Review & Giveaway: The Smashing Book #2

Review & Giveaway: The Smashing Book #2

Don't go anywhere!!! There's a super fantastic book giveaway after our feature presentation!


Just holding this book makes me go, "ahhh..."

Everyone is raving about the quality of book #2 compared to book #1 (or published media in general). I don't blame them. I almost didn't mention it, because everyone else has, but that was ALSO my initial thought upon receiving my copy of the book. Straight from the box, I instinctively noticed these things in this order:

First, I noticed that I can plop it in my purse, no problem (and I don't carry an overly-large purse!). It's not too heavy or too many square/cubic inches. That's important, because I dread getting a great book, but eyeballing how thick it is sometimes hurts as I rarely have time for reading real books. My arms aren't going to fall off trying to hold it up while I'm laying in bed reading it.

Second, most definitely the quality. Smashing Magazine did not skimp on getting this little ditty published. Quality, stitch-bound, hard cover and hefty pages that produce sharp graphics. It's a nice tight number that you'll probably keep on your desk or prop on a shelf just because it's so pretty.

Third, artwork and graphics, amazing! They seriously couldn't go wrong with using Yiying Lu (yes, forever known as the creator of the famous Fail Whale from But seriously, who can resist that kind of work, I know my three year old can't! What three year old do you know peruses a web and graphic design book with focus and interest? I will admit mine has a great attention span, but still... I'm caught flipping through the pages simply studying the chapter artwork. I have to laugh at myself.

Fourth and last, the cutest little ribbon bookmark comes attached. What a nice little touch! I bet this is the most talked about ribbon bookmark in the history of books. I suppose I will not be lazily dog-earing my new book.

So hands down on the book construction and makeup. Smashing you get a full applause in that area (I think everyone else would agree, no?)!

My thoughts from reading & perusing...

Chapters include:

  1. #1 The Principles of Great Graphic Deisign
  2. #2 Visible vs. Invisible Design
  3. #3 Designing Mobile User Experiences
  4. #4 Sketching, Wireframing and Prototyping
  5. #5 Red Flags (Warning Signs) in Web Development
  6. #6 The Future of Web Typeography
  7. #7 Applying Game Design Principles to User Experience Design
  8. #8 When they Click: Psychology of Web Design and User Behavior
  9. #9 Design Patterns in e-Commerce Websites (Study)
  10. #10 How to Make a Book (Like this One)


I realize that you can make something look pretty dang great, but fill it with garbage. Not in this case. I might be a bit bias because I am a HUGE fan of Smashing Magazine and the fantastic information they continue to provide to the design and web communities.... I will note, however, that the previous Smashing Book #1 seemed somewhat of a letdown to a "few" folks, which has become more prevailiant with Book #2 being such a positive hit and maybe with more of a comeback in the comparisons being made.

My primary area is Design. Both in print and web. And I will openly admit, I'm not ever going to be in the one of the top designers of the world because of this and that - so a book like this is absolutely PERFECT for me. I think anyone who wants a nice review, more insight

What I enjoyed in the first chapter was the correlation between the two, how different and yet similar they are.

"It stands to reason, then, that the process of design involves making deliberate and appropriate graphical choices in order to best communicate the intended message. This applies as much to designing for the Web as it does to designing for print." - excerpt, page 15

What I most enjoyed about this chapter was it's focus on using design effectively and timelessly. When I was reading through the pages of Timeless Thinking - which included talk about simplicity, adding too much gaudy junk (aka ornaments), minimalism, contrast, space and tension... it really brought me back to the basics in art school and working with drawing techniques. Sometimes I feel that I start a project over-designing and after I get that part about needing to impress the client out of my system and go minimal, it never fails to be the winning pick - this chapter was a kick in the pants refresher.

Then I read on to variations of  Type and its effectiveness as well as the role it plays. Overall, a golden chapter to set your path a little straighter or teach you a few things.

"While a good graphic designer works to create an attractive design for the client, a great graphic designer pushes further, striving to understand the  crux of the project's objective. The great designer builds on the various concepts ..." - excerpt, page 44

My other favorite, is chapter 7: Applying Game Design Principles to User Experience Design. What I most enjoyed was the play off of understanding the correlation between the two to make an easier way to think about UX Design. My favorite part starting with the section, The Name of the Game which goes through each of the five key attributes of the "game" of online interaction. It became a fun way to think about UX Design.


In conclusion, I like that the end of each chapter will sum up with a number of useful resources, about the author, some history from that section and even a nice extra Reading List for more in-depth study on a subject if interested - actually, I would have liked more reading resources at the ends of more chapters. I thought that was very helpful and resourceful to place in one area, instead of having to dig back through my dog-eared and highlighted pages and notes to locate a good resource I just know I marked.

I do find that this book is something I will be keeping on my desk for some time to reference and re-reference when my mind is fogged or fighting to go a direction my gut knows I shouldn't.


Are you tired of hearing me blab blab blab about the book? Are you just dying to get your hands on your own copy? Well here's your chance, we have 3 copies in our giveaway!


Contest Rules are simple. This will be a random drawing of three lucky commenters who provide the following information in their comment:

Please provide what your specialty is be it Design Warlord, Freelance Web Designer or Couch Potato... but seriously, I would like to know what you do for money or fun in the relationship to wanting the book in your grubby little paws.

The contest will run from March 10th, 2011 through March 18th, 2011 - Winners will be announced the following week, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011. Winners will also be emailed via Love Notes on so make sure you turn your notifications ON for both in-site and email so that I can collect your address and get your prize out ASAP. Contest is for users only, so if you aren't a member, get signed up and get commenting!

update: Did I forget to mention you can of course buy the book here (at as well as preview a sample from the book and get other details. Pop on over and check it out!

But wait there's MORE! Apparently there was just too much good stuff to go to print, so Smashing Magazine is GIVING you a FREE eBOOK called The Lost Files (free eBook).


Results will be posted Tuesday, March 22nd (unless they magically appear on Monday the 21st. ;) Have a great weekend everyone!

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Showing 1 - 30 of 131 Comments
Well, I have more experience in web programming and data organisation. But I want to evolve in webdesign. I bought the first issue of the Smashing book and I found it was a good buy. So I am interested for reading the new one :)
I am responsible for the usability, interaction and design for an open source project. I love reading Smashing articles and books. They are full of insight and help me not wonder around looking for relevant content related to what I do. Would be great to have a copy of Smashing Book 2 :P
I am self employed, self sufficient freelance work machine from the planet Website Designville, Australia. I stole the first book when I was on Mars with Charlie Sheen from one of his girlfriends. I headed back to Planet Earth to get the second Smashing Magazine book... (-:
Well, I work (and have fun!) in both graphic design and web design. However, I prefer web design. Always looking to improve my skills and expand my outlook on ideas and concepts. Loving what the chapter headings are indicating what they are covering and would be excited to get my grubby little paws on a copy!
I'm a graphic designer and really wanting to see the new smashing book, with all its quality stuff in it! :)
I'm your worst enemy - a computer programmer who has agreed to do a chapter for a forthcoming book about marketing mobile apps - I need all the help I can get dudes!
I simply consider myself a designer with a multidisciplinar experience in many design fields: interaction design, visual and graphics, user experience design.

I'm cofounder and lead designer of a small web startup which aims to rock this year launching beautiful apps. Perhaps I need the new Smashing Magazine book to get that goal! :-)
I'm a handweaver. I weave cloth on looms. Yup. I'm always looking for "unlikely" color combinations.
I'm Luiz Gonzaga, a chilled out brazillian who likes to study design and sketch things here and there. I'm also an actor. :) So "to win or not to win" the book, that is the question!
I'm a web developer. Even though I'm more of a coding person I enjoy Smashing Magazine articles and am always interested in design part of web as-well. And this book looks awesome :)
My name is Danilo Brandão and I am almost graduating in... civil engineering! Wait, what??? Yes, I study civil engineering but I know my passions are design, drawing... visual arts in general. Sometimes I freelance some design stuff, mostly logo and character designs, but I'm also passioned about poster designs. Now, in my life, I am goind trough a moment of intense doubt: should I keep going as a civil engineer and freelance artist or should I become a full-time designer? Would this book help me decide? Maybe it's the life-changing kickstart I just needed... and there's only one way to find out. :D
I am a web developer, that needs a little more insight into web design to merge them blurry lines into one. I also do some freelance work which leans heavy on web design, and i need to streamline my workflow a little.. so the wire framing section in particular sounds great.

I'm a Implementation Manager and T-Shirt Lover. That's why I want to combine both and improve my pretty shitty website and make it more fancy while reading your book. I really need it to spread sushi shirts all over the world!

yours, notida
Hi, I am starting at web design. I like modern designs. I started learning to design from Smashing. I am learning techniques by trying to made a cool blog. All experience can help me with further works. I am doing it for fun. I love sitting and thinking about new ideas and making them work. After all is finished if the project went good I love to see how good it was. But... I still have lacks and need something like this book, that would help me improve my works - now 90% of them aren't shown online, because they are often crappy. HTML5 and CSS3 with good template are those things with whose I want make my blog. Fast, simple and good looking. As everybody knows - blogs are our portfolios, they are advertising us.
I'm a web designer/developer who *loves* Smashing Magazine:)! My husband is also a designer/developer and we have the first but not yet the second book. We could both use this!:)
Okay, I don't just want this book. I need this book. I'm a passionate brand builder, storyteller, creative director that was raised with magic markers, a blank sheet of paper, and the desire to influence someone's behavior in 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Then it was on to TV, this time I had 30 seconds. Now, years later I'm venturing into the unlimited world of the web, and feel, well, like I need some guidance. Okay, I'm totally lost. Smashing has lately been a constant source of inspiration, and this book will have a prominent place on my desk. Hey, if I win, will you autograph it?
I am in school for digital design, sucking up anything I can web-related in hopes of one day being the MOST perfect bridge between front and back-end web design!

I also have a special interest in feminism, agriculture, traveling and love :)
I am a student in Digital design and media. This book would be a great source for inspiration, full of hints and tricks to improve my work at school and freelance jobs. I mostly enjoy creating designs, for web and print. I create graphics for events, flyers...
While i am quite new to Smashing, i love it!
I am a Digital Media student. I started learning about HTML and the web as well as media assets creation (visual design, flash, 3D, etc...) But what i'm really into is actually social media.
This book would definitely come in handy and motivate me to design creative graphics and apps!!
I am a professor who also develops instructional websites, media assets for use in teaching etc. I'm also an artist in my spare time and love bold graphic elements.
I am an artist, would love the book for myself but really want to give this to my sister who is currently studying to become a graphic designer.
Great review! I would love to read through this book, plus the orange would look great as an accent on my desk.

I am currently a full time student and will be graduating December 2011 with a degree in Web Design and Development as well as Web and Mobile Application Development.
Thanks for the review, the book looks great. We could really do with this in our office.

I work as an account manager covering all aspects of SEO, web development and a touch of design here and there.
I'm a freelance web designer with an emphasis on designing for WordPress. I went to art school but ended up working in television and film for many years so I'm always looking for new resources to educate myself and inform my design work.
I am a high school business teacher. I cover so many aspects of this book in my classroom.. from product colors, to web design graphics, to font face... I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have a copy to share with the other teachers in the building too. Our Commercial Art, Digital Photography, Sports Marketing... ALL of them would love to use it. Thanks for showing this book off! Even if I don't get a free copy, I might just have to track a copy down. :)
I'm an in-house designer and entirely self taught. I read Smashing Magazine online and blogs through rss and have learned a ton! I'd love to have the book... For inspiration & help!
I'm currently working as a design consultant on the MSN team at Microsoft, but am also a freelance illustrator, digital designer and animator.

Smashing magazine is one of my top daily design sites I love to visit for inspiration and this book looks fantastic! Especially as I am also a fan of Yiying Lu's illustrations. So gorgeous :)
UX/web designer for a web app by day, freelance by night

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