- 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 (70 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,626 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.
Sure there are examples of ideas and products succeeding despite poor design, but they are the outliers. Why take a gamble on bad design, when the door is wide open to learn what works best? Before & After, How to Design Cool Stuff, gives you the tools and confidence to create all sorts of printed "stuff," for lack of a more descriptive term, that looks darn good. Furthermore, you know exactly why it looks good and can clearly articulate the reasons for your design decisions.
This, in turn, allows you to publish many more creative projects on your own if you don't happen to be a formally schooled artist (or can't justify hiring one). If you are fortunate enough to have other artists in your employ, this book makes you conversant in their language. When you can communicate your ideas to artistic staff without misunderstanding, you're much more likely to get what you want earlier in the design/development process. Hence, you save money, time, hurt feelings, and lots of the sturm and drang that can accompany collaborative creation.
In addition to the logos, CD cases and labels, business cards, brochures, report covers and interiors, and other example projects, the book provides solid explanation of how to use form, color, proportion, typography, and volume. No more "my gut tells me it looks right."
I felt like a whole new world opened up for me after reading this book, and I don't say that lightly. I've read a good number of the popular books on presentation and design, and this one is near the top. I recently got a message from Amazon offering to buy the book back from me. I smiled and thought, "They'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands."
In other words, whether you're a jack-of-many trades with occasional design needs like myself, or a dedicated full-time designer, Before & After's How to Design Cool Stuff will become a prized (and well-used) addition to your bookcase.
Almost every page is instantly applicable! His tips are practical and innovative. He doesn't bog his readers down with how to use the most sophisticated tools and methods in the Adobe suite... but he focuses on the ideas, principles and form of design rather than how to do it.
This should be the basic text book for all young designers!
-All his designs share a very particular "clean" style, which stems from his strong design foundations, but I would've liked to see him incorporate a broader range of design styles.
-He doesn't go into deep detail about everything such as website design. This section feels rushed, or just slotted in there to say it's covered the topic. It covers only a particular type of websites.