Articles Category

Smashing Book 6

The setting

Since 2006, Smashing Magazine has been delivering reliable, useful, and practical articles for web designers and developers.
Smashing Magazine has matured a lot in the last 10 years, adding new and interesting facets to its publishing selection, like the engaging meeting points, called Smashing Conference, and their compelling and engaging books, called Smashing Books.


A cover that inspires and entices, but most of all, that represents Smashing Magazine’s willingness to deliver the best content to our readers and vibrant community.

Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine Founder


The protagonists

I have always been a passionate reader of Smashing Magazine, even back when the website was simply a blog. So you won’t be surprised to discover I was excited about meeting the founder, Vitaly Friedman. We first met in 2016 during my talk at Awwwards in Amsterdam, and then again at the Joomla! World Conference 2017 in Rome. On both occasions, Vitaly and I were sharing the stage.

I couldn't help but notice how enthusiastic and passionate he is about his work, both on and off the stage. His happiness is contagious, but the thing I admire most is how seriously he takes his mission of delivering only beautiful content, whether through their own magazine and books, in person as a speaker, or as the organiser of workshops and conferences all over the globe.


The plot

At the time, Smashing Book 6 was the project Vitaly was working on. A brand new book that, to use his own words, ‘Would finally make sense of all the front-end and UX madness.’

The title of the book was New Frontiers in Web Design. As with all the Smashing Books, it’s packed with practical and useful advice written by renowned experts in their field, in this case, web design.

Working with Vitaly was a great experience that all started with a few email exchanges and a Skype meeting, where he shared his vision for the book and the general content.

I had a lot of freedom, which is always equally exciting and scary. The only certainty was that the S of Smashing Magazine should be the main protagonist of the front cover, as it was on other Smashing Books. I was free to creatively present the S as I saw fit.

I concentrated on a few of the keywords Vitaly was using to describe the book, and developed an idea around classical adventure novels where the main hero leaves home, encounters great hazards, has to take risks and eventually returns wiser and richer than before.

I thought of Smashing Book 6 as a way to examine this basic and mythic structure through a new lens. Through the articles contained in this book, the modern web designer will be experiencing true and deep adventure.

I imagined the S as an engine, the starting point where different worlds were created before then expanding outwards. The cover became the map of these uncharted territories explored within the book.

Personally, I judge a book by its cover. Knowing some of the contributors, and having read some of the chapters, I wanted to honour their hard work that had gone into creating the content by creating a gorgeous cover and elegant chapter illustrations.

For this edition of Smashing Book, I imagined a deep blue textile cover with the graphic printed using the very old technique of hot gold foil stamping.

We worked closely with Markus, who is part of the Smashing Magazine team and responsible for the publishing of all the Smashing Books, to choose the final details of the binding and guarantee an elegant and sophisticated result, adding a touch of glam to the book.

Another aspect Markus and I collaborated on was creating the style for the ‘Thank You’ spread that hosts the names of more than 600 community members, as well as the general look and feel of the internal pages.

As a final touch, I added a paper wrap around the book inviting the reader to ‘unlock their adventure’, prompting a physical action. The reader needs to tear off the paper in order to start reading the book. For this version, we also introduced a custom Smashing Magazine bookmark, also in gold.
All these factors add to the experience and provide a few more reasons to favour the paperback version over the digital one.


Smashing Book 6 Cover Design Sketches 

Smashing Book 6 Cover Design Explained

Smashing Book 6 Cover Design

Smashing Book 6 Cover Design

Smashing Book 6 Internal Pages

Smashing Book 6 Chapter Illustrations

Smashing Book 6 Wallpapers

Smashing Book 6 T-Shirt


The result

The book was successfully pre-launched on the 13th June 2018, and is available in both printed and e-book format.
It was well received by the Smashing Magazine community and was praised by many as the best cover in the Smashing Books collection.
Its successful reception is something I’m proud of.

Smashing Book 6 is available to purchase online.