I Wrote a Book

I’ve been in the Bay Area all week for work, and I’ve been meaning to post this news since Monday when I finally made my deadline: my forthcoming book “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design” is now officially complete and in the hands of my publisher, New Riders. According to the listing over at Amazon, it’ll ship in early December, so you can pre-order your copy today and have it in time for the holidays. At some booksellers the current pre-order price is over a third off of the cover price, plus if you buy it through any of these links, its humble author gets a little kickback: Amazon (US), Barnes & Noble or Borders.com.

The Story

“Ordering Disorder” is an overview of all of my thoughts on using the typographic grid in the practice of Web design. The first part of the book covers the theories behind grid design, the historical underpinnings of the grid, how they’re relevant (and occasionally irrelevant) to the work of Web designers — and a bit of my personal experience coming to grips with grids as a tool.

Buy Ordering Disorder on Amazon

The second part of the book, which makes up its bulk, walks readers through the design of a full Web site from scratch, over the course of four projects. These are brand-new projects and much more diverse than the examples some of you may remember from my “Grids Are Good” talk from several years ago. All of the projects are presented in step-by-step, in-depth detail. There are something like ninety illustrations, and they’re presented in a beautiful two-color design that, through the graciousness of New Riders, I was able to art direct myself, which is apparently rare. Frankly, a lot of books about Web design are a little less than beautiful, but thanks to the help of a few of my friends from the print design world, I’m really proud to say that “Ordering Disorder” looks really damn good.

This is my first book and even though I’m incredibly excited to see it published, I’m also exhausted from the act of writing it. I fully intend to talk a lot more about my experiences putting it together in the coming weeks, but for now I’m going to take a little breather and coast for a few days on this euphoric personal milestone — holy shit, I wrote a book!


By request, UK customers can pre-order the book through this link. Canadian customers pre-order the book through this link.


Also: the publisher informs me that “Ordering Disorder” will be available from iBooks, for Kindle from Amazon, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an e-book or a PDF direct from Peachpit.com. More info soon!

  1. Khoi,

    Congrats for this, I cant wait to have it on my hands! One little mistake, the cover that you are showing in this post says “Grid Principles for Web Design”, but the one in Amazon and Peachpit says “Grid Principles for Interaction Design”. It’s the same book, right? 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for the support everyone, it’s really gratifying after going through such a long haul to finish this book.

    Martin: The cover art on Amazon (both the US and UK sites) are indeed for the same book. The art you see is for the older title; I had to modify it once I decided to narrow the scope of the book to focusing on the Web. I believe that will be updated soon, though.

    Adrinux: great point re: a link to the UK version. I’ve just added a new link to the bottom of the blog post and modified the link in your comment to point to an Amazon Associates link for my book on the UK site. Thanks for thinking of me!

    Marc Hedlund: New Riders has some plans for the electronic version but I’m not clear on them at the moment. I’ll post an update when I hear more.

  3. Cheers for the UK link. Pre-ordered. It’ll probably end up next to Andre Jute’s ‘Grids’ book, that I never managed to finish working through…I’m pretty sure I’ll read yours fully though!

  4. Huge congrats, my friend. I remember that feeling from the first bok I wrote — it’s a combination of “Holy shit, I wrote a book!” and “Oh my God, I will never write a book ever again!”

    The books looks and sounds like it’s going to be terrific. So glad you managed to get them to let you art direct it — concern over how the book would look it one reason I didn’t end up doing the typography book I had been discussing with New Riders.

    Can’t wait to see it, man! Huge congrats!

  5. Congratulations Khoi. No-one is more interesting or comprehensive on this subject than you and this news is a mouthwatering surprise. Roll on December!

  6. First of all, congratulations.

    Maybe I am looking at the wrong place, but I couldn’t find a table of contents anywhere. Could you please add that somewhere? Also, if you could add a small chapter extract, that would be great.

    While I might still buy the book due to your prior reputation, however, I prefer to get some detail about what I am buying before actually doing so. The above would help tremendously.

    Thanks and best of luck.

  7. Yeah, a Kindle version would be great, since I have gotten used to reading on my iPad. A Kindle version solves the “electronic” version problem since a Kindle player is available on pretty much all platforms and devices.

    Plus, the Kindle mechanism allows me to see the table of contents and read a bit of the book to see if it’s appropriate for me, and I have bought even more books that way, since I’m far less likely to take a chance on buying a book based on only the cover and description. We humans have a tendency to see what we wanna see, and so many times that results in a “Doh!” when the book arrives and it’s so different than we expected.

    Thanks for helping us think outside the box. (ahem)

  8. Excitedly preordered! But from the non-kickback link. You should move the kickback link to before the standard Amazon link for us over-excited types! Or omit the standard link altogether.

  9. That was the easiest present ever – just bought a copy for a couple of people. Both have Birthdays in the next couple of months.

  10. Sold. I always hesitated on buying graphic design books because application to the web has alternative challenges. This will be my first design/web book. I’m happy the familiar and excellent Subtraction style will fill the pages.

  11. Hah, congrats! I just finished my second book (Lightroom 3) myself, and the publishers let me do the whole thing myself in inDesign, I just delivered the pdf. Can’t wait to get yours, I love grids ;))

  12. Congratz Khoi,

    I’m a web designer from Vietnam. I’m very excited to know that you finished your book. I’ll definitely by one but Amazon doesn’t ship anything to Vietnam :(, I’ll buy the Kindle version later (but I always wish to have the “hard version” of any books from the authors I love).


  13. huge congratulations. we know what this has taken. is it too early to hint for xmas presents???? k & j

  14. Congratulations! Sounds like an important addition to our Design Center library. When is the book signing?а

  15. This should be great, Can you hook me (and everyone else up here in the frozen north) up with an amazon.ca link?

  16. Eagerly awaiting the pdf-version! (and hope that I will be able to purchase it even though I live in Asia)

  17. Khoi,

    I don’t know if anyone’s said this yet here in the comments threat, but congratulations!

    A very sincere hats off to you on this.

    Your next book should be a how-to on just how in the world it is that a person can manage to be so productive!



  18. Great news! Thanks for the energy and effort you’ve put into sharing your knowledge on this subject – can’t wait to check it out.

  19. Great, I’m looking forward to getting a copy…congratulations.

    You brought the grid to web design, lest anyone forget.

  20. Hi Khoi,
    I pre-ordered your book on Amazon.co.uk. I’d like to cancel my pre-order in light of their stance on hosting WikiLeaks. Is there any way that I can buy your book elsewhere/directly?

  21. I got it last night and started reading it on my lunch hour today. Cut lunch short so I could go back to my desk and a.) share book link with friends via fb and b.) be at my computer as i read in case the inspiration just springs up. 😉

  22. I received my copy yesterday, read it last night and enjoyed it tremendously – with one fairly big caveat. The printers demon seems to have had a field day, to such a degree that either peachpit didn’t proofread it or their proofreader did her job by beefeater gin-light. One paragraph is repeated in at least three locations (dealing with the placement of the email & print links in designery’s body margin).

    Designery’s design is gorgeous. Have you considered releasing it as a sequel to Basic Maths? Your approach and descriptions are extremely inspiring and I’d highly recommend this book to anyone tempted.

  23. This is an excellent book, Khoi. I am really enjoying reading it. I’m curious what grid principles went into it’s publication. Surely not 960? I like the wide page margins.

  24. The book was delivered to me this morning, and I’m loving it! Thanks for writing this awesome book, Khoi. I’m constantly referring to your writings on grid design and using your work as examples of proper structure. This book is now replacing the spot on my shelf for “most important web design book ever.”

  25. I just wanted to say I’m in the middle of reading this and so far it’s a gem. Love the layout, too. Very easy to read for people with low attention-spans (anyone who spends a lot of time online, basically) and easy on the eyes. It’s one of my better design book purchases.

  26. Great book, Khoi – bought the kindle book last night.

    I have a quick question with your grid setup. You are using 960px wide with a left gutter of 10px then 50px then 10px and so on. This works nicely but doesn’t leave room for a 10px gutter on the far right but in your book your grid image examples all show a gutter.

    I’m doing up a grid template in Omnigraffle to practice with and cannot seem to match what you have in your book – the figures don’t work out. Of course I could have misunderstood what you meant 🙂

    Thanks and great book

  27. Jason: so long as the total width of the grid plus that outside gutter is within your target browser size — and at 970 px it would be — what really matters is the width of the units and gutters. There’s nothing that says things have to fit within 960 px.

  28. Yep cool thx Knoi – was just a bit confused as the wireframe examples throughout the book show a L/R gutter but 960px wide was the figure used in the book and the 10/50 columns and so I couldn’t figure out why it was different to what I was laying out.

    Guess I’ll throw another 10px on the RHS and keep going 🙂

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