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Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual Paperback – April 1, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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  • Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Timothy Samara is a graphic designer and educator based in New York City, where he divides his time between consulting, writing, and teaching at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons School of Design, NYU, and Purchase College. He is the author of several books for Rockport Publishers, including Making and Breaking the Grid, Typography Workbook, Publication Design Workbook, Type Style Finder and Design Elements.
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Product Details

  • Series: Design Elements
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rockport Publishers; First Edition edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592532616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592532612
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a graphic designer with little academic preparation in the field (my college major was in psychology, supplemented by a handful of college-level art classes and several continuing education classes in Adobe software & printing technologies), I rely heavily on books for my continued growth and education. Over the past few years, I've amassed a rather large library of graphic design books. The vast majority of my collection falls into one of two categories - either "technical" (dealing with software & printing techniques) or "eye candy" (fun to look at and good for inspiring a new idea now and then, but not suited to actually improving my design skills). Timothy Samara's books are one of the few exceptions. I actually *read* his books and learn a great deal about design from them.

Design Elements is the best primer on graphic design I've encountered. It starts out with 20 rules for good design, while readily admitting that rules are meant to be broken, once you fully understand them and can break them *deliberately*. It goes on to cover the topics of form & space, color, typography, images, and layout. Finished examples are combined with simple thumbnail "studies" that illustrate the concepts quite well and provide you a springboard for playing around on your own. The textual portions are concise and well-written.

I heartily recommend this book for anyone seeking a serious, concise overview of all the major elements of graphic design - whether you're a student or a seasoned professional looking for a good reference book/refresher. Yes, there are books out there that cover each of these topics in much greater depth. But for what this book attempts to do, it does amazingly well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the design elements of a unique placement of page numbers in the margin to very colorful representations of design elements, this book is well-worth the price. Far to often, other books attempt to explain color rendering and shape meanings without investing in professional demonstrations of the concepts. The mechanics of type, the texture of form and space, and composition strategies are well presented. A veteran graphics designer will find this book a refreshing creativity stimulant, and the new designer will find this book a genesis of ideas. I reach for this book whenever I need some brain/eye design candy.

Ok, the book was not perfect. My technical communication background is the source of my quibble with the author's choice to use a light gray type in the body text against a white page. When the reader struggles with the difficulty of the read, there is a reduction in the transfer of information. It is as if to say, look only at the color because all the information is in the graphics - yet there was good information presented in the body text.
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Format: Paperback
this book provides information in a simple manner but its visual details are distracting. one of my biggest criticisms of this books is the use of a grey body text color against white or light grey backgrounds which makes the legibility and patience to get through the body text painful.

However, samara provides some quick and easily accessible information where he uses the correct body text contrast and bigger visuals; including his 20 rules and basics of typography. I would moreso recommend ellen lupton's the new basics of graphic design and thinking with type as introductions but you can't really beat the value of this book at under $20
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sorry, I should have read the other reviews warning how this book is impossible to read.

This book might contain useful information except that I can't read the damn thing. The typeface is extremely small, and it's light-gray on white. Some of the visual examples have captions with type that is less than 2mm high. Even with perfect vision you need a magnifying glass!

I've learned a little from this book from squinting, but I have to admit that this book is just too frustrating. I've been on Amazon probably since it opened, and this is going to be the first book I return.
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Format: Paperback
I have purchased a lot of books from Amazon; this is the first time I have actually taken the time to write a review. I have decided to take a minute to write this review simply because I am so impressed with this book.

I have been creating various media that involve graphic design; including web design, print material, graphics for video, etc., for about three years now. Like many other people, I am 100% self taught. I have never been to graphic design school or taken classes in the field. So I don't know the basic fundamentals of Graphic Design & color treatment, and often find myself struggling with creativity and coming up with ideas.

This book lays out the fundamentals really well. One of the nice things about this book is this; all of the examples are modern illustrations that you see in the real world today that reflect really good design. Not some hokie, boring examples that you see in a lot of other books. I have a lot more that I want to say but I will keep it short. I will say this; if you are like me a self taught web designer, print developer, or work with graphic design in any other capacity and struggle with ideas and creativity, YOU GOTTA GET THIS BOOK!!! This book is definitely opening new doors of creativity for me.

Joseph K.
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