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Non-Designer's Design Book, The 4th Edition
For nearly 20 years, designers and non-designers alike have been introduced to the fundamental principles of great design by author Robin Williams. Through her straightforward and light-hearted style, Robin has taught hundreds of thousands of people how to make their designs look professional using four surprisingly simple principles. Now in its fourth edition, The Non-Designer’s Design Book offers even more practical design advice, including a new chapter on the fundamentals of typography, more quizzes and exercises to train your Designer Eye, updated projects for you to try, and new visual and typographic examples to inspire your creativity.
Whether you’re a Mac user or a Windows user, a type novice, or an aspiring graphic designer, you will find the instruction and inspiration to approach any design project with confidence.
This essential guide to design will teach you
- The four principles of design that underlie every design project
- How to design with color
- How to design with type
- How to combine typefaces for maximum effect
- How to see and think like a professional designer
- Specific tips on designing newsletters, brochures, flyers, and other projects.
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About the Author
Robin Williams is the author of dozens of bestselling and award-winning books, including The Non-Designer's Presentation Book, The Non-Designer's InDesign Book, and The Mac is not a typewriter. Through her writing, teaching, and seminars, Robin has educated and influenced an entire generation of computer users in the areas of design, typography, desktop publishing, the Mac, and the Web.
- Publisher : Peachpit Press; 4th edition (November 19, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0133966151
- ISBN-13 : 978-0133966152
- Item Weight : 14.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 7 x 0.65 x 9.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #45,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2021
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It's hard to absorb material that consist of many daunting paragraphs that either beat around the bush or throw terms with definitions at me left and right. It also doesn't help when the pages are usually littered with distracting graphics and colors to try and give it style, which I find to be ironically counterproductive. And if the school curriculum itself doesn't help put the fundamental principals into practice with every assignment, it's like trying to sprint before you can properly walk.
Now at the near-end of my program, I really wish I would've came across this book when I started out. It has helped my confidence in a way that reading endless amounts of articles and watching TED Talks could not. I keep wrestling with this idea that, despite my good grades and everything I have learned, I would never feel like I could produce something that I would actually consider a pretty good design. I would open a new document and never know where to begin. At first I thought it was because I wasn't creative, then I thought I was just a demotivated person in general, then I started to think my college curriculum was the biggest issue (too much emphasis on students knocking out assignments instead of learning), which for me resulted in a lot of trial and error to make a good design. Sometimes I lucked out and sometimes it was meh. All this doing and not enough knowing was starting to make me doubt this career path. It wasn't until I cracked opened this book and realized the big problem, I needed to go back to basics.
It's straight-forward, uses very clear examples, and covers many topics; much of it pertaining to making print materials. Although a couple of things that weren't covered were grids and logos, I can make up for these in another hard-to-read textbook I have. It doesn't go super in-depth since this is meant more for beginners, but it still touches on each thing with a great amount of information so the reader understands each topic very well, all while using a plain layout for its information. After getting through this, I can highly suggest the book to anyone not feeling that great about their abilities if they're still fairly new to learning graphic design. Only people I probably wouldn't recommend this for are those at university or people disciplined enough to teach themselves, as this book may be nothing new to them. For me, this book has retaught me a lot of what I should already know by now, but embarrassed to say that I really didn't. Even though I have obviously studied these principles in order to get to this point, nothing I have read/watched/heard have really explained in plain English on how to put these things into practice. And that not knowing was the thing holding me back. I now have good reference material for whenever I start self-doubting.
Robin Williams has made learning graphic design quite easier than I have been perceiving the subject this whole time, all in this one quick read. I now feel more ready to go back to the heavier material on these subjects, and actually memorize it all. Also, I'm only now realizing the hardest part over the years was learning Adobe's three main pieces of software and using them to their full potential, which seems like an endless journey in itself. It's almost aggravating realizing that I retained probably more from this book in one day, than the hundreds of dollars worth of college textbooks that mostly sat in my backpack each semester.
Now I'm not saying this book will surely make you a pro after reading it all. I am saying that many people, like me, do much better when the material is explained as simply as possible, with effective visuals in a non-intimidating format. If you need something concise that starts from the beginning principles, and expands on them to make you more comfortable in creating professional looking layouts, I think this is the best option.
If you read just one book on graphic design, it should be this.
I would give this book 10 stars if I could!
Cover aside, the interior of this book was quite lovely. Well designed, with ample examples of before/after design and specific techniques and tips. The title of the book is accurate: it is definitely for the non-designer (like me); I imagine designers and all but the most novice design students would be frustrated by the basic nature of this book. For me, I found validation that my organizational and alignment instincts were on target, but that I played it too safe with respect to contrast and creating visual interest. As my husband says, I am a little too matchy-matchy. But now I feel like I have the principles to start pushing my boundaries. I especially appreciated that the author included all the information about fonts used in the book.
Minor criticisms: There were places that design terminology was used but not adequately explained (e.g., traditional typesetting terms). I would be cautious following the resume advice; it might make your print resume pretty, but will not translate into online systems and may actually damage your chances of being “found.” In today’s world electronic and mobile world, I rarely get paper newsletters; it would be useful to have at least some basic advice about using these design principles in tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact where there are system constraints.
Summary: 3 stars (4 stars overall minus 1 star for the bad cover)
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 25, 2019