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Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design Second Edition, Revised and Updated Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 008-0665005640
ISBN-10: 1592535879
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Lidwell is the Director of Design at Stuff Creators Design in Houston, Texas. He is author of the best-selling design book, Universal Principles of Design, which has been translated into 12+ languages; Deconstructing Product Design, a social deconstruction of 100 classic products; and lecturer of two video series on design: "How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals" available from The Great Courses, and "The Science of Logo Design" available from Lynda.com.

William Lidwell writes, speaks, and consults on topics of design and engineering. He is the author of multiple books including the best-selling design book Universal Principles of Design, which has been translated into 16 languages. He lives in Houston, TX.William Lidwell writes, speaks, and consults on topics of design and engineering. He is the author of multiple books including the best-selling design book Universal Principles of Design, which has been translated into 16 languages. He lives in Houston, TX.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rockport Publishers; Second Edition, Revised and Updated edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592535879
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592535873
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthias Schreck on July 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
A UX colleague of mine initially recommended this book to me, and I started leafing through it. And when I looked up again, I had read half of the 125 snippets that make up this book...

This is the strength of this book - instead of taking one theory and squeezing 300 pages out of it (as so many other design and UX books do), it deliberately dedicates exactly 2 pages for each theory. The left side of this bigger-than-A4 book is dedicated towards theory, with very handy references of where one can find out more about the theory, while the right side has good visual examples of how this theory maps out in the real world.

For a seasoned professional, many of the theories will be well-known, but I was still surprised by the often clever cross-referencing to other pieces of research that made me think anew about the theory. Also, the authors made a fantastic effort in boiling down often very wordy theories into a few very concise paragraphs.

I also really liked the mix of theories: there is a lot of design, a lot of psychology, evolutionary biology, Gestalt and other research on perception, motivators, and many other things... this is a strength of this book because everybody who reads it will find something new from a related discipline, and the book makes it obvious why this is still relevant.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, also because it's easy to just pick it up, read a couple of theories and put it back down. I recommend it very much for people who always wondered what some of the names of the theories were that they were using on a daily basis, but also for students of design and UX who want to "cheat" and get really handy quick explanations of complicated subject matters without having to fight their way through the often tedious books of these areas.
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We used this as a group study book at work to help our software design skills. This book it packed with useful and interesting topics. The only difficulty for what we are using it for is we need to make the connection between the concepts and how it applies to software. This is a great mental exercise but does take significantly more brain power than if the application to software were laid out directly in the book. There is an immense amount of content in this book and I think we will be exploring many of the topics in more depth in future discussions.

On a non work side my wife wants to pick this up and read because of the interesting application it has to every day life and advertising. Overall a very interesting and insightful book.
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I'm a college student majoring in interactive media and I bought this book for independent study. My degree courses often deal with specific aspects or applications of design, but I wanted to gain a better understanding of general design principles. I am happy to report that this book is rich with design information that can be utilized by all species of designers!

Each topic is given two pages - one page is more text-heavy and the other has visuals that demonstrate or exemplify the design principle at hand. Despite the seemingly brief dedication to each principle, the book is dense, efficient, and favors minimalism so although you may be able to scan over a principle in seconds, you need to take the time and study the information being presented in order to soak all of it in. Lidwell does a fantastic job at providing a survey of some of the most pertinent design principles. I foresee referencing this book throughout the rest of university studies and beyond.
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Very readable, interesting, and well designed book. You'll find yourself flipping through the pages without stopping (just one more page!).

That said, I was a bit disappointed on two accounts.
One- The breadth of topics is great, but the book is a dictionary not a text-book. Each topic is covered in short from a very high theoretical level. Each topic gets two pages, a description page and an example page. Frequently there only few really substantial sentences for the description, and the examples can be a bit contrived. You turn the page wishing there was some more substance.

Second- The practical use of the book is limited. Since the book is trying to target ALL cross-disciplinary design it sometimes loses focus and relevance from any designer. A lot of interesting psychological principles are brought in the book which arguably have any relevance to design.

In short- interesting and well designed but leaves you wanting more.
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Format: Paperback
As a developer, I often under appreciated design. This book is so broad, that it really forces you to accept that design IS everywhere. It also helps with the terminology used by designers and arms you with the names many design elements. It really makes you think of everything a little differently, such as the closure used in the Amazon logo.

On the other hand, it is rather light on detail and application... I over came this by taking notes and forcing my self to think about "how could this principle be applied to web design" I was always successful at finding at least one way. Which in it's self is a design principle "Depth of processing," helps you remember things better.
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