Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review: The Non-Designers Design Book

I do just about everything but the accounting here at Thursday Night Press, and that includes book cover design, web design and ad design. I thought I did an okay job at those things, but I knew I could do better. My work lacked a certain "professional" look I couldn't describe.

So I was curious when Amazon recommended to me The Non-Designer's Design Book, Fourth Edition by Robin Williams (ISBN 978-0-13-396615-2).

My opinion of the book is succinct: If you have to do graphic design, and are not professionally trained, buy this book and read it.

Williams opens the book by describing four main design principles:
  • contrast
  • repetition
  • alignment and
  • proximity
(Yes, they form a memorable acronym that Williams alludes to but never comes out and names. Neither will I.)

Well, I applied those principles to a web project I was working on—a Facebook catalog of TNP books—and the result was much better-looking than before, more interesting. And the most important thing was that I understood how and why the result was better.

Williams covers the four principles above, as well as color and typography. While she says she only barely touches on color theory and typography, I understand good color-scheme options better, and I can better pick typefaces that do and don't go together well. (I already knew all the typesetting rules she gave.)

This is not a thick book. And instead of lots of words, there are lots of pictures, so you can see what she means when she describes a concept and how to apply it. I understand she has another book out that goes deeper into typography; I intend to find it and read it, too.

I'll give this book 5 of 5 stars.