Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

Sexy Web Design

Posted on 19 March 2009 46 comments

Article illustration for Sexy Web Design

So it’s official: I’ve written a book, it’s called Sexy Web Design, it’s published by SitePoint, and it’s out now! Before I get down to the details, I hope you’ll forgive me for providing some shameless ‘buy’ links:

SitePoint (international) / Amazon: UK, US, Canada, France, Japan *

What’s the book about?

When speaking to people about the book, I’ve been describing it as “a definitive guide to the successful web design process.” In other words, it covers everything from receiving a brief, responding to that brief, conducting basic research, creating sitemaps, creating wireframes, finding inspiration, designing with solid art and design principles in mind, working effectively with Photoshop (or your layout tool of choice), presenting ideas to clients, and getting ready to pass your files onto developers. Basically it covers everything up to the stage where you (or a third party) would actually start coding up the site.

For more information, check out the official SitePoint page for details.

Who’s it for?

As described above, this book focuses entirely on the design process (there’s virtually no code mentioned at all). As such, it’s well suited to web designers, but it’ll also be helpful for any developers who want to make their sites look nicer. There’s a fair bit of solid art / design theory in there so it serves as a good guide for either the beginner or the professional who wants to brush up on some basics.

Most importantly, I’ve crammed in absolutely loads of screenshots of beautiful websites. So even if you’re not bothered about delving into the specifics, I hope that it’ll be a nice source of inspiration for you to flick through on a rainy day.


At SXSW, after the web typography panel I participated in, we gave away a few copies of the book to the audience. If you got a copy of the book and you’re reading this, please let me know what you think! In fact, if you’d like to discuss anything in the book, please direct your questions and comments to the form below.


I hope you enjoy it, and I hope that it proves both useful and inspirational! Also, thanks to my friends Jina Bolton and Dan Rubin, who were the expert reviewers on the book (and Jina also wrote the preface), and Raena Jackson Armitage, my fantastic, inspirational, and patient technical editor. At some point in the near future, I’ll probably blog about the writing experience.

* Full disclosure: some of these links are referrer URLs, which means I’ll get a small financial kick-back when you buy the book from them. It’s at no extra cost to you, so if you’re going to buy the book, please consider using these links, as it’ll help me out!


  1. Kyle Meyer

    Kyle Meyer

    19 March 2009 @ 01:17AM #

    Just placed my order. Congratulations on your first book (of many I’m sure). ;)

  2. Chris Wallace

    Chris Wallace

    19 March 2009 @ 01:30AM #

    Very nice work. I’ll definitely have to pick up a copy. I wonder, is that why you got those fancy new photos? for the book cover? ;)

  3. Justin Delabar

    Justin Delabar

    19 March 2009 @ 01:55AM #

    Congrats on the first book, Elliot! Sounds like a terrific resource. I just pre-ordered from Amazon, can’t wait until it gets here.

  4. Kevin


    19 March 2009 @ 02:01AM #

    Nice going mate. How come you didn’t say anything at SxSW? Okay yeah I would have harassed you for a copy so good call. Anyway great to see you again and congratulations on the book.

  5. José Carlos

    José Carlos

    19 March 2009 @ 02:20AM #

    Ordered it this morning. Now just waiting.
    It’s always good to read something from a designer’s point of view.

    Best wishes for it.

  6. John Braine

    John Braine

    19 March 2009 @ 02:23AM #

    Sounds great. I’ll be buying a copy straight away. Seems you have filled a bit of a hole – I’ve looked for this kind of book before and not found one.

    I bought something called “What is web design” before but it was pretty bad. I don’t know who it was supposed to have been written for.


  7. pab


    19 March 2009 @ 02:32AM #

    Congrats Elliot, I just ordered a copy, looking forward to reading it.

  8. Greg Malkin

    Greg Malkin

    19 March 2009 @ 03:07AM #

    It seems that Amazon.co.uk have already sold out! Good work! :-)
    I’ll try Sitepoint now…

  9. Todd Austin

    Todd Austin

    19 March 2009 @ 03:12AM #

    Congratulations Elliot. Just purchased. I’ve been looking for books for my nephew who is just starting out. He’s in school, but always asks me for information on going from idea, to sketch, to design. This should be perfect for him.

  10. Scott Gledhill

    Scott Gledhill

    19 March 2009 @ 04:30AM #

    Congrats on the book mate! Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. You’re adding to the great new surplus of books out there on design process and inspiration.

  11. Raena


    19 March 2009 @ 06:47AM #

    Amazon UK should be getting a big box of stock soon.

    Congratulations Elliot, it’s a pleasure working with you. :D

  12. Gary


    19 March 2009 @ 07:42AM #

    I have quite a collection of SitePoint books, and bought this one immediately. Looking forward to receiving it.
    Having seen you speak, I’m assuming it’ll be a really good read. ;)

  13. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    19 March 2009 @ 01:04PM #

    Thanks everyone! It appears to be selling really well so an extra-huge thanks to everyone who’s bought the book. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

    By the way, there are some mentions scattered around Amazon of Jina being listed as the author. I believe this is being corrected as we speak…

    @ Kevin: I didn’t get the chance! Not until my panel, anyway… which you obviously didn’t attend! ;) Seriously, though: it was great seeing you again – if only there was more time!

    @ Greg Malkin: Sadly I don’t think Amazon UK have sold out; they just haven’t got any copies yet! ;) But as Raena said above, they’re on their way…

  14. Dan Donald

    Dan Donald

    19 March 2009 @ 04:45PM #

    Congrats Elliot! I’ll get more order placed right away ;)

  15. Robin Cannon

    Robin Cannon

    19 March 2009 @ 08:33PM #

    Looks excellent, have just ordered a copy. Really good to see something that focuses on design principles as relates to the web, without an excessive focus on code. It’s something I’ve talked about on my blog from time to time, the need to step away from the computer while developing designs.

    Far better to design first, rather than design while sitting there considering the technical limitations, because that will only limit your ideas.

    Very much looking forward to reading the book.

  16. Kevin


    19 March 2009 @ 09:20PM #

    No I made it but had to leave early. I was too cold hanging out in my cycling kit and everyone was knocking over my bike during the Q&A.

  17. Moira


    20 March 2009 @ 01:46AM #

    Am sitting in the middle of the night in africa so probably daytime wherever you are. I have searched for the kind of book you have written as all books talk about about programmes rather than using common sense. Had a breakdown so stopped designing for a few years now the web has changed and so much to learn but what I need most is what they would teach in a graphic design school.
    Am broke though.
    Not such a nice question to ask but I think you have the answers I need and tried to find a place to steal a copy as no money to buy. Is your book too new to be on bad website. Any idea where I can steal a copy.
    Sorry tired and sad so going to bed.

  18. Lee Munroe

    Lee Munroe

    20 March 2009 @ 05:35AM #

    Nice work Elliot. Congrats and hope it sells well. It’s on my wish list ;)

  19. Chris Armstrong

    Chris Armstrong

    20 March 2009 @ 10:18AM #

    The Elliot Jay Stocks empire is growing. Congrats.

  20. Tanya Ahmed

    Tanya Ahmed

    20 March 2009 @ 03:53PM #

    Have ordered a copy from Sitepoint and am reading the pdf now. Concise and well written. Aesthetics aside, I like the fact that it is written from the point of view of looking at websites as interfaces taking into account information architecture, interaction design, usability, and the importance of wireframes in the design process. A great introduction for all web designers.

  21. Andy


    20 March 2009 @ 05:28PM #

    Congratulations Elliot! Or should i say TS Elliot?

  22. Todd


    21 March 2009 @ 03:38PM #

    This book sounds great, I look forward to ordering a copy. Any plans on making a follow up that would take the designs through the coding process?

  23. Lachelle T.

    Lachelle T.

    23 March 2009 @ 10:06AM #

    I read the preview chapter’s on Sitepoint’s site and I’ll be ordering a copy for sure! Being an illustrator and programmer, I find it hard to breakaway from my programmer mode while in the design process. I also try to jump into working on the design before working out the concept or wireframe – something that I think your book will help me with. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book when I get my copy!

  24. Chris Butchart

    Chris Butchart

    23 March 2009 @ 04:16PM #

    Congratulations on your first book release. Well done on getting Sex into the title of the book too, that must boost sales a bit. May I suggest the title “The Naked Web Designer” for your second book? I don’t think Jamie Oliver would mind too much.

  25. Francis


    23 March 2009 @ 08:02PM #

    Just buy it, congrats Jay for that release ! ;-) Hope to have the chance to meet you at FOWD !

  26. Almer


    24 March 2009 @ 08:04PM #

    Congratulations. I’ve just had our office place an order for a copy. So you’ll be read by many people sure enough ;-)

  27. Jack F

    Jack F

    25 March 2009 @ 08:20PM #

    Can’t afford it right now but it has just been added to my birthday list. Only 2 months away…

    Congrats as well Elliot :D I was in the stages of confirming a possible book deal but had too pull out due to A-Level coursework and exams :(

  28. Jesse Skeens

    Jesse Skeens

    30 March 2009 @ 10:36PM #

    Just purchased this a few days ago and really enjoying it. From someone who isnt designing full time it’s a very solid guide and just in time for a major revamp of my site. Recommended.

  29. Matt D

    Matt D

    03 April 2009 @ 04:47PM #

    Okay, I’m late commenting on this. Congratulations are in order. Nice one man.

    Loving the new facial hair by the way… Yeah Yeah!

  30. Gary Barber

    Gary Barber

    05 April 2009 @ 12:14PM #

    Nice book Elliot, great overview of the process with lots of sexy screen shots.

  31. galih


    05 April 2009 @ 02:36PM #

    great book,sir :). but my country isnt in the list :(

  32. Chuck Parish

    Chuck Parish

    09 April 2009 @ 08:45PM #

    Bought it – Read it – LOVED IT! Thanks – it really hit a missing niche in the market. Has helped me much already. Keep it up!


  33. warez sharing your book

    warez sharing your book

    12 April 2009 @ 03:48PM #

    Their sharing man,


  34. Rich Kelly

    Rich Kelly

    13 April 2009 @ 07:36PM #

    Got my copy through the post the other day. Absolutely fantastic read, really insightful and very well layed out. My creative juices are already flowing!! I think it’s going to prove invaluble for people like me who are starting out and need some direction and advice.

    Will try and get to the Future of Web Design conference in London this year.

  35. Damon


    13 April 2009 @ 08:26PM #

    Elliot -

    Great read here. There’s a ton of useful information, and even more so is the links you’ve provided! Tons of inspiration, great resources, and overall a very powerful book. I own lots of Sitepoint books, but this is probably one of the best.

    Here’s to many more!!

  36. Joshua Lee

    Joshua Lee

    16 April 2009 @ 11:13AM #

    Congratulations Elliot. I really enjoy the Sitepoint books. And yeah, the title could even sell itself!

  37. Oliver Lorton

    Oliver Lorton

    16 April 2009 @ 03:32PM #

    I love the sitepoint books, but I like to flick through non-fiction before I buy. I’ll be sure to look out for this on my next trip to the book store!

  38. Rich


    16 April 2009 @ 09:51PM #

    Alright Elliot,
    I just read your book in 3 evenings which is unbelievable for me and found untold information and tips that will definitely assist me throughout the whole design process! I know that it probably would have been too much but my only request would have been to include a tutorial to actually code the site after designing it! I’m a novice designer and I’d love to learn how to create sites such the sites mentioned in the book, like darasgarden, fowa, or happycog! I know that you guys can’t cater for every individual person but maybe bear it in mind for future publications? I think that if you guys came up with a book that went from PSD to CSS/XHTML it would do pretty well? I have about 5 Sitepoint books in my collection and wouldn’t think twice about adding that one to my library! Anyway, keep up the good work! All the best mate! Gotta run!


  39. Sexy Web Design Review

    Sexy Web Design Review

    20 April 2009 @ 02:10PM #

    […] last year that he was writing a book, and instantly placed my order when it was released. Titled Sexy Web Design, the book guides the reader through a project for a fictional web conference which requires a […]

  40. Elliot Jay Stocks » I’m redesigning. Here’s why.

    Elliot Jay Stocks » I’m redesigning. Here’s why.

    20 April 2009 @ 05:58PM #

    […] speaking and teaching at events around the world, and I write more than just a blog these days: my first book has just been published, and I’m writing for various different publications, both online and […]

  41. lejla


    21 April 2009 @ 06:14PM #

    hi elliot,

    Your blog is a great inspiration so I’m really looking forward to the book – I’m just about to place the order and i hope it will help me (re)building my (architectural) portfolio and making it supersexy! ;)

    just wanted to make you notice that on the german amazon site it’s available as well, however jina bolton is listed as the author? …kind of confusing!

    cheers, lejla

  42. Ashley


    21 April 2009 @ 10:37PM #

    Thanks for a good read.. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one sitting.

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