The Web Designer’s Idea Book

The ultimate guide to themes, trends, and styles in website design

By Patrick McNeil
Published by HOW Books
250 pages; $25.00

The catalog of web themes, trends, and styles in The Web Designer’s Idea Book captures the state of web design, circa 2008. Patrick McNeil arranges hundreds of sites by type (blog, forum, e-commerce), by style (retro, minimalist, photographic), by theme (nature, food, clouds), by element (icons, rounded corners, stripes), by structure (tabs, tiny, buckets), and by color. Introduced with a brief essay, each style is illustrated with representative full-color screen grabs, and accompanied by a sample color palette. URLs are included for further exploration. One the one hand, the book is a fascinating visual guide to the infinite variety of web design. On the other, it also spotlights one design cliché after another as designers rely on tried and true themes to communicate, organize their ideas, and attempt to present content in interesting ways. With the exception of the truly adventurous explorations in the section on site design by structure, The Web Designer’s Idea Book may not inspire new ideas, but it will serve as an effective reference for current design thinking on the web. Who knew clouds were a web design theme?


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