’s written several insightful books on the topic. Web Form Design capitalizes on his knowledge, and Luke presents a book that defines the design process of forms for digital web.

Since we use forms almost exclusively everywhere, like in our registration forms, content submission, and even checkout processes, it helps to know what are the best practices for creating forms that are user friendly, well-functioning at scale, and comes with modern design patterns. Forms enable commerce, communities, and productivity on the Web to thrive. If you are in online retail, your goal is to sell things. But standing in the way of your products and your customers is a checkout form. If you are developing social software, your goal is to grow your community. Standing in between you and community members is a form. If you’ve built a productivity-based Web application, forms enable key interactions that let people create and manage content.

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A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Steve Krug is the expert master of usability on the web. His Don’t Make Me Think book takes a common sense approach to explaining how to design for usability. It has already sold millions of copies to designers, developers, and product managers in the last 10 years. Ask anyone who has worked with product design and product user experience in the past, and they’ll have heard of Steve’s book before.

Since it is also a fairly short read, you can finish it in just a couple of hours. Yet, the insights can be put into action for years to come. It works for beginners as it does for experts, and many will tell you about the engaging aspects of Don’t Make Me Think, too. Steve’s main point is that the users make the web, our products and apps. And so, we have to create experiences where the products we build are easily usable, since the field is getting flooded with new ways to browse, sticking to concise patterns of usability will improve the long-term standing value of the product’s you’re building.

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Web Design Confidential

Web Design Confidential

Amanda Hackwith has a great background in design writing and design analysis. She’s been featured on many platforms that we now consider essential to our daily design workflow. She’s also published two books: Freelance Confidential, and also Web Design Confidential which we’re exploring here. The book is an analytical analysis of a survey that investigated more than 5,000 designers. Amanda took those results and packs them into a single book. This gave the readers a chance to explore the way expert designer minds think. The topics covered include freelance rates, the kind of skillets that make the web what it is today, and packs a plethora of insights to help any web designers to step their game up a few notches.

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The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Freelance Web Design Business

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Freelance Web Design Business

If working for others doesn’t rustle your jimmies, then perhaps a freelance career is the way to go. Freelance web designers can earn as much as a top designer at Google earns, but the journey to those high valued clients is like the jungle that one needs to get acquainted with. iThemes has been running their freelance WordPress business for years, and as a matter of fact, with great success, too. Now, the owners are putting their learned lessons to the test and converting them into a freelance web designer book.

Through this book, you’ll get to know the process of creating a business goal, how to establish a freelance business budget, what are the rates you need to set for yourself, how to use online marketing to promote your design work, where to get high quality clients, what are additional methods for earning online as a freelance designer. With this book, you get to upgrade your technical skills. There’s also a chapter that specifically talks about productivity for those who work from home. The reviews aren’t lying when they say this book is life changing.

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Discussing Design

Discussing Design

Who in your team is doing all the design critique? Are you just running ideas without thoroughly analyzing them? Having a feedback post to revert back to can increase the creative drive of the team that you’re working with, and Discussing Design dives deep into the topic of design critiquing. The critique process is what gives you an understanding of the parts of design that work well, and then the parts that could either be rethought, or removed completely altogether.

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Alex Ivanovs

Alex is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in design, development, and small business. His work has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, TheNextWeb, and others. You can find his personal writing at The Divine Indigo.

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a commission if you choose to purchase mentioned product. The opinions on this page are our own and we don't receive additional bonus for positive reviews.
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