Stuff & Nonsense product and website design

Books on creative website design

Art direction for the Web

Smashing Magazine 2019.
ISBN: 9-78-3-945749-76-0. 344 pages.
DRM-free ePUB, Kindle, PDF.

Modern web technologies have made it possible for us to implement print-style designs, and the web’s now full of tutorials on how to use them. But the most important question is not “how” we can use these techniques to improve designs for the web, but “when” and “why?”

With Art Direction for the Web, Andy provides a framework for harnessing the web’s creative potential.

Trent Walton. Co-founder of Paravel Inc.

Based on my experience, plus the expertise of art directors and designers I interviewed. I explore the work of influential art directors to understand it and learn how to apply that knowledge to the web.

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Art direction for the Web

Get inspired to design better websites

Art direction for the Web
Art direction for the Web
Art direction for the Web
Art direction for the Web
Art direction for the Web

To help me describe how to art-direct designs for products and websites, I made WheelMan—an app for booking a fast car and a getaway driver—plus a companion website, full of advice on how to ensure you get away clean.

Real-world and fictional layouts highlight key points and are fantastic examples of what the web can be with great art direction. Andy goes a step further by jumping right into key CSS properties and methods that make print-type/traditional layouts possible for the web.

Ian Welling. Goodreads

Inside the book

What art direction means

Art direction uses design techniques to intentionally evoke an emotional response from someone when they read an article, use a product, or visit a website.

One hundred years of art direction

Bradley, Brodovitch, Brody, and Feitler all appreciated the broader arts and art history. Today we need a similarly broad interest in art and design, as well as experience and interaction design.

Art-directing experiences

Whether we write fact or fiction, sell or make products, the way to engage people, create desire, make them happy, and encourage them to stay that way, is by creating narratives.

Art direction and creative teams

We should form teams who follow strategies built around common goals. Those teams can include; brand owners, graphic, interaction, and product designers, developers, project managers, and writers.

Principles of design

Are the principles which have guided design in other media for generations relevant to the world of digital products and websites? Of course they are, dummy.

Directing grids

Grids have a long and varied history in design, from the earliest books, right up to the present-day grids in frameworks like Bootstrap and Material Design.

Directing type

Combine white space with multiple columns and your designs will immediately take on an editorial feel, reminiscent of a quality print publication.

Directing pictures

Images and how we display them have an enormous impact on how people perceive our designs, whether that be on a commercial or editorial website, or inside a product.

Developing layouts with CSS Grid

CSS Grid, plus thoughtful, art-directed content offers us the best chance yet of making websites which are better at communicating with our audiences.

Developing components with Flexbox

While Grid is ideal for implementing art-directed layouts, Flexible Box Layout (Flexbox) is often better suited to developing components.

Developing typography

There are plenty of reasons to use Multi-column Layout, not least the fact that using columns reduces the measure, which makes reading long lines of copy more comfortable.

Developing with images

What good is art direction for the web if we don’t have the layout or other technologies we need to get the results we’re aiming for? Guess what? We do.


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