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Mastering Layout: On the Art of Eye Appeal Paperback – January 1, 1986

ISBN-13: 978-0911380682 ISBN-10: 091138068X Edition: 1st
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Mastering Layout: On the Art of Eye Appeal + Sign Painters + Hand-Lettering Ledger: A Practical Guide to Creating Serif, Script, Illustrated, Ornate, and Other Totally Original Hand-Drawn Styles
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mike Stevens was a popular sign artist of the 1970s and 1980s. He authored several books on sign design, and contributed numerous articles to sign industry magazines.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Publisher: ST Media Group International Inc.; 1 edition (January 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091138068X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911380682
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Webb on June 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
When Frank Atkinson wrote "Signpainting" in the early 1900's, he never thought it would become the 'bible' of the signwriting community. The same can be said about Mike Stevens' "Mastering Layout".

Stevens clearly explains the proper use of such elements as negative space, color, and fonts in designing signage that has impact. Many of his own alphabets are included, along with dozens of layout drawings as examples to the text. Much of what makes a sign layout stand apart from others is laid out in an easy-to-understand, equational form.

Mike Stevens may have died in 1989, but his thoughts on sign layout and execution are timeless.

A must-read, a must-have.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By WASal on August 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book you have to read it slowly. It has lots of theory and the principles of designing signs. Lots of information in its paragraphs. There are no color pictures. Just some basic sketches showing you signs with design errors, but it is very good. I strongly recommend it if you are starting a sign business or if you want to increase your knowledge.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas H. Clohessy on March 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I will not reiterate what has already said about this book other than to say it is the best guide available for the lettering artist and when I was a professional sign painter/lettering artist I had no more valued possession. I lent it out frequently to other friends in the trade and its contents were much discussed and marveled at.

I would like to comment on the fact that Mike Stevens did publish a couple of items now unavailable as far as I can tell, that would have supplemented "Mastering Layout" beautifully. One was a book, whose name escapes me, of his showcards in GLORIOUS color. The other was a video, filmed in the 80's, of Mike demonstrating his brush lettering technique. i never saw this, but it was legendary among lettering artists and I flog myself mentally when i realize that it may not be re-issued on DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian E. Quinter on January 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Book referred to me by an instructor in a sign design workshop.

It is a book that teaches you the concept of layout for signs & lettering.
It teaches you guidelines that really should be followed by all sign designers.

It is a book you may have to read two or three times to really get what Mike is saying. This is also what the instructor told us that referred the book, and I agree.

This book should be on al sign designers shelf near their desk!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave R on September 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Recommended to me by several of the best signmakers today, his comments were right on the mark. It is not an easy read and the language isn't quite precise but once you work out how he is saying it the author gives all anyone needs to know about layout for sign design.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brad Ferguson on September 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
As a 40-year veteran in the sign industry, I divide my career into Before Mike Stevens and After Mike Stevens. No other book has made the impact on my design skills as this one has. The writing is clear and unpretentious, and makes clear that good layout can be learned. Though Mike Stevens lived and worked in an era that is almost forgotten, when the main tool of the sign maker was a lettering brush, the principles he explained and illustrated are timeless. If I were allowed only one book in my library, it would be this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy M. Faught on September 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i do layouts and signwriting so it's a must for me in my library. i need six more words. it's a great book, i wanted it, i bought it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best layout book I own! A lot of things I learned in school, but Mike Stevens spells it out in straightforward, digestible terms that will help any graphic designer tighten up their layouts. Although it's geared toward sign and show card writing, I found myself applying it to book, ad, and web layouts all the same. Stevens presents multiple layouts geared toward a similar project and cross-examines them, pointing out their strengths and their flaws. Extremely helpful for both a novice just starting out, or a professional looking to pin-point some areas of weakness in their own work.
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