Books I Love on Design, Development and Bettering yourself

Books I Love on Design, Development and Bettering yourself

Bryan Dugan5 min read

I enjoy reading a wide variety of books to better myself. Below is a list of books I love and keep a copy of on my bookshelf at all times to go back and reference.

Design Books

Refactoring UI

If you're only to have one book on UI design, this is it. This digital-only book is an absolute must-read if you're a developer that's interested in learning basic UI design principles, or if you're a designer that does any work creating user interfaces. If you're a developer, this book will help you to rely less on a designer for making good design decisions. If you're a designer, this book will help you learn some elegant solutions to common UI problems and how to think a bit like a developer.

Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger — Digital Download

Don't Make me Think Revisited

An essential read for anyone that is getting started in UX. The revisited version is a must-have, as it also goes over mobile UX. If you're new to UX or even a veteran, you'll learn quite a few great new UX concepts throughout this book!

Scott Krug — Paperback

Draplin Design Co. Pretty Much Everything

After discovering Aaron Draplin and his work, I instantly felt connected to his work, and all of his wonderful stories. When the book was first announced, I just had to get my hands on his book. Thick lines with a great 70's vibe to everything he does. It's a great book to refer to for inspiration, or if you're looking for some fun design stories.

Aaron James Draplin — Hardcover

How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world

Michael Bierut is one of my all-time favorite designers. With his bold Swiss design, everything he does is simple and clean, but with attention to detail. This book goes through a bit of his process, how he got started with design as well as a collection of his amazing work.

Michael Bierut — Hardcover

An easy to use book to get inspiration for creating different logotypes. The book is a collection of logos, organized by the style of the logo. Michael has got a few books out, but this one is my favorite as it's an overview of different logotypes with a few examples. The other books are more in-depth about certain styles.

Michael Evamy — Paperback

The Process is the Inspiration

House Industries is one of those companies that I have always admired when I first got started with design. When I heard they were coming out with a book, I just had to get my hands on it! If you're into great design, typography, and a bunch of great stories about how House Industries got started, this is the book for you. It's one of those great books to keep by your coffee table as a great conversation piece.

House Industries — Hardcover

The Design of Everyday Things (Revised and Expanded Edition)

The Design of Everyday Things is an excellent primer on User Experience written by Don Norman. If you're planning on getting into the field of UI/UX design, this is a must-read.

Don Norman - Paperback

Development Books

JavaScript & jQuery

Even though the jQuery library is rarely used nowadays in web projects, it's a wonderful easy to read primer about the fundamentals of JavaScript. It's one of the most popular JavaScript reference books and with good reason.

Jon Duckett — Paperback

CSS Secrets

A really fun book on building different CSS components. The book is dated, but it includes a lot of advanced CSS techniques to really make you stand out as a UI developer. It makes you think outside the box (pun intended) to solve complex UI problems.

Lea Verou — Paperback

Eloquent JavaScript

A modern book that's regularly updated on everything you need to know to learn the essentials of JavaScript. If you prefer your books in a digital format, you can grab it on for free.

Marijn Haverbeke — Paperback

Books to Better Yourself

The Business Side of Creativity

If you're planning on getting into the world of freelance or are planning on starting a small creative business, get this book now. The Business side to Creativity goes over EVERYTHING you need to start up a business. From setting up the business type, how much to charge, how to expand, and examples of documents you should have on file. When Kelly and I started Spaceray Creative with the design/development chops, but not the business know-how, we kept this book by our side at all times.

Cameron S. Foote — Paperback


One of my all-time favorite books, that I always go back to. In a distracted digital age, it's extremely easy to shift focus onto what you think is important without even realizing it. This book will help you prioritize tasks and keep yourself asking, is this the one thing I should be working on right now?

Greg McKeown — Hardcover

The Miracle Morning

The Miracle Morning isn't just a quick self-help book, it's an entire lifestyle change. It involves waking up an hour earlier than you normally do to make time for yourself doing a set of tasks that help out every aspect of your life. If you're overwhelmed that you don't have any time to spend on yourself or are waking up in the morning to answer to other people, other than yourself; this book is for you. I've practiced this method off and on for the past few years and always feel better when I do the Miracle Morning routine.

Hal Elrod — Paperback

How to Win Friends & Influence People

If you're an introvert like me, you may have a hard time discussing or selling and it tires you out rather quickly. This book does a wonderful job of teaching you how to talk and connect with people. If you're doing any sort of sales, I highly recommend it!

Dale Carnegie — Paperback

That's it for now! If you have any books that you feel like recommending to me, leave me a comment, or connect with me on Twitter.

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