- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 29, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1119998956
- ISBN-13: 978-1119998952
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 107 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty 1st Edition
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"David Kadavy is the Malcom Gladwell of web design"
-Noah Kagan, Founder, AppSumo.com
"Kadavy's book does an excellent job of linking the theoretical to the practical in a very readable format."
-Brad Feld, Co-Founder, TechStars
"clear yet engaging and comprehensive"
-Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine
"those coding [our world's] software and user interfaces and threading the web should all learn what this book has to teach"
-Gareth Branwyn, MAKE Magazine
From the Back Cover
"If you want to learn to create great design yourself...there simply is no way to do so with lists of rules. Instead, I want to provide you with a new set of eyes through which you can see the world anew." -David Kadavy
Why did Monet never use the color black on his paintings?
Why is the golden ratio not all it's cracked up to be?
Why is Comic Sans such a hated font?
It's amazing what you can learn about great web design by asking questions like these. Award-winning designer David Kadavy uses this "reverse-engineering" process in Design for Hackers to deconstruct classical design principles and techniques for web designers. Using an eclectic array of reverse-engineered examples, ranging from Twitter's latest redesign, to Target's red shopping carts, and ancient graffiti from the walls of Pompeii, he explains:
- Color Theory: How can you enliven your designs by understanding how colors interact?
- Proportion and Geometry: How can you establish a grid that is suitable for the device on which your design with be displayed?
- Size and Scale: How can you create clean design just by choosing the right type sizes?
- White Space: How can you use it elegantly to communicate clearly?
- Composition and Design Principles: How can you use them to make your designs more compelling?
- Typographic Etiquette: What tiny typographic details can make a huge difference in what you're communicating?
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Top customer reviews
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This isn't a guidebook to tell you how to design awesome stuff (not sure that could ever really exist), instead it guides you on how to make better decisions. Why should you use X font instead of Y font? Why is iconography important? It is an easy to read book that is worthwhile. It has some heft to it, but I found I was blasting through chapters very quickly -- so it seems well balanced. I feel like it was a smart purchase.
If you are a total beginner looking for a book to tell you how to get a super slick site that will be revered by all, well good luck finding that book. But if you want to learn, pick it up. It isn't that expensive and you'll have a better understanding of design.
Having designed several web sites and applications before without any form of design training or knowledge, I always felt like my designs were grossly lacking in a lot of ways. Designs seemed to always be based off of my gut feeling, and the opinions of other non-designers. While a gut check was good, my designs still sorely lacked.
After reading this book, I feel as though Kadavy makes it clear how I can approach my designs with a different perspective. His chapters on typography, proportion and color are fantastic examples of this. I no longer feel like I will be stabbing in the dark to find that perfect color, but now have some tools in my arsenal to get good jobs done quickly.
When I need the heady parts of design done and refined, I will still probably need to hire a designer, BUT with this book, as a hacker, It has set me off in the right direction to either leave my knowledge as is, and put out really good designs, or pursue a greater understanding of design but with a solid foundation.
As a hacker, my time is money, and every day fiddling around with something is another day lost in terms of making great applications. This book will reduce my time fiddling with design, and increase my time focusing on my apps' functionality.
That said, it isn't a perfect text (though still gets 5 stars in my opinion). There is a very fine line between a lot of information and too much information. Kadavy walks this line VERY well in this book, but at some points I felt as though it was a little too much info that was not giving me any more practical information. Also, it seemed like every figure in the book was a page ahead of where it was being referenced, so I was constantly flipping back and forth.
With that said, these negatives are extremely small compared to how much practical information I pulled from the text. The book is excellently written and designed.
Enter Design for Hackers. It has the right mix of concrete examples and theory.
The book is an easy read. It has nine chapters and two appendix sections. I casually read a chapter or two a day over a week. It has lots of examples and images to illustrate the design concepts.
The book includes many actionable resources: It has links to online color scheme tools. It also has a chart with a useful fonts and suggestions for pairing them up.
So, if you want to get better at design, get the book. It will be worth your time to read. Even if you don't get around to reading it, the chart of fonts and their pairings make it really useful.
The book is very thorough. It puts each concept in historical context. For instance the chapter on fonts starts out with cave painting in pre-historic times, goes into ancient Greek letter chiseling on stone, then through the Renaissance and then finally to modern web browsers. While this sounds tedious it was quite interesting and relevant.
It breaks down design concepts and explores the conpets in both famous pieces of art and modern webpages trying to illustrate how the same design concepts are used in both.
My one complaint, and why I didn't give it 5 stars, is that it is not geeky enough for me. There are no code examples or quick "How to" sections. These are things a hacker might be used to having in a reference. But this book is more theoretical, one that requires reading from start to finish, then a quick reference guide that has code samples. Nevertheless I am still learning a lot from it and it is slowly helping my webpage designs look and feel better.
I would recommend it, but keep in mind it is not a "quick fix" for web design.
Most recent customer reviews
Had very good snippets of content throughout
Content was scattered, needs more structure
Most topics not covered in comprehensive manner,...Read more