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Design Basics Index Flexibound – December 3, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Krause has worked as a designer in the Pacific Northwest since the 1980s. He has produced award-winning work for clients large and small, including Microsoft, McDonald's, Washington Apples, Bell Helicopter, Paccar/Kenworth, Northern Trust and Seattle Public Schools. He lives in Bellingham, Washington.
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Product Details

  • Series: Index
  • Flexibound: 360 pages
  • Publisher: HOW Books; 1 edition (December 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581805012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581805017
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Krause has worked as a designer in the Pacific Northwest since the 1980s. He has produced award-winning work for clients large and small, including Microsoft, McDonald's, Kodak, Cingular Wireless, Washington Apples, Levi Strauss, Paccar/Kenworth, and Seattle Public Schools. Jim Krause has written over a dozen books on design, creativity, and digital photography. His books are widely popular, are on sale around the world, and several have been translated into multiple languages.

Krause's latest books are Lessons in Typography, Visual Design and Color For Designers--all published by New Riders. These books are each part of New Rider's Creative Core series.

When Jim Krause isn't working on books, he can usually be found racing his motorcycle, riding a bicycle, hiking, reading, enjoying a really good cup of espresso, or looking at birds through a pair of binoculars.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Flexibound
Experienced designer Jim Krause knows his stuff, and Basic Design Index is far and away the best of his 'Index' books for this publisher. This installment isn't a book that will win awards-- or second looks, even-- for flourishing a lot of trendy styling. There are some great books out there if that's what you are looking for, but this isn't one of them. As the name says, it's about basics, or a classic, professional, practical approach.

The book has many exploratory exercises or practice projects for the designer. Throughout it, Krause shows layouts produced using a basic set of photographic, header and body copy elements. He walks us through what works from these finished layouts, and what doesn't, and why. Design books usually show you the single way a piece saw print. This book's mock layouts suggest the multiplicity of ways components A, B, C and D could have been combined; there are, helpfully, more "don't" examples here than "do's". Krause also shows subtle ways to create flow in a layout, the creation of good relationships between objects on a page, and the things that can creep into work and sabotage it by working at cross purposes to clarity and unity.

Design Basics Index could function well as a supplemental book for those in a graphic design program. I have many years of design behind me, and I like to keep the book close by as a touchstone or a pocket source of friendly little reminders. As a resource, it manages to make some design bells go off for me most times I pick it up. That's the best endorsement I can give the book.

If you are a design master, or an avowed design martian, and feel convinced you can't learn anything from a book of this sort, you are probably right. To each his/her own. But for me, it fills a small niche very neatly.
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Format: Flexibound
A beautiful, practical book--full of passion and inspriration. I love design, and have practiced and taught it for a long time. I have several books that cover parts of what I think is important about design, but this is the first that seems to cover everything under one roof--and in a way that is both elegant and up-to-date, far-reaching and concise. The author does not make many (if any) proclamations or "rules" about design--he seems more interested in describing parameters and then encouraging the reader to find their own visual voice. (He also seems more interested in teaching design than showing off--a rare thing amount current how-to books.) But the best thing about this book, the thing that really sets it apart, is the section on concepts near the end. Experienced designers all know that Concept is King, and yet how many basic design books even talk about the subtleties of theme and concept? Very few! In this book, concept is addressed quite elegantly, quite beautifully and in plain, approachable language. I wish that I could give every new designer a copy of this book (along with Idea Index and Color Index--I keep a copy of each on my desktop).
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Format: Flexibound
I am a military journalist, deployed to Iraq. I also have the privilege of designing a unit publication. This book is a wonderful survey of design for all levels -- whether it serves as a refresher for veterans, or a basis for beginners.

The pliable plastic cover is thicker than expected and, subsequently, super durable (and waterproof to boot!); and the books slim profile allows it to easily survive trips in suitcases, cargo pockets, or even the sands of Iraq!

The pages are filled with amazing tips and exercises, which can be used personally or, in my case, to teach my troops new skills.

I use it for inspiration and as a "why and wherefore" for my design decisions.

One of the best design books I own, apart from its great on-the-go transportability!
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Format: Flexibound
This is an absolutely fantastic book on design basics and principles. Filled with samples. It's not the type of elaborate samples that you see in some design showcase books (I personally don't find those types of samples all that helpful anyhow) but more realistic samples for the high-volume designer. And lots of notes on what's good and bad about different examples. Great discussions of principles etc. This was a particularly good book for me because I learned design on the job. I've been working in graphic design for nearly 10 years, but I didn't have formal training in it. And although I've picked up on some of these principles over time, it was great having them spelled out. And the book's an easy read (not overly wordy) and everything's categorized so neatly (emphasis, flow, alignment, etc.). It must have taken forever just to create so many little samples! I highly recommend this to someone new to design, but even someone who's been designing for ages can find this a great reference. I know I will! I checked this out of the library and can't wait to get my own copy!!!
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Format: Flexibound
This book provides a plethora of layout ideas on which to build on or manipulate, spawning an array of ideas when in a creative rut. It also provides the do's AS WELL AS the don'ts of design which I find to be extremely helpful.
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Format: Paperback
Jim Krause's Design Basics Index is an enlightening instructional book on the intricacies of design, especially for a beginner to intermediate designer. Prior to reading his book, I read my first book on design color fundamentals, written by Aaris Sherin, which I found to be quite remarkable and likely unsurpassable in quality. However, Jim Krause's book proved to be very informative, with its tutorial like lessons and exercises, but on a much broader depth of design theory.

Krause's book includes lots of tutorial material, accompanied with relevant illustrations. Furthermore, he breaks down his book into three main headings: components, composition, and concept.

Starting with composition, his book immediately provides the reader with insider knowledge on elements such as placement, unequal spacing, grouping, and much more. To a novice such as myself, the notion that perfect centering and equal spacing are not commonly the ideal was quite unusual to comprehend but, at the same time, gripping. The pages of the book are filled with such detailed and surprising accounts of what works and what doesn't work in design that a reading of the book must surely be equivalent to enrolling in a certificate course on design.

Next, the section on components provides excellent input for anyone wanting to make stunning logos, beautiful typographic headings, subtle borders, and much more. I recently bought an expensive hard cover book on branding that doesn't give the actual logo design insight that Krause so aptly provides.

Lastly, the section on concepts drives home topics such as conveyance, mood, theme, emotion, and much more. I enjoyed his advice on ensuring that every element in a design should project the intended theme or message.
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