The evolved grew from the lectures of the International School 'Laser-surface interactions for new materials production: tailoring structure and properties' held in Venice (Italy) from 13 to 20 July, 2008. It offers an updated overview concerning nanosecond and ultra-short laser-induced phenomena, and the related diagnostics. The principles of laser-surface interactions are discussed and the strong interplay between experimental and theoretical investigations highlighted. Material classes treated span from polymers to ceramics and metals, including piezoelectrics, ferroelectrics, biomaterials, glasses, functional coatings. Laser direct writing, lasers in cultural heritage and MAPLE are considered, and computer modelling focuses on atomic-level simulations and on continuum models.