I was recently given a chance to review this book thanks to one of the books author’s John Ross. While my main focus is not on branding and user interfaces it is a critical component of the SharePoint solutions my team delivers and also one of the important things that can separate successful from failed implementations.
This book does a great job of providing an overview of the branding options with SharePoint 2010 (Foundation and Server). It also does a really good job of showing how things have changed which is an important thing to understand since the there are so many new controls and features (ribbon) and the previous use of nested tables has been all but abolished.
There are some valuable tips for “simple branding” which would is great information for Site Owners to have as they manage their local department or project site. There is also great information on more advanced branding that can cover your overall marketing and communication standards.
One of the really nice things about this book is that it highlights some of the landmines that can pop up during your project. Understanding where in an inheritance chain to style or not to remove the !Important commented items can save you hours of grief. The Content Placeholder reference for MasterPages is also incredibly valuable.
From my perspective one of the most important chapters is on deployment. Since user experience guys are not always coders they are not always familiar with how to properly deploy their brilliant work. SharePoint Designer is a valuable tool, but it should not be used to maintain the branding and user interface changes for your environment (with very few exceptions).
All told this book provides a great overview of all of the areas and depth to important topics designers need to know. This book should be a good fit for SharePoint Developers or Administrators needing to do simple branding, Site Owners looking to apply some customizations, or for Designers looking to create robust user interfaces on the SharePoint 2010 platform.