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Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty [Paperback]

David Kadavy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 24.99
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Book Description

21 Oct 2011
Discover the techniques behind beautiful design?by deconstructing designs to understand them The term ′hacker′ has been redefined to consist of anyone who has an insatiable curiosity as to how things work—and how they can try to make them better. This book is aimed at hackers of all skill levels and explains the classical principles and techniques behind beautiful designs by deconstructing those designs in order to understand what makes them so remarkable. Author and designer David Kadavy provides you with the framework for understanding good design and places a special emphasis on interactive mediums. You′ll explore color theory, the role of proportion and geometry in design, and the relationship between medium and form. Packed with unique reverse engineering design examples, this book inspires and encourages you to discover and create new beauty in a variety of formats. Breaks down and studies the classical principles and techniques behind the creation of beautiful design Illustrates cultural and contextual considerations in communicating to a specific audience Discusses why design is important, the purpose of design, the various constraints of design, and how today′s fonts are designed with the screen in mind Dissects the elements of color, size, scale, proportion, medium, and form Features a unique range of examples, including the graffiti in the ancient city of Pompeii, the lack of the color black in Monet′s art, the style and sleekness of the iPhone, and more By the end of this book, you′ll be able to apply the featured design principles to your own web designs, mobile apps, or other digital work.

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Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty + HTML & CSS: Design and Build Web Sites
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (21 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1119998956
  • ISBN-13: 978-1119998952
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David is the author of "Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty." He also blogs about design and entrepreneurship at, tweets on @kadavy, and is a mentor at the 500 Startups seed fund.

Previous to being an author, David studied the origins of typography in Rome, and designed for Silicon Valley startups such as oDesk, PBworks, and UserVoice. David's design work has been featured in Communication Arts Magazine.

Follow David on Twitter:
Read David's blog:

Product Description

From the Back Cover

"If you want to learn to create great design yourself...there simply is no way to do so with lists of rules. Instead, I want to provide you with a new set of eyes through which you can see the world anew."––– DAVID KADAVY WHY DID MONET NEVER USE THE COLOR BLACK IN HIS PAINTINGS? WHY IS THE GOLDEN RATIO NOT ALL IT′S CRACKED UP TO BE? WHY IS COMIC SANS SUCH A HATED FONT? It′s amazing what you can learn about great web design by asking questions like these. Award–winning designer David Kadavy uses this "reverse–engineering" process in Design for Hackers to deconstruct classical design principles and techniques from web designers. Using an eclectic array of reverse–engineered examples, ranging from Twitter′s latest redesign, to Target′s red shopping carts, and ancient graffiti from the walls of Pompeii, he explains: COLOR THEORY: How can you enliven your designs by understanding how colors interact? PROPORTION AND GEOMETRY: How can you establish a grid that is suitable for the device on which your design will be displayed? SIZE AND SCALE : How can you create clean design just by choosing the right type sizes? WHITE SPACE: How can you use it elegantly to communicate clearly? COMPOSITION AND DESIGN PRINCIPLES: How can you use them to make your designs more compelling? TYPOGRAPHIC ETIQUETTE: What tiny typographic details can make a huge difference in what you′re communicating?

About the Author

David Kadavy is a user interface designer whose clients include Silicon Valley startups such as oDesk, UserVoice, and PBworks. He led the design departments at two Silicon Valley startups and an architecture firm, taught a college course in typography, and studied ancient typography in Rome. David blogs about design at , and his Twitter handle is @kadavy .

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I think that most of us can instinctively spot a well designed website from a bad one but what this book does so effectively is to explain how. Therefore, if you're struggling to design or evaluate something visual, it gives you a conceptual foundation of how to consciously analyse the various design elements and provides a variety of helpful examples, tools and techniques to make improvements.

As the author rightly warns though, it's not an exhaustive how-to guide, especially from a technical perspective. However, it does make you feel that you have acquired a much better understanding of how to make things look good from first principles - which is perhaps even more useful for a non-design professional or someone relatively new to the discipline.

The product description covers the specific content areas well so I won't repeat. The only other thing I would add though is that I was impressed by how easy it was to read and take in. Perhaps check the first few pages on-line to gauge your own reaction but I certainly enjoyed it and, if you'd like to know more about design, I think that you probably will too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 17 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is extremely helpful for those of us web designers and developers that are great at coding but not so hot in the graphical design arena.

Personally I sometimes find it hard to conceptualise a new site and come up with designs. This book has helped me discover methods and ideas that will help me and my customers moving forward, buy it now if you want to be a better designer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a coder first, and design has always been very difficult for me. Over the years I tried to improve and study the subject area. When I saw Design for Hackers, I instantly liked it as I browsed through the pages at the bookstore. Later I ordered it from Amazon. It has been really helpful for me. I can recommend this book to any programmer/coder who is having difficulty creating compelling designs for their web applications / web pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD PRODUCT 10 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David has approached designing in a clear and new way, support with the web series is great. A good handbook.
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