Announcing App Design Apprentice, First Edition!

We’re excited to announce that our newest book, App Design Apprentice, is 100% complete and available now! By Chris Belanger.

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Without realizing it, the smartphone industry has created a world where design matters more than ever before. With our phones in our hands from sunup to sundown — and all night long — we depend on smart and intelligent app design to help us interact with our digital lives.

And as mobile technology advances, users’ expectations from apps have also changed. An app doesn’t just need to work. It has to look good, feel intimate and familiar, and be delightful while still being unique enough to attract attention and establish its identity.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that our book, App Design Apprentice, First Edition, is now out in full release! This book will teach you how to make smart design decisions and integrate good design features in your apps. You’ll learn how to go beyond merely functional apps to create well-made and well-considered apps that your users will love.

Keep reading to see what’s inside, and how you can get your copy today!

What is App Design Apprentice?

The book starts from the beginning, and assumes you have no prior experience with app design. It covers all the basics you need to know to create great-looking and well-designed apps: layout and composition, color and typography, flow and transitions, and much more.

In this book, you’ll use Figma, a modern design tool, to learn the fundamentals of the craft while also learning how to use the tool itself. You’ll apply the lessons you learn to a sample app for a single point of reference throughout the book.

Who is this Book For?

You’ve probably hit that point in your app development career where you’ve started to realize the limitations of your design skills, as you look at modern apps and wonder “How did they do that?”

If so, this book is for you:

  • You don’t need any prior design experience or training is required to get started!
  • You don’t need to be familiar with specialized design tools like Photoshop, Sketch or Figma.
  • You don’t need to pay for expensive design tools.
  • You don’t need to pay for custom designs for your projects.

In short, the App Design Apprentice is for skilled developers like you, who want to do more of the design work on your own, or level up your existing design skills.

What’s Inside App Design Apprentice?

This book is your launching point into understanding app design concepts at a deeper level, and bringing those concepts into your own apps.

This book spreads this knowledge over 10 chapters:

Build Cinematic, a fully-featured movie tracking and rating app!

Find your way around Figma like an expert!

Tear down some of the most popular app interfaces and see how their apps are structured!

Learn how to build solid wireframes to quickly iterate on design ideas.

Reuse FTW! Build reusable components to save you time and effort.

Learn how typography can make or break your app, along with best practices for text in your app!

Color theory is far more important than you might realize for bringing coherence and accessibility to your designs.

Bring your app to life with animations that will make your app feel polished.

A designer’s work is never done! Learn how to use collaboration features and incorporate changes.

Learn how to build your own design system and how this can scale to larger projects.

  1. Book Overview & App Preview: The book starts with a quick introduction to design and its importance in building an inclusive and satisfying product. You’ll set up your Figma account, then get a high-level overview of the app you’ll build. You’ll finish the chapter by adding some interactions to a prebuilt app prototype.
  2. Workspace Tour & Figma Fundamentals: Chapter 2 kicks off with a quick walkthrough of the Figma interface and some fundamental concepts to help you work with the tool. You’ll play with basic shapes and style them with fills, strokes, gradients, then learn about effects. You’ll then cover layers and the alignment options available in Figma and use that information to build the sign-in screen for the app.
  3. App Teardowns:
    Chapter 3 takes a slight detour to show you how to build an eye for good design. You’ll learn how to boil screens down to their simplest building blocks. You’ll compare how two popular apps, Airbnb and PocketCasts, leverage reusable components with variations in data to create drastically different experiences in their discovery screens.
  4. Wireframing & Screen Layout: Chapter 4 introduces you to the concept of wireframing and its importance in a design cycle. You’ll learn how to reduce the app’s essence into key intents and components. You’ll then use low fidelity wireframes to iterate on those intents. You’ll get your first glimpse at the importance of reusability and build a component to create wireframes for the app’s key screens.
  5. Reusable Elements & Data: In Chapter 5, you’ll build on what you learned in the previous chapters to decompose your designs into small, flexible and reusable components. You’ll then leverage these components to build out your app’s different screens. You’ll also learn how to organize your designs using pages in Figma and how to use existing design libraries and plugins to make the design process easier.
  6. Typography: In Chapter 6, you’ll dig deeper into the lower-level details of design and typography. You’ll learn about the fundamentals of typography: fonts, typefaces and weights. You’ll then use that information to build a typographic scale for your app and incorporate it into your app’s design.
  7. Colors: Chapter 7 continues with the lower-level details of design by diving into colors. You’ll learn about the basics of color theory including what hue, saturation, contrast are and how they make designs more accessible. You’ll then build the app’s color styles and incorporate them into the design.
  8. Transitions & App Flow: In Chapter 8, the app comes to life with transitions! You’ll play with the different transition and animation options available in Figma to build a fully interactive prototype. You’ll also create different screen destinations within the app and handle the various interaction states within the app.
  9. Feedback & Testing: In Chapter 9, you’ll hand the designs off to your team for feedback and testing. You’ll learn about the collaboration features available in Figma, and you’ll incorporate the feedback left by various stakeholders, including a filter feature request and a new iteration for the movie list UI.
  10. Design Systems: Finally, in Chapter 10, you’ll learn about design systems and see how everything you’ve done so far works toward building a design system. You’ll learn about the importance of documentation and improve your design system with helpful documentation. You’ll also look at more elaborate and comprehensive design systems built for large scale projects.