Designers are currently faced with a dilemma – should we learn to code? Coding for designers is a jump equivalent to creativity for accountants. Endless pages of writing in an alien language, a single space in the wrong place can lead to hours of frustration. It makes pixel-perfect design in Illustrator look like a perfect system. However learning to code is incredibly enabling for designers, it allows us to design experiences and systems instead of just static graphics. There’s a large demand in industry at the moment for front-end developers that know their way around typography and layout. User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design are amongst the fastest growing fields in the creative sector. Even if you don’t end up working in code, a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is fast becoming a must-have in the jobs market. It allows designers to interact confidently with developers.

I started trying to learn to code around 5 years ago with endless hours of lynda.com tutorials and a pukka pad. I’m sure lots of people can learn like this but nothing went in for me, it just didn’t click. It’s only when I came across a couple of great books last year that it finally began to slot together.

Here’s how to keep up with the kids – I’ve linked everything to the corresponding Amazon page.

Coding for designers – Book 1 – HTML and CSS by Jon Duckett

This excellent book takes you through the basics of HTML and CSS. It’s laid out in a very visual way with great infographics and very designer friendly language. It’s enjoyable and interesting enough to read like a normal book and a great reference when you’ve finished with it.

Learn to code reading list book 1 – HTML & CSS: Design and Build Web Sites

Coding for designers – Book 2 – Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3

This book is a great place to start once you have finished the first. It leads on very naturally, introducing you to the principle of responsive design and the wonders of HTML5 and CSS3. Again, it’s very readable, not quite as strong layout wise but everything’s still extremely clear.

Learn to code reading list book 2 –  Responsive Web Design with Html5 and Css3

Coding for designers – Book 3 – Javascript and JQuery

This is what I’m currently working through. It’s laid out in the same style as the HTML and CSS book by Jon Duckett and is just as enjoyable to get through. It is definitely a step up from the other two in terms of difficulty – you’ll be rereading a few of the pages (I’ve definitely had to). The book seems to really cover the fundamentals providing a solid foundation to delve into languages like processing.js and node.js.

Learn to code reading list book 3 –  JavaScript & JQuery: Interactive Front-end Web Development