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Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty

David Kadavy · 177 HN points · 23 HN comments
HN Books has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention "Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty" by David Kadavy.
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Amazon Summary
The smash hit web design book that debuted at #18 on Amazon. Web design isn't just about knowing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. When it comes to web design for developers or web design for programmers, you need to know design principles to make beautiful and engaging interfaces. Hackers are able to accomplish so much in so little time because they come from a community that's built upon sharing knowledge. When it comes to programming, they can learn whatever they need to learn by reading manuals, or simply typing in a Google search. But learning design isn't so simple. Many design books try to teach design through lists of "do's" and "don'ts." But hackers know you need a deeper understanding of something to really do it well. Design for Hackers takes apart design by "reverse-engineering" Impressionist painting, Renaissance sculpture, the Mac OS X Aqua interface, Twitter's web interface, and much more. You'll learn about color theory, typography, proportions, and design principles. This theoretical advice is mixed with concrete, actionable advice such as suggestions for color scheme tools, and a chart of "all of the fonts you'll ever need." Whether you're doing interaction design, user interface design, user experience design, iOS/Android mobile design, or good old-fashioned "web design," by the end of the book, you'll be seeing design through new eyes.
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
I was in your boat about five or six years ago. Programming was fine, CSS was kinda-not-really ok, and design was just non-existent. Over time though, it really is something you can learn.

I started by cloning designs in CSS that I liked. Same way I write programs just to learn. Pick a design and try to reproduce it. (Here's a good simple one that could probably be finished in a single sitting. [1]) Eventually I was able to clone an entire website while only referencing the internet for CSS details, not core concepts. It'll take time just like learning any language, but the theory behind CSS does make sense if you can peel back the layers of features built on top of it. (Like Git, the core model is beautiful - the CLI not so much.) Reading about the "cascade" part of "cascading style sheets" would be a good place to start if you get the basic syntax already. Then study the selector operators. All of them, there aren't that many.

Then read books on design. Info about CSS the language is readily available online. Info about design, not as much. Design for Hackers [2] is targeted at programmers and explains not just the what but also the why certain designs work. The way our brains interpret color and how that causes certain colors to work well together. How people process information and how to leverage that to make designs that "make sense." Visual Grammar [3] is a design reference book I refer to. It's like a SQL reference book - won't teach you the language (of design) but explains the options you have and when they could be useful. Things like "these types of alignments will produce this type of result."

Just remember that it takes time to learn a skill. And design is definitely that - a skill that can be learned.

[1] https://assets.awwwards.com/awards/images/2016/04/uxpin-teas... [2] https://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Be... [3] https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/visual-grammar-christian-le...

maroonblazer
I'll toss another design resource into the mix that I don't think gets mentioned enough: John McWade's "Before & After" magazine and videos. His focus isn't exclusively web but the principles he applies also apply to the Web. He does a fantastic job of training one to develop the eye of a designer. E.g. noticing certain patterns that aren't immediately apparent and then working with those to bring out a certain aesthetic.

I can't recommend him highly enough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ3NJGJY_F4

As a hacker with no design background, reading Design for Hackers [1] was life changing. I finally understood that design is just a set of rules and that really modelled well on my engineering mindset.

Add to that frameworks such as Bootstrap CSS and opinionated website builders such as Weebly and I finally overcame a major limitation in my skillset. I could now actually build what I wanted to build, knowing that it looks decent and I can focus on what is under the hood.

If the web all looks the same, it is probably because it is built by people like me who need a rigid framework to work within.

[1] https://www.amazon.co.uk/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-...

Its honestly not that hard to get to the novice level at design and be able to have conversations with experts in the field. Like other things in its basics you're learning vocabulary and the rudimentary understanding of "why" certain patterns are used. If you're not looking at doing the design yourself you can bootstrap this up inside of a year.

I found https://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Be... to be a good basic overview of a lot of elements.

"Design for Hackers" from David Kadavy is a really great introduction to design for programmers.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1119998956

I found Design for Hackers helped make my work less vomit inducing, but I'd suggest that it's really mindfulness of what you're building (rather than just flinging interface at a screen) that'll get you over the first hump, and almost any book will suffice.

https://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Be...

Design for Hackers is a pretty good book - https://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Be...

Meanwhile https://www.designernews.co is Hackernews for designers

I picked up Design for hackers[0] a few years ago. It goes over color/fonts and other design patterns. It's been pretty useful for projects I've done. It goes over when to use certain colors (ie, target uses red because you'll buy more.) and some color pallets that work well together. I got it because I didn't want to learn full color theory and whatnot, just the basics.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

Sep 19, 2015 · rankam on Statistics for Hackers
In my opinion, the "for hackers" title is in reference to multiple books that have been released with the "X for hackers" that targets people with hacking skills but do not have a formal background in X.

Machine Learning for Hackers http://www.amazon.co.uk/Machine-Learning-Hackers-Drew-Conway...

Design for Hackers http://www.amazon.co.uk/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-B...

Bayesian Methods for Hackers http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bayesian-Methods-Hackers-Probabilist...

EDIT: I'm not the author, but you can find Bayesian Methods for Hackers (free, released by the author) at the link below. I think it's a great resource for anyone wanting to explore Bayesian methods using Python.

https://github.com/CamDavidsonPilon/Probabilistic-Programmin...

Sep 21, 2014 · adamnemecek on Design for programmers
This book is pretty good http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

Also, the other day I came across this pretty exhaustive blog post https://medium.com/@karenxcheng/how-to-get-a-job-as-a-design...

jlmendezbonini
Kadavy's book is great. I also highly recommend it.

I'm of the analytical type of people and his book does a great job explaining fundamental design concepts in a very logical way.

There's a book, Design for Hackers: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-B...

The author also produced a free 12 week email course: http://designforhackers.com/

sarhus
It was a book with a good design, although it didn't help me learn much about design. The references were useful, but I would have liked to be a step-by-step guide (similar to Drawing on the right side of the brain, but for design) instead of a showcase of 'good' design and some side note tips.
kadavy
First of all, thanks for the mention! (I wrote Design for Hackers).

I'll just elaborate so OP and everyone else can get an idea of how I approach things when teaching design.

My goal with the book was to "reverse engineer" everything that comes together to make a good design. In my eyes, the factors of design are always the same (purpose, technology, culture), it's just a matter of understanding how they work together.

OP mentions whitespace/margins. I'm such a white space fiend, I did a whole hour-long talk at SXSW entirely about white space. So, definitely my book talks about that. You can get much better at design very quickly if you forget about everything else (fonts, colors, ornamentation) and just concentrate on white space first.

I also do cover color schemes, and how to build them. If you want an understanding of how I approach color check out the article I wrote "Why Monet Never Used Black"[1].

I also write about font sizes & geometry in design. If you want a sampling of those particular thoughts, Lifehacker picked up one of my tips on the font sizes I always use on projects[2].

Of course, there's also my free email course that creature mentioned.

Hope this helps!

1. http://kadavy.net/blog/posts/d4h-color-theory/

2. http://lifehacker.com/stick-to-these-font-sizes-to-simplify-...

You can try out http://hackdesign.org/ or read Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty[1]. There are plenty of other sources out there, but these are a good start.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

I'm in the same place you are, and this book is helping me out: Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty[1].

I'm mostly interesting in typography and color and this is a great read that covers all that and more.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

kadavy
Hey, thanks for mentioning "Design for Hackers" (I wrote it!)

If anyone is looking for something beyond just the Kindle sample, there are some links to sample stuff at http://designforhackers.com

I'm in the same boat. I'm not very good but I'm starting to get better at design. Here are some tips, which might be useful. None of these are affiliate links and I'm not associated with any of them, if that matters.

- It's cliche, but read "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman [1]. It gives you a good sense of design's place in the greater world. The best design principles are as at home in a product development firm as they are in the software world.

- I own "Design for Hackers" by David Kadavy and I think it's pretty good. The content may or may not be "obvious" depending on your skill level, but he phrases things in a way that is understandable and reassuring to the engineering set. [2]

- There's a guy on HN (Jarrod Drysdale) who produced an eBook called "Bootstrapping Design". I haven't pulled the trigger on a purchase yet, but I need to. I've read his sample chapter and am subscribed to his newsletter and I think he's an excellent coach. [3]

- I keep a bookmark folder called "design inspiration" and when I find really cool sites or apps I save them here. You might also want to keep a clipping diary or something where you can keep notes for yourself about what you like and don't like about certain things.

- There's nothing wrong with imitation, within reason. EVERYONE stands on the shoulders of giants and the guy who designed that awesome site or app probably started by shamelessly copying existing stuff. In fact, I recommend that you spend some time trying to EXACTLY copy things you like. You'll start to get a feel for how to accomplish certain affects and, in general, you'll get design a little more "in the fingers".

- http://ux.stackexchange.com/

- Have a project. Have a project. HAVE A PROJECT. It's very difficult to just "learn design", just as it's very difficult to just "learn programming". Unless you're just a natural autodidact, you can read all the tutorials and books and whatever but, when it comes time to do something on your own, you'll just be sitting there staring at a blinking cursor (or an empty Photoshop document) unless you have some place to start.

I hope this all helps, and don't be afraid to share stuff on HN with us. There are plenty of folks who would love to give you positive criticism and feedback.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/d...

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

[3] http://bootstrappingdesign.com/

kadavy
Hey, thanks for mentioning "Design for Hackers" (I wrote it).

I'm a bit late to the thread, but if anyone wants to get a sampling of the approach that I take to explaining design check out some sample articles I linked to on http://designforhackers.com

I talk about design more abstractly than most, but I try to keep it entertaining. More than anything I want you to see differently.

I also occasionally send out emails. If you sign up on that site I already have some queued up for new subscribers.

Sacha Greif also sends out some good emails: http://sachagreif.com and of course there's http://hackdesign.org (I'll even be doing a lesson on there eventually)

ianstormtaylor
Really good advice. Having a project is by far the most important part.

Also if you don't have a feed reader already, get one. It's really useful to subscribe to a few feeds about any area you want to familiarize yourself with. And then every day you get a litte kick to keep your mind focused on that topic.

tvirot
Great advice! Exactly how I get better at design. It's actually really hard to exactly copy good design works. It made me start paying more attention to small little things, like space, font size, proportion, etc.
nicholjs
Amazing tips. Thanks a lot. And I can totally sympathize with having a project to learn. That's how I learned to code, and that's how I teach students. Good to hear that design can be done in the same philosophy.
tjbiddle
Great list of resources! My blog post today was actually addressing how my design skills are lacking so this couldn't be more relevant to me, thanks for the share!
QuantumGuy
http://hackdesign.org/ is what I am using
alfredbaudisch
Hack design is really awesome. It goes down from what is design, understanding design on everything we do, to typography and next on.
kingdm
Exactly what an advise is.
studiofellow
I'm Jarrod, the guy behind Bootstrapping Design. Sorry I'm late to this thread, and thank you for sharing the book!

There are a couple of other design ebooks worth a look:

Sacha Greif's Step By Step UI Design: http://sachagreif.com/ebook/

Nathan Barry's ebooks: http://nathanbarry.com/app-design-handbook/ http://nathanbarry.com/webapps/

If I can answer any questions, leave a comment here or send me an email: hello <at> bootstrappingdesign {dot} /com/

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
I'm just like you in that I'm more of a hacker that has trouble figuring out how to make things look good. Try this book (I've read 3/4 of it--excellent book):

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

It was made just for people like us!

Design for Hackers by David Kadavy is really good - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1119998956/ref=as_li_qf_sp_...
You might also check out "Design for Hackers"[1] by David Kadavy.

[1] - http://www.amazon.com/dp/1119998956

Dec 22, 2011 · rigatoni1 on Design for a developer?
Try out this book: http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

I went to one his book tour events and it was quite insightful!

Oct 12, 2011 · 3 points, 0 comments · submitted by kadavy
Sep 14, 2011 · 174 points, 62 comments · submitted by tsycho
BasDirks
I was very fond of the idea that hackers cannot do design, because I am primarily a designer. It's good to feel special and look down on an otherwise very competent group of people. But if it were true it would mean I couldn't be both an awesome hacker AND an awesome designer, so after a while I rejected the idea entirely.

It doesn't hurt even for the amazing embedded system programmer to learn about design. If anyone tells you that those skills are mutually exclusive, turn 180 degrees and start running.

If you lack the eye for design, the strategy I would recommend to develop some sort of proficiency is to "harvest" materials and ideas (good fonts, well-proven rules about proportion, color palets etc). Treat it as a repo, throwing stuff out and putting new stuff in. Ask feedback from designers on your choices, and try art. Really, try art. The whole art vs design debate is for decadent old men, but just exercise your creativity in different ways.

erikpukinskis
I'm a designer at heart and studied design in school, although I love to build things.

There are kinds of design that require an "eye"... graphic design is the prime example. I'm not very good at these, because they don't interest me much.

I am much more interested in what might be called "future" design¹... making interventions that will shape the direction of a certain future. Certainly graphic design at its best does this while being beautiful. But from my perspective, graphic design is only one tool of many in the toolchest of the Future Designer.

Writing code, talking to people, putting on performances, building physical spaces, creating plans for neighborhoods, making sales, attending city council meetings.... all of these are indispensible tools for the Future Designer, and these activities all mesh well with the "hacker" mindset. In a real sense, this form of design is about hacking the trajectory of a neighborhood, or a person, or a city, or some other niche.

And yes, many great artists absolutely qualify as future designers. Banksy surely does. And many graphic designers: see James Victore². And many technologists too: Mark Zuckerberg surely does. The Kickstarter team surely does.

I'm embarrassed that this list doesn't contain any women or people of color. Maybe it's because I'm trying to find examples that would be convincing to the audience of hacker/designers on Hacker News. Certainly Joycelyn Elders has the stature of all of those men. As does Audre Lorde. As does Pat Summit. As do the Dixie Chicks. As do many more.

In some sense there are no specific technical skill requirements for you to be a great designer (as in: good eye, programming skills, etc). You do, however, need to know what your technical skills are. If you don't have a great eye, and the future you're designing requires a beautifully and powerfully presented image, then you need to find a graphic designer who does. Recognizing that makes you a great designer.

Because in the end great design isn't about the practice of any specific craft. It is about outcomes.

¹ with a nod to Eli Blevis: http://dspace.kaist.ac.kr/bitstream/10203/5536/1/DRS-WonderG...

² http://youtu.be/X3pXEdvI9xA

coderdude
"Hacker" has the gone the way of "geek" and "begs the question." Diluted to the point of having no meaning whatsoever. I'm pretty sure that in fewer than 5 years "hacker" will mean what "geek" means today, which is anyone with a cell phone or who has ever played Mario Bros.

I read TechCrunch, I'm a hacker I'm a hacker!

-----

Edit: I'll consolidate my responses into one post to keep the attack surface small and reply from here.

@dsmithn: The word 'hacker' hasn't been redefined. There isn't a governing body of words that decided one day to change what hacker means. It just changed with some people using it differently because they thought it made them sound cooler. Then other people wanted to sound cooler. Now everyone is cooler. At this point auto mechanics are hackers.

@budu: Excellent work, you've proven my point quite nicely. Thank you. And I don't worry about the down-voting. I saved up enough imaginary points so that I don't have to worry about nerd rage. My comment is just off-topic.

budu
HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n. 1. A person who enjoys learning the details of programming systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically, or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value (q.v.). 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. Not everything a hacker produces is a hack. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; example: "A SAIL hacker". (Definitions 1 to 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. A malicious or inquisitive meddler who tries to discover information by poking around. Hence "password hacker", "network hacker". -- The Original Hacker's Dictionary

Edit: I didn't downvoted you, I think people were a bit unfair, but I wanted to point that the word hacker already had a variety of meanings even 30 years ago.

technomancy
> I wanted to point that the word hacker already had a variety of meanings even 30 years ago.

I agree with this, but the snippet from the book suggests it's the other way around--that "hacker" used to mean criminal and has only now begun to mean positive things.

dsmithn
From the description: "The term 'hacker' has been redefined to consist of anyone who has an insatiable curiosity as to how things work—and how they can try to make them better. This book is aimed at hackers of all skill levels..."

It's pretty clear what he means by "Hacker" and why he used it.

ezy
Big Question: will the Kindle version render decently? The preview, with no pictures, doesn't give me any hope.
misterbwong
+1 to this. I've been doing all of my reading on the IPad so an electronic version with the book formatting intact would be awesome. The version shown in the kindle preview just doesn't seem as "nice"
ca98am79
Looks like it's not available for kindle delivery until Oct 6
jeffmcneill
The fact that the Kindle version is embargoed for a month is one of the most retarded publisher moves I've seen. That and the ridiculous pricing. There are no excuses for this, and illustrates yet again why these dinosaur publishers are going to be extinct in a few decades.
bergie
I've been reading Design for Hackers today, so doesn't look like that. Though sometimes Amazon (or publishers) seem to delay kindle book availability in some regions. Really annoying when Amazon first recommends a book to you, and then tells you that it isn't available when you try to buy.
kadavy
I personally haven't seen it on the Kindle, and consuming it that way sounds painful (there are so many illustrations). But, some seem to think it looks good on Kindle Cloudreader http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2997007

(I am the author)

danmaz74
As you are the author, may I ask you how is it possible that the kindle edition costs MORE than the paperback one, without any printing, storage and distribution costs? That's something that has always baffled (and sometimes angered) me.
davidw
Because that's what people are willing to pay for it.

In this case though, the Kindle version is fairly expensive compared to most other Kindle books. Between the high cost and the fact that on the Kindle itself, you won't get it in color, and would have a small screen size, I think I'll pass, or get the paper edition. Sure, there's Kindle for PC or the web thing, but... the paper edition is likely going to be laid out in a 'beautiful' way.

ig1
Amazon have no control over ebook pricing, it's set purely by the publisher.

For physical books Amazon buys them from the publisher and resells them at whatever price they want (including at a loss), hence they often discount physical books from the cover price.

With ebooks Amazon uses the agency model where they just get a fixed percentage and can't change the book price. The Economist did a series of articles about ebooks last week where it discussed how publishers took this approach to stop what happened in the music industry where Apple essentially changed everyones expectation of how much they should expect to pay for music.

Here's Amazon's article about it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/forum/kindle/TxDO7PSRZ3YTZD

acangiano
I'm not the author, but I'll give you an answer that may justify this crazy pricing scheme.

Amazon takes a 70% commission on Kindle books priced above $9.99 or sold outside of selected countries (e.g., USA, UK, etc). They "only" take 35% for books sold in such countries AND priced below $9.99.

You may think that $22.79 is a magical number they pulled out of their asses. But multiply $22.79 * 30% and you get $6.84.

If they priced it $9.99, they'd get $9.99 * 65% which is $6.49. So less royalties for the publisher.

Now... at $9.99 the book would certainly sell more copies. However, if you consider all the copies sold outside of the selected territories will have 35% royalty regardless of how low the price is, and the fact that a $9.99 ebook cannibalize your $25-35 physical book sales, the option of pricing your Kindle $20+ no longer sounds crazy.

Some publishers outright opt out of this race (e.g., Pragmatic Programmers).

I love Amazon, but they are literally gouging authors and publishers. They should have a flat 30% rate, Apple-style, and let the market decide at what price they'll buy books. Alternatively, keep the flat rate and place a cap on the price of the e-books sold through the Kindle platform (e.g., $10 for fiction, $30 for non-fiction).

davidw
You think foreign sales are that strong that they'd jack the price up that much and be profitable at it?

Also, I thought that Amazon actually lost some battles with the publishers, in terms of being able to set the prices they wanted, rather than what the publishers wanted.

Your 35% and 70% rates are certainly those that apply to the KDP - but do they apply to publishers like Wiley as well? They presumably have more bargaining power than someone self-publishing.

sudonim
Really interesting explanation.

I bought 2 books today.

The Lean Startup - (Kindle edition) $12.99

Design for Hackers - (Dead tree edition) $25.32

1.) It's surprising to me that The Lean Startup is priced at 12.99 if they give amazon 70% of the royalties. Seems like they should have priced it at 9.99.

2.) Design for Hackers is a book where illustrations matter. Paying for the dead tree version is better. At only a few bucks off the dead tree version, the Kindle version doesn't seem fairly priced considering the degraded reading experience.

acangiano
It is possible that Crown Business (Random House) has a better royalty arrangement in place with Amazon. For all we known, even Wiley could have one and it's just pricing the book as if they didn't.
kadavy
Thanks for that explanation! Now I understand better why I don't get a larger cut for ebooks. I guess since Amazon commands the distribution, they can command a larger portion of the sale price.

(I am the author of Design for Hackers)

danmaz74
Thanks, I had no idea about this crazy scheme. Now at least I know that it is Amazon to blame, not the authors and not even their publishers (which were my first suspects).
kalid
Great explanation. The pricing for an upcoming Kindle version of a PDF ebook is something I'm struggling with. My current thinking:

Kindle version: ~$10

PDF ebook + Kindle version + supplements (sold from my site): ~$24

The Kindle version is great for portability, but doesn't have the clean formatting, etc. you get from the PDF. I'm considering offering a coupon to Kindle users to get a discount for the "deluxe" version (essentially, less the cost of the Kindle version).

All this because Amazon has forementioned crazy royalty scheme.

misterbwong
You were probably rounding up in your post but if not, shouldn't you price the kindle version at $9.99? It seems if you add the extra $0.01, you'd make $3 vs. charging $9.99 and making $6.99. Wouldn't want you getting screwed by Amazon's strange publishing terms.
kalid
Yep, I meant 9.99, thanks.
aresant
Don't miss out on the hacker spirit of David getting this book published chronicled in his blog eg

http://www.kadavy.net/blog/posts/d4h-the-book/

All instructive reading in bending a system to work for you, getting things done, and building a business.

PS - Congrats David, I'll take the fact that Amazon went from "19 in stock" to "13 in stock" in the time it took me to order as a good sign :)

dsmithn
Interesting - there are already 3 used books for sale. All slightly more expensive than the one from Amazon.
elemeno
That's bots I think - there are companies who'll happily try and arbitrage Amazon vs You.
kadavy
Thanks! But CRAP! Don't want them to run out.
ibejoeb
For those interested, David Kadavy is doing a GrubWithUs meal in NYC on the 23rd. Come join. It'd be fun to have a few HNers there.

http://www.grubwithus.com/restaurants/rubirosa-manhattan/mea...

senjamin
Genius - book tours over meals? I'm there.
DenisM
I'd rather buy a PDF version. The problem with paper is that it takes space and is an instance of "stuff" when I'm not reading it. Kindle version is likely poorly formatted, I just can't trust that. A PDF on an iPad would be just great.

Food for thought.

Omnipresent
Has anyone given this book a try? As a developer with no design mind I could benefit from a designer book targeted primarily for developers/hackers.

On a sidenote, what is a good place to meet designers as cofounders for a startup? I have a circle of friends who are primarily developers so I don't know of places where I could go and chit chat with designers.

andyangelos
Have not tried the book (waiting on my copy) but if your city has a refresh meetup - you should start there. This is the local chapter in Chicago http://www.meetup.com/Refresh-Chicago/ - well attended and interesting speakers.
Omnipresent
I'm in DC and there is a Refresh meetup in rockville. I might join.
frankdenbow
You can try http://elegant.ly/ or design conferences
sachinag
There's a ton on his blog that gives you a sense for it. David actually can code - he's self taught, with his formal training coming as a designer - so he's a magical unicorn who can write. (That is to say, right up your alley.)
estel
Link for the UK store: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-B...
kariatx
I haven't gotten my hands on this book yet, but his talk was probably the best thing I saw at SXSW this year. I personally find design to be a hard nut to crack, but the way he thinks is appealing to my very logic-y brain.
dsmithn
Blog post: http://www.kadavy.net/blog/posts/design-for-hackers-the-book...
orky56
I've been waiting for this book since now we're closer to having hackers and designers speak a common language where each group can now truly appreciate each other's profession and discipline. Discussions will be more productive and a better user experience will happen. Also, it will further legitimize the designer/hacker and allow for leaner startups.

Hope this is just the beginning!

rapind
Does anyone have links to designs he's responsible for? Whether or not he's an amazing writer I'd still like to check out the products / portfolio it's based upon before I buy it.
iamjustlooking
http://www.kadavy.net/portfolio/ looks like it.
rapind
Thanks. I ended up on some other portfolio-ish page that listed things he's hosting on other platforms etc. that really didn't showcase his design work.
arkitaip
Sounds a lot like the much praised Non-Designer's Design Book http://www.amazon.com/dp/0321534042/
swah
Stuff like this, I hope they can always have on dead-tree format. No way this can feel right on the Kindle.
richcollins
Cover isn't well designed ...
rorrr
Warning: negativity ahead.

If you want to learn design, why don't you read something from a real designer, not Kadavy. I mean, look at his personal website, it has the shittiest design. Even his book cover has a crappy design (WTF is this horrible grey gradient with meaningless letters on the background?).

If you want to quickly learn the design, read about composition, color and how it works with other colors, go browse something like

http://webcreme.com/

http://designawardsgallery.com/

If you really want to learn how to design, go take drawing and painting classes, anybody can learn how to draw in 3-4 months, if you do it every day. Go to your local bookstore and browse endless books of art (not "how to" books though) - painters, photographers, illustrators.

groovy2shoes
And here I thought I was the only one. Not to be demeaning to Kadavy--I think it's good that hackers can get design tips in a language that they speak--but every time I try to read one of his articles, I'm instantly put off by the design of his site. I hope that people can glean some good stuff from him, but from what I've seen, he's not exactly a design guru.
Hrothgar15
The notion that design can be "hacked" is unfathomable to me, really. I can't think of a less hack-oriented profession.
stevelosh
From what I gather the book isn't about

"how to apply 'hacking' to design"

but rather

"explaining design to people that have the 'hacker' mindset in such a way that it's easier for them to understand".

nazar
If I said I want to read this book because I am a coder with bad graphical taste and all, but I can't buy it because damn we don't even have proper creditcards in our country, would anyone consider leaking the pdf version for free? Secretely, just for those guys like us who are physically unable to purchase stuff online. :)
nazar
I guess nobody ever has downloaded a pirated song from thepiratebay after this massive downvoting.
mileszs
It's easier to pirate music from a seemingly larger-than-life band than it is to pirate a book from a man who you (I, some of us?) watched grow the idea from a few blog posts a year ago. Perhaps I've got the narrative all wrong, but from my point of view, Mr. Kadavy made a couple really well-done blog posts covering "Design for Hackers", they became fairly popular on HN, he responded to comments on HN, got support for his book idea on HN, and made it happen.

Perhaps a better analogy is this: Yeah, I might pirate a Metallica song, but I'm not pirating the first album of that indie band I heard when I was passing through Louisville earlier this summer.

nazar
Thats kinda reminds me of robin hood. Stealing from Bill Gates or some poor guy still makes you a thief, so your statement doesn't make sense to me.
mileszs
Yours is the logical truth. Humans aren't always so logical. When emotions enter in to the equation, what I stated tends to be the case.
kadavy
Thanks! You do have the narrative correct – this has happened very organically, and today's success is a huge surprise!

I'm glad the community has my financial interests in mind. After all, the better this book does, the more I can dedicate myself to teaching design.

Still, I sympathize with OP, as he appears to be in Turkmenistan. Hopefully there is some legit way for him to get a copy. I'm looking into it.

(I am the author)

nazar
Thank you for your understanding! People think I am trying to free-ride over here, but they miss the fact that I can't even download pirated song of metallica because internet is damn expensive in here and buying the original CD probably will cost less. Anyways, I shouldn't have written that, I am sorry, for I didn't know how you came up with this!
angrycoder
You would have probably been really surprised at the response if you had explained your situation and asked if there was an alternate way to obtain a PDF of the book.
kadavy
Agreed, he's in Turkmenistan! Checking with my publisher to see what his options are. (I'm the author)
antileet
Hi,

I'm from India. I can't get the book shipped here without incurring large delay and shipping costs.

I would be happy to pay full price for a PDF and instant delivery. I'm sure there are more like me

kadavy
I'm the author of this book, and I am blown away that it currently ranks #36 on all of Amazon[1], right behind the very deserving Eric Ries, who is also launching today.

Thank you so much to the entire HN community for everything. I can't even list the number of ways you have helped me, and you certainly have come through today. Thank you.

UPDATE: It's now at #22[2]. Right by Tim Ferriss. OMFG. Thank you for buying the shit out of my book today, HN.

UPDATE 2: It's now at #18[3], which puts it on the first page of best-sellers (where more randoms will see it). This is huge!

[1] https://skitch.com/kadavy/f3bw8/reis-and-kadavy [2] https://skitch.com/kadavy/f3net/22-w-tim-ferriss [3] https://skitch.com/kadavy/f3nae/number-18

symptic
Great work David. Proud of ya'. :)
not out yet, but i like the approach of this book (i got some good tips from the mailing list)

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

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