Designing the Invisible is a book I wrote that was released in 2011 through Five Simple Steps. It looks at colour, typefaces, icons and tone of voice in relation to how we can tell stories on the web. Bringing together semiotics, design and communication, the book explores how we can reach our audiences subconsciously, and how we need to consider cultural differences in order to do so.

Here’s the official synopsis:

It’s not enough to design a website that looks nice. What’s the story? Why is that header green? Why is that icon shaped like a fish? Designing for the web is not just about fancy layouts, the latest CSS3 or HTML5 or UX technique.

Great web experiences tell a great story, and Designing the Invisible will give you the tools to help you do it.

From how to apply colour to tell the right story, through to using the right words, this book details the basics of building great web experiences. If you’re starting out in web design then this book will give you some valuable tools in your design toolkit.


Who is it for?

This book is for design beginners. If you’re not a designer but sometimes are asked to do design, then this book is for you. If you’ve just started out in design, or are at college or university, then this book is for you, too. If you’re an experienced designer then this book might be a good refresher on some of the design basics.

You won’t find any code in this book, and you don’t need to know your way around HTML5 or the latest CSS3 updates. Lucky you.

DTI Spread

What others have said:

“I continue to recommend Designing The Invisible to anyone who’ll listen. This book is beautifully organised, and Robert’s style is warm and open. Using familiar examples and thoughtful case studies, he lifts the lid on how subtle and invisible design can help improve our dialogue with audiences, and help them make sense of complexity.” Simon Collison

“Designing the Invisible was quite simply my favourite read of 2011. Robert clearly shows how we can communicate information, stories and user journeys with our design and language choices. A refreshing and enlightening read!” Jon Hicks

“Designing the invisible is a book that makes you think. As a designer it forces you to ask questions about how you communicate with your users. An essential read.” Mike Kus

“Designing the Invisible is a great book for design beginners and a nice refresher for those who are more experienced. It offers an insight into colour, typefaces, branding, wayfinding and tone of voice in relation to how we can tell better and more targeted stories on the web.” Elliot Jay Stocks


To buy the book, download a sample chapter or check out the contents in more detail, please head to Five Simple Steps.