The Non-Designer’s Design Book, 3rd Edition

Author: Robin Williams
Publisher: Peachpit Press, 2008
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-0321534040
Aimed at: Anyone producing print output
Rating: 4
Pros: Includes useful tips and eye-catching examples
Cons: Tends to be repetitive
Reviewed by: Sue Gee

Some people have a flair for visual design and can produce attractive layouts that combine the correct fonts and covey just the right message. The rest of us tend to struggle and despite our best efforts the results seem either to understated or too strident. Robin Williams believes it is possible for anyone to become a better designer simply by following four basic principles of design – proximity, alignment, contrast and repetition - and sets out in this book to teach them by example. She includes a chapter on each of these together with a chapter on using colour and one that presents extra tips and tricks for a range of printed materials such as flyers, brochures and adverts and also makes mention of websites - but only briefly as Ms Williams is also the co-author of “The Non-Designer’s Web Book”. The final chapters of the book are about type and typefaces which is where it tends to become repetitive. The reader is encouraged to be both critical and creative while reading and there are exercises to complete and quizzes (plus the answers). Even if you don’t always agree with its recommendations, this book will make you think about elements of design and the use of type and as is bound to lead to an improvement in your design skills.  

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