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Design Tips Every Developer Should Know (teamtreehouse.com)
97 points by nickpettit on Dec 26, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments

The Non-Designer's Design Book has been a great help to me. I bought copies for my employees because it was easy to read and showed practical examples of how a few basic principals can radically improve your designs.


I smell referral codes :P Nevertheless, thank you for this valuable resource :)

Does Amazon auto add referral codes if you're logged in? I just popped over to their site, searched for the book and copied the URL. I won't turn away a commission but it wasn't intentional.

I actually think '5 Development Tips Every Designer Should Know' would be more useful. This is because a designer these days probably has to play with CSS and HTML, if not jQuery too.

A developer won't be handling the design themselves, but a designer might well be contributing some code on the front-end. And it's sometimes the case that such code isn't well (or consistently) formatted, or is too complicated, as writing code isn't the primary aspect of their job.

It's like poorly organised PSDs. You might be totally fine littering your file with spurious layers, bad names, and inconsistent groupings. The person you might share it with won't feel the same way, and it'll compel them to waste time figuring it out and possibly spend more time making it sane.

But for personal projects where a developer might want their own site, the advice here is good.

How many "Why everyone should learn to code" articles show up on Hacker News? The same idea applies to design thinking. It will make you more powerful. User centered problem solving methodologies and visual communication abilities will help you with much more than side projects you can't pay someone to skin.

I don't think these are about learning to code or design. They're about learning to care or take pride in all aspects of the work you do.

Sane organisation, attention to detail, and knowing what looks good and bad all come under this, I think.

agreed. first tip that comes to mind is to organize your css for easy maintenance. There's plenty of times I've gotten css and html that is a mess but somehow looks ok in ie6.

Tip #2, give up on pixel perfect designs

Thanks for the response. That sounds like an awesome idea for a follow up post.

Developers looking to increase their design vocabulary and skillset outside of top five lists may find this introductory book beneficial:


Great designers are undervalued. If there was more of a push for entrepreneurs/founders to learn design 10 years ago, maybe Google and Facebook wouldn't have their design flaws.

For point 1, I would call that the use of white space rather than negative space.

Well they do say:

    In the domain of fine art, the area between elements is called negative space, 
    although in other areas of design it’s often referred to as “white space.”

I would check out design for hackers by @kadavy http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea... He talks a lot about white space

It's negative space.

If your audience is developers, they understand 'whitespace'. 'Negative space' is an ambiguous term that can mean a few things to developers.

Brilliant article. The VanGogh painting example was classic. Keep it up guys!

Good , but design is about culture and practice , like code is about process and practice. Want to be a designer ? get a generic art history knowledge , learn to use a paper and a pen, and just practice.

So is design. If you keep just practicing, you won't improve (significantly). If you practice, seek for constructive feedback from peers, and keep reading (theory of colors, etc) - you will improve a lot. Just like in any other area. No need to undermine the efforts that takes to become a good designer.

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