- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (November 21, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0321580125
- ISBN-13: 978-0321580122
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Before & After: How to Design Cool Stuff 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
"Before and After" magazine's focus on clarity, simplicity, and elegance has won it legions of fans--fans who will welcome this second volume of the definitive "Before and After Page Design" by John McWade. Truly an icon of the graphic design community, his insistence on approaching design not as mere decoration but as an essential form of communication is vividly apparent in this cohesive primer on page design and layout. And you could not hope for a better, more qualified teacher. McWade shows readers how to arrange and present information using today's powerful graphics tools. Readers will learn how to design single-page and multi-page documents, brochures, and ads; why one typeface works better than another; and much more. Best of all, they'll discover how to think visually transforming the images in their heads into something that communicates effectively on the page.
About the Author
Designer, teacher, and author John McWade has been at the forefront of the graphic design and desktop publishing worlds for several decades. The very first beta user of the desktop publishing program Aldus PageMaker, he went on to found the first desktop publishing company, PageLab, to take advantage of the new tools. With his partner Gaye McWade, he founded the acclaimed Before and After magazine.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the same time, novice designers and do-it-yourselfers will get a lot out of this book. As the first chapter says, this book is about designing by seeing, rather than by following any perceived hard and fast rules. The chapters on picking the perfect color and finding the right typeface follow along this line and are excellent. Letter-spacing (kerning) and other aspects of typography are given quite a bit of due in a few chapters, so beginners get a bit of guidance in an area that is becoming increasingly more neglected. Although this book presupposes a working knowledge of layout and design programs, it offers clear examples of why certain things work, along with simple ways to improve any layout.
I like this book because it involves you in the decisions. The first part of the book explains the knowledge you need to be able to really see and use graphic elements. It begins with designing without rulers and the empty page. It explains how to use color. It makes sense out of understanding typographic characters and fitting type styles to your design. An example of how the book involves you is "How to find the perfect color." It begins with finding the colors in a photograph. It ends with a discussion of five different color choice designs with good reasons why the customer might chose any one of them
I like this book because it shows creative methods you can use. The second part of "Before & After How to Design Cool Stuff" is about techniques such as getting several images out of one photo, putting the reader's eye where you want it, and combining photos and captions to tell your story. It includes techniques you can use to create unique covers and pages, business cards and a post card, or even a web site or a welcome page.
I also like the projects that make up the third part. These projects show the evolution from the idea or product that existed before to the designs that result after. These projects can help you to design a theme, a story-style brochure, a pocket size brochure, a panoramic booklet, a web site, or a presentation.
Read "Before & After How to Design Cool Stuff" for an overview of, and an appreciation for, the ideas and techniques that are in it. Then, when you are about to begin your next project, refer to this book.
John McWade is in a class by himself. No one else even comes close.
Whether you are an experienced designer, or someone just trying to figure out how to start on your first design project, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this book, or with any of McWade's other books.
Does it matter that most of the topics in this book have already been covered in his magazine? Not at all. Even though I still have all the back issues, and refer to them on a regular basis, the fact is that this series of books makes it easier to find the topics I want to review, and so these books are way more than worth the price when I'm looking for a quick burst of inspiration.
Even if I'm not actively searching for "inspiration," just opening his books and paging through them, the clean design produces an almost zen-like state in my mind, and I immediately feel a wave of confidence flowing through me, reminding me that design *can* be fun, and that I *can* design something that's at least as good as the well-known designers I've worked with and admired for years.
Buy these books. Study what John McWade wants to show you.
If you want to become a good designer (or an even better designer), nothing will be of more help to you than studying the design techniques and ideas of John McWade.
Definitely worth picking up and reading. I read it cover to cover in one afternoon and it is next to the computer whenever I design.
It does not go heavy into the technical reasons why things were, it just explains how to make things look good and very clearly and easily.
Will you become the greatest designer ever? Probably not, but is it useful as a design resource, absolutely.