DesignFreebie

11 free ebooks for designers

Whether you’re just starting out in design, or you’re a seasoned pro, the web has some interesting reading for you today.

We've done some extensive research and found these brilliant free ebooks for you to download and read - but let us know in the comments if you've come across a good book we've missed!

There has always been a healthy market for commercial books written by experts, and this isn't likely to change any time soon: sometimes there's just no substitute for splashing your cash and getting high quality content in return. That said, there's a growing movement towards free and freemium content on the web, and the quality of the content is often on a par with the books you'd part cash for.

What's on offer

Obviously nobody can afford to print and distribute free books (with the exception of the excellent World Book Night movement), but in this age of tablets, smartphones and laptops the electronic book offers a fantastic, and very cheap, way to spread this content.

So, with all that in mind, what content can you get for free in the field of graphic and web design? You could check out this list of free books for web designers, but if it's ebooks covering a broader design remit that you're after a quick search on your favourite search engine will reveal hundreds of offerings, making it difficult to sift the wheat from the chaff. But we've saved you the trouble, so here goes...

01. Pixel Perfect Precision Handbook

free ebooks for designers
The Pixel Perfect Precision e-book has had an important update

The Pixel Perfect Precision (PPP) Handbook from leading digital design agency ustwo has come a long way since it was first released four years ago. What started as 108-page simple guide to best practise with pixels and Photoshop, has grown into PPP3 - a whopping 214-page designer bible.

02. The Creative Aid Handbook

free ebooks for designers
The Creative Aid book aims to be a mini resource for your creative projects

Created by Kooroo Kooroo, The Creative Aid is a free book jam packed full of inspiration and available to download today.

Co-founders Nicole Smith and Richard Tapp explain the concept: "It's a mini resource for your creative projects and food for your creative thoughts. We’ve included our own valuable references and resources we know and trust as a means to help you get your projects done. We want to give you the creative push from a direction you may not have thought of, be it informative, inspirational, or simply entertaining."

03. One Thing I Know

free ebooks for designers
Creatives pass down their expertise to the next creative generation

'One Thing I Know' compiles hard-earned insights from creative entrepreneurs from across the UK. The series of articles is aimed at passing their experience down to the next generation. This is first-hand advice from those who have experienced it - and overcome it - themselves.

04. Type Classification eBook

This excellent 27-page ebook details the 10 key classifications for typography, providing the basic understanding you'll need to gain a grasp of the fundamentals of type selection. The book covers a brief history for each of the classifications, as well as the core characteristics of the style.  

05. Creative Suite Printing Guide

This handy book from Adobe provides all the information you'll need to get the best-quality results possible when printing from Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat.

Over the course of 149 pages the different tools and options within each package are broken down, illustrating how to produce files for print that will provide accurate colour reproduction, pixel-perfect transparency matting and sharp lines.

06. How to be Creative

More of a manifesto than a traditional book, 'How to be Creative' offers a useful set of headline approaches to maximising your creativity, with the author Hugh MacLeod offering some insight into his own personal experience of why each is a useful and/or important technique or lesson to spur you on.

07. Breaking the Time Barrier

This ebook tells a parable, using a semi-fictional scenario to illustrate the importance of pricing your work at the right level. The book itself will take an hour or two to read, and really focuses only one core message, but it's a valuable lesson for designers starting out in business for themselves.

08. Graphic Design for Non-profit Organisations

 Graphic Design for Non-profit Organisations
Graphic Design for Non-profit Organisations

The book focuses mainly on design and best prac­tices for non-profit orga­ni­za­tions, but the con­tent is a great resource in gen­eral and the teach­ings can be applied pretty much any­where.

09. Typo Tips

This handy free ebook from Font Shop provides a series of tips and techniques to improve your typography, ranging from basic best-practice such as avoiding the use of ALL CAPS, to which type of dash should be used in which scenario. A worthwhile download for anyone interested in type and typography.

10. The Design Funnel

Another manifesto from the ChangeThis.com website, this offering from author Stephen Hay - one of the speakers at our Generate conference - provides a methodology for converting client input (which may often be extremely vague!) into a meaningful design approach. As with Hugh MacLeod's book, this free PDF offers a personal insight into the process, demonstrating its value.

11. Butterick's Practical Typography

Matthew Butterick is a designer who's also a lawyer (or perhaps a lawyer who's also a designer), and his free typography volume (if you find it useful he offers a few suggestions on ways to pay him) is a suitably thorough collection of all the things you always wanted to know about typography but were afraid to ask. The 'Typography in ten minutes' opening chapter is as good a typographical primer as you'll find anywhere, and from there it goes on to cover pretty much everything with the right mix of detail and clear language.

This is an updated version of an article that previously appeared on Creative Bloq.

Words: Sam Hampton-Smith

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