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The Non-Designer's Design Book Paperback – September 7, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0321193858 ISBN-10: 0321193857 Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

So you have a great concept and all the fancy digital tools you could possibly require-what's stopping you from creating beautiful pages? Namely the training to pull all of these elements together into a cohesive design that effectively communicates your message. Not to worry: This book is the one place you can turn to find quick, non-intimidating, excellent design help. In The Non-Designer's Design Book, 2nd Edition, best-selling author Robin Williams turns her attention to the basic principles of good design and typography. All you have to do is follow her clearly explained concepts, and you'll begin producing more sophisticated, professional, and interesting pages immediately. Humor-infused, jargon-free prose interspersed with design exercises, quizzes, illustrations, and dozens of examples make learning a snap-which is just what audiences have come to expect from this best-selling author.

About the Author

Robin Williams is the author of more than 20 best-selling and award-winning books, including The Robin Williams Mac OS X Book, The Non-Designer's Design Book, The Non-Designer's Type Book, and Robin Williams Design Workshop, and Web Design Workshop. Through her writing, teaching, and seminars, Robin has influenced a generation of computer users in the areas of design, typography, desktop publishing, the Mac, and the World Wide Web.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 2nd edition (September 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321193857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321193858
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.4 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Greenlee on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
For someone new to design and design principles, this was a very welcome surprise! Yes, I know there are those who take exception to aspects of this book (different opinions about typefaces, wincing at the "dogmatic" ["patronizing"] views expressed, etc.), but these seem to be minor whinings compared to the solid foundation laid down here in clear, concise prose, with helpful accompanying illustrations. Now -- whenever I read someone else's book on desgin or layout -- I cannot help but see or hear Robin's four points: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity (C.R.A.P.). For example, in one book, the author advises using "assymetry" (non-centered) rather than "symmetry" (centered) for text. What I saw in the accompanying illustration was Robin's preference for left or right Alignment. She says such alignment looks more "professional" (sophisticated). Oddly, the other author thought "centered/symmetrical" alignment looked TOO professional (stodgy), and thus advised against it. Whatever the reason, they both agree on the outcome, but I prefer Robin's take on it.

The same goes for her discussion of "Proximity." I have read several desgin books that show "good" design samples, with no discussion of why the designs shown are good. But when I analyze them now with Robin's simple idea of "Proximity" in mind (i.e., keeping related things together), I can arrive at my own understanding of why a desgin "works."

And, although the "whiners" will wince once again, I like her reiterated advice about not being a "wimp" -- especially when it comes to Contrast, her favorite desgin principle.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By V. Maciulski on May 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm beginning to wonder if Robin Williams ever sleeps. She seems to have a new title out every couple of weeks. This is Ms. Williams' second offering of this title.

I have long said that the best thing about DeskTop Publishing is that it puts it in the hands of everybody and the worst thing about DeskTop Publishing is that it puts it in the hands of everybody. Some people just don't have an eye for design.

The fact is, because of DeskTop Publishing, many people with no formal training in publishing or design end up having to design something. They find they must create an advertisement, a newsletter, a brochure, a business card or a poster. Panic sets in for those who have no idea where to start, or don't understand the fundamentals of good design.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, The Non-Designer's Design Book is your "rescue in a book." I really like the many before and after examples she shows of web pages, brochures, business cards, etc. There is an amazing example of a tri-fold brochure before and after on pages 106-107, and a newspaper ad on pages 114-115.

She explains the use of typography very nicely, and explains when to use different kinds of typefaces. (Did you know that most people make the type on their home made business cards too big?)

This book is not a big, heavy tome that goes on forever on its topics. That's a good thing. It keeps things simple and easy to understand. Each topic is covered well and in an interesting manner.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bink on May 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is basically the nuts and bolts to good design. If you are not interested in reading about theory and want to jump into designing correctly or you want to improve your designing skills IMMEDIATELY, this is the book to buy. Many design choices (mistakes) are addressed and explained in simple English. You are able to enhance business cards (for ex.) without reading a complete chapter. This book offers instant results. This is definitely one that should be in your collection whether for small business needs or a designing career.

I'm giving 4 stars instead of 5 only because I wish the author would have given a bit more suggestions.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am one of those people that professional graphic designers meet in their nightmares. Totally clueless when it comes to what constitutes good design, and enrolled in desktop publishing classes which are meant to equip me with some degree of technical ability, but fall short of addressing issues like creativity and design concept.

I am finding this book helpful so far (it was required reading for one of my classes) and it's given me some very useful insights on how to lay out a page. The finished examples are by no means sophisticated works of art, but my goal is really to be able to master the ability to execute decent-looking newsletters, direct mail pieces and so on... and perhaps be able to run a sideline business once I've developed more expertise (strictly small-potato variety, not Madison avenue). But I'm not about to unleash my ineptitude on any unsuspecting bosses or clients yet! This book clearly states that it is written more for people like me, who in the course of their jobs need to get up to speed in this area fast! People in a similar situation would probably derive benefits from this book as well, but more advanced students or designers may be disappointed.

Since I have no designs on pursuing a formal degree (terrible pun intended) I found a lot of use for this book. I also have a question for the graphic designers who bashed it..what do they recommend for a student who knows vritually nothing about graphic design (besides switching to some other field) as a good primer to help them produce layouts that don't scream "TACKY!"??
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