The Non-Designer's Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice / Edition 3

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Overview

A lot has happened in the world of digital design since the first edition of this title was published, but one thing remains true: There is an ever-growing number of people attempting to design pages with no formal training. This book is the one place they can turn to find quick, non-intimidating, excellent design help from trusted design instructor Robin Williams. This revised classic--now in full color--includes a new section on the hot topic of Color itself. In The Non-Designer's Design Book, 3rd Editio n, Robin turns her attention to the basic principles that govern good design. Readers who follow her clearly explained concepts will produce more sophisticated and professional pages immediately. Humor-infused, jargon-free prose interspersed with design exercises, quizzes, and illustrations make learning a snap--which is just what audiences have come to expect from this best-selling author.


Most experienced designers agree: though HTML offers unlimited opportunities to present information, it is a lousy place to learn design techniques, and all too often publishers let HTML limitations dictate pages that are ugly, boring and difficult to use. Don't be boxed in by HTML -- set your creativity free by learning basic design principles to use in creating innovative Web pages. This is the book recommended to teach even the visually-impaired the basics of layout and design, and it's drawn rave reviews from the Webmasters who frequent Web publishing newsgroups. One reader said "Most Web page design books just teach you various tricks and never teach you how to think and see. Robin's book talks about the basic principles which are equally applicable in We! b pages." Learn how to organize information effectively, the best typefaces to drive home your page's message, which colors and backgrounds are best for your needs and other basics of design, invaluable background for anyone hoping to create distinctive pages on the Web. If your design eye could use some refining, The Non-Designer's Design Book is the book you need.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Fatbrain Review

Most experienced designers agree: though HTML offers unlimited opportunities to present information, it is a lousy place to learn design techniques, and all too often publishers let HTML limitations dictate pages that are ugly, boring and difficult to use. Don't be boxed in by HTML -- set your creativity free by learning basic design principles to use in creating innovative Web pages. This is the book recommended to teach even the visually-impaired the basics of layout and design, and it's drawn rave reviews from the Webmasters who frequent Web publishing newsgroups. One reader said "Most Web page design books just teach you various tricks and never teach you how to think and see. Robin's book talks about the basic principles which are equally applicable in We! b pages." Learn how to organize information effectively, the best typefaces to drive home your page's message, which colors and backgrounds are best for your needs and other basics of design, invaluable background for anyone hoping to create distinctive pages on the Web. If your design eye could use some refining, The Non-Designer's Design Book is the book you need.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321534040
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press
  • Publication date: 2/26/2008
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 62,016
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author


Robin Williams is the author of dozens of best-selling and award-winning books, including The Non-Designer's D esign Book, The Non-Designer's Ty pe Book, The Little Mac Bo ok, Robin Williams Mac OS X B ook, Robin Williams Design Works hop, and Web Design Worksh op. Through her writing, teaching, and seminars, Robin has influenced a generation of computer users in the areas of design, typography, the Mac, desktop publishing, and the Web.
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Read an Excerpt


The Joshua Tree Principle

This short chapter explains the four basic principles in general, each of which will be explained in detail in the following chapters. But first I want to tell you a little story that made me realize the importance of being able to name things, since naming these principles is the key to power over them.

Many years ago I received a tree identification book for Christmas. I was at my parents' home, and after all the gifts had been opened I decided to go out and identify the trees in the neighborhood. Before I went out, I read through part of the book. The first tree in the book was the Joshua tree because it only took two clues to identify it. Now the Joshua tree is a really weird-looking tree and I looked at that picture and said to my- self "Oh, we don't have that kind of tree in Northern California. That is a weird-looking tree. I would know if I saw that tree, and I've never seen one before." So I took my book and went outside. My parents lived in a cul-de-sac of six homes. Four of those homes had Joshua trees in the front yard. I had lived in that house for thirteen years, and I had never seen a Joshua tree. I took a walk around the block, and there must have been a sale at the nursery when everyone was landscaping their new homes -at least 80 percent of the homes had Joshua trees in the front yards. And I had never seen one before! Once I was conscious of the tree, once I could name it, I saw it everywhere. Which is exactly my point. Once you can name something, you're conscious of it. You have power over it. You own it. You're in control.

So now you're going to learn the names of several design principles. And you are going to be in control of your pages.

The four basic principles

The following is a brief overview of the principles. Although I discuss each of these separately, keep in mind they are really interconnected, Rarely will you apply only one principle.

Contrast
The idea behind contrast is to avoid elements on the page that are merely similar. If the elements (type, color, size, line thickness, shape, space, etc.) are not the same, then make them very different. Contrast is often the most important visual attraction on a page.

Repetition
Repeat visual elements of the design throughout the piece. You can repeat color, shape, texture, spatial relationships, line thicknesses, sizes, etc. This helps develop the organization and strengthens the unity.

Alignment
Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily. Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the page. This creates a clean, sophisticated, fresh took,

Proximity
Items relating to each other should be grouped close together. When several items are in close proximity to each other, they become one visual unit rather than several separate units. This helps organize information and reduces clutter.

Umm . . .

When culling these principles from the vast morass of design theory, I thought there must be some appropriate and memorable acronym within these conceptual ideas that would help people remember them. Well, uh, there is a memorable-but very inappropriate- acronym. Sorry.

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Table of Contents

Design Principles
1 The Joshua Tree Epiphany
2 Proximity
3 Alignment
4 Repetition
5 Contrast
6 Review
7 Using Color
8 Extra Tips & Tricks

Designing Wth Type
9 Type (& Life)
10 Categories of Type
11 Type Contrasts

Extras
12 So, Does it Make Sense?
13 Answers to Quizzes
14 Typefaces in this Book
Appendix
Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2002

    Even a techy can understand this

    As an analytical type -- creative, but without artistic ability, previous classes and books on 'design' that were all theory haven't helped at all. This book gives solid principles that can be approached like a brain teaser for left-brained people. The second half is about font styles and using them together. It's like getting two books in one and for a very reasonable price. The layout makes for fast, enjoyable reading and is an excellent example of the principles taught and their value. Having this earlier would have saved a lot of time on production and redesign of my web sites.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2003

    Great explanation of basic design principles

    This book is a must-read for anyone involved with design and layout. Robin Williams actually explains why and how to do certain things to create effective designs and layouts. The book is easy to read and uses tons of helpful examples. Even if you're a novice, this book will drastically improve your ability to design effectively. Although the book is about designing printed material, I am a web designer and have found the principles highly applicable to web design as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2001

    Excellent Strategies for Layout

    I've taken desktop publishing classes at a local college, but the one thing I didn't learn was: 'Simple strategies on how to lay out a page so that it looks good.' This author gives specifics and lots of before/afters. I now save time and feel more confident with my finished product. A bonus: some of the things I'm anal about, the author is, too! Nice to know I'm not the only person out there who's detail oriented....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    Great for the amateur who needs to look professional!

    This book is perfect for those of us without any graphic design background or education who need to create professional-looking publications. Great examples and visuals throughout the book solidify the points being made at the moment they are being made. The author is straightforward and challenges readers to get out of their comfort zone to create really phenomenal work.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2011

    Graphics do not display well

    This book was recommended and I was quite excited that I could get it for my NookColor. But it uses graphics to illustrate font combinations and illustrations of good layout - unfortunately the graphics are not crisp - they do not display well on the Nook Color. This is an example of why there is a 14-day trial period, and why I should have used it instead of going ahead and purchasing the book immediately. Also, it is a very short book - only 115 pages. The content is good but not worth the price for little content and poor graphics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2010

    Amazing

    This is a great book! It is so simply and easy to follow. It incorporates many visual examples which makes it easier to understand. I highly recommend it for both teachers and students.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    Want to learn more about design but don't need to be at an expert level?

    The Non-Designer's Design Book breaks down the four basic principles of design in a straightforward (and often humorous) manner. Through examples, illustrations, and short practice quizzes, you'll learn some techniques that will improve your chances of getting your message across. It is an easy read that is well worth the short investment in time. You'll be sure to get a few tips (if not more) that you can use right away. Geared toward those between the beginner and intermediate levels.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2001

    The one book to have!

    I've been teaching journalism to high school students for over 20 years; this book is an invaluable resource. Design concepts are clearly and concisely explained. If you don't have a lot of time to spend studying design but you need some basics, this is definitely the book for you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2001

    Great book for those of us who are artistically challenged

    Brilliant - I took the 'Design for Non-Designers' B&N online course, which was very good, and bought this book as recommended reading after I finished the course. Very good for those of us who are very computer literate but 'all thumbs' when it comes to design.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2000

    Excellent and easy to read!

    Great book and very easy to read. Read it cover to cover in 2 days and it really opened my eyes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    Great for everyone (INCLUDING Designers)

    I've been doing internet and graphic design for many years, but this book was just what I needed to help explain my ideas and reinforce my suspisions (for good design). The book (and author) even gave me some new ideas on what to do. And, even though I deal with the web quite a bit, this book's ideas and poiters can be applied there too. For example, having graphics and text 'line up' and form 'hard edges,' amongst other suggestions and tips. I wish to thank Robin Williams personnaly for such a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

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