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Robin Williams Design Workshop [Paperback]

Robin Williams , John Tollett
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Oct 2000 Robin Williams Design Workshop

Robin Williams introduced design and typographic principles to legions of readers with her best-selling Non-Designer's book series. Now she and designer/co-author John Tollett take you to the next level of creative design with practical advice and lessons in composition, visual impact, and design challenges.

Presented in Robin and John's signature style—writing that is so crystal clear, it's accessible to absolutely anyone—and illustrated with hundreds of full-color design examples, the ideas in this book tackle design theory, visual puns, and layout and graphics strategies for real-world projects. Developing designers will appreciate the author's imaginative approach and well-chosen examples.

  • Discover practical and effective design principles and concept–and how to apply them to virtually any project.
  • Learn why some designs are attention-getting and others are not.
  • Learn how to choose just the right look—corporate or casual, classic or trendy—for specific types of projects, such as business cards, letterhead and envelopes, newsletters and brochures, logos, advertising, and more.
  • Test your design acumen by comparing before-and-after examples.
  • Find a wealth of inspiration for your own design projects.
  • Gain insight into the design process by studying the works of guest designers, who offer their personal commentary and insights.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (26 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201700883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201700886
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 22.6 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

If you just stumbled into design, maybe via a hobby that grew into a career, and you want to improve your work without having to enrol in a degree program, this book can bridge some of the gaps in your acumen. Not really a primer on basic facts, Design Workshop is more like a guide to style.

The first chapter quizzes readers on mostly technical, basic details of design (like dpi), all of which can be found in Williams's previous publications (for example, The Non-Designer's Design Book). Readers will be dismayed, or maybe annoyed, that the quiz answers are not provided. Even if not knowing the answers means that you need remedial help, it feels like a bit of a tease.

The next chapters show how to use stock images, or your own images, to increase the visual impact of your piece (basically through an increase in contrast). The best part of this section, and the book as a whole, is the "before and after" approach in the examples; they are like a series of makeovers. The captions effectively describe what was changed in the image and how it improved the design.

The book applies a similar set of makeovers to various types of design projects: logos, forms, newsletters, tables of contents, etc. In the final section, seven designers, including co-author Tollett, break down the process they went through on a job of their own.

Self-taught graphic designers would probably make the best audience for this book, but designers who are of their own "school of thought" may find fault with some of the tenets put forth. Graphic design is by nature a subjective enterprise--at the mercy of "styles". What you get in this book is more of a "desktop publisher style". There is a lack of sophistication in the design of the book as well as in the illustrations of posters, letterheads, advertisements and other applications that are used as examples. On the other hand, this same open, naive look gives the book an inviting appeal, and makes it perhaps a bit less daunting than style guides intended for die-hard professionals, such as Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style. --Angelynn Grant

From the Back Cover

Learn design theory and practical know-how from the award-winning author/design team, Robin Williams and John Tollett

Robin Williams introduced design and typographic principles to legions of readers with her best-selling Non-Designer's book series. Now she and designer/co-author John Tollett take you to the next level of creative design with practical advice and lessons in composition, visual impact, and design challenges.

Presented in Robin and John's signature style—writing that is so crystal clear, it's accessible to absolutely anyone—and illustrated with hundreds of full-color design examples, the ideas in this book tackle design theory, visual puns, and layout and graphics strategies for real-world projects. Developing designers will appreciate the author's imaginative approach and well-chosen examples.

  • Discover practical and effective design principles and concept–and how to apply them to virtually any project.
  • Learn why some designs are attention-getting and others are not.
  • Learn how to choose just the right look—corporate or casual, classic or trendy—for specific types of projects, such as business cards, letterhead and envelopes, newsletters and brochures, logos, advertising, and more.
  • Test your design acumen by comparing before-and-after examples.
  • Find a wealth of inspiration for your own design projects.
  • Gain insight into the design process by studying the works of guest designers, who offer their personal commentary and insights.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The next step for "Non-designer's" 22 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a sequel to the four "Non-designer's" (ND) books written by Robin Williams - and you'd better read them before reading this book because there's a test as the first chapter! It's a very different book to the ND books. It's far less prescriptive, discussing alternative ways of design, rather than advising on the best way. Consequently it's a book to read and then use to dip into for ideas, rather than a "read and learn" book. It was therefore a surprise to a non-designer like me who was hoping for a little more definite guidance but, let's face it, once you've learnt the basics, design is all about experimentation. In this respect, the book is good. It has many examples, printed in full colour on good paper, with comments on each. It is well structured and laid out and is therefore easy to read and use for ideas. So, if you have read the ND series and feel you're ready to take the next steps, this book is worth buying.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good inspiration 26 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a self-taught designer, this book increased my understanding of why I design things the way I do. It also revealed the gaps in my knowledge (which I am now attempting to fill), and offered some good inspiration for new projects. Very easy to read, and dip in and out of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simple design help 17 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
not an academic work in case any students were wanting to use it but it is a great book if you want to get your basics in and build from there. i can highly recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-designers get another boost! 7 Nov 2001
By R. Stephen Gracey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a self-taught, working graphic designer, I am indebted once again to Robin Williams' clear, principle-based teaching approach. Having become her fan through the "Non-Designer" book series, I found this one the best help yet.
Williams gives us more principles of sound design, which she then shows at work through a series of daily applications--letterhead, web sites, brochures, etc. She uses the principles in example after example, explaining why they are examples of good or blah design. I return to her examples again and again for simple ideas to juice up my non-profit communications and raise my customers' expectations of visual communication.
Snazzy pictures, lots of ideas, and comforting encouragement all make this one an essential part of my reference library.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great learning experience 1 May 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am not a graphics artist nor an art student. I needed some ideas for a project and this book came in very handy. I learned a lot from "The Non-Designer's Design Book" by the same author and when I saw this book, I just had to get it. It is one of my best investments yet. I love learning new things and this book opened my eyes to many aspects of design.
At first, I was almost going to give up and hand over the project to a professional but after reading the book, I found many helpful ideas and was inspired to give it a try on my own. I produced a flyer, a Flash presentation, a product logo and a report layout and cover based on the lessons from these two books. I will not claim that they are works of art but many friends and clients have complemented on the outcome. Some of my clients even thought that I had had them professionally done.
Although there are others who will say that some of us just has the flair for designing, I don't think I would have been able to do all that without the help of these two books. For those of you who wish to create artwork for print, I would recommend starting with "The Non-Designer's Design Book" and then advancing to this book. Also check out some other books by the same publisher mentioned in the introductory chapter of this book.
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference 8 Mar 2001
By Frank Sinkavich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Robin Williams Design Workshop is a well written text that contains a lot of valuable information for both beginners and those already familiar with desk top publishing. Design Workshop gives you some new ways to look at things, including many good examples that demonstrate concepts discussed in the text. Design Workshop is directed at those who have some existing knowledge on the areas of typography, graphics, and layout software. However, she presents short quizzes that allow you to test your knowledge and if you feel the need, she also provides references where the information can be found. I do a lot of advertising layouts in addition to a quarterly newsletter that will benefit from the information and ideas discussed in the book. Robin Williams Design Workshop is the kind of a book you will read more than once-a good reference.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robin Williams Design Workshop 27 Nov 2000
By R. Monger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was very insightful. I am a desktop publishing professional and was looking for ideas for website design. This book enlightened me to the many considerations in designing for paper distribution versus web publishing. It asked questions on a number of design topics and based upon your expertise level, the author directed you to other references. The illustrations were great. I am going to purchase The Non-Designers Design Book and The Non-Designers Web Book by Robin Williams and John Tollett.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!! 1 April 2003
By desr333 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an easy read, cover to cover. Large colorful image examples and lots of space around text make the read easy and enjoyable. I love color examples especially when the subject is design. This is a great design reference and all around great book.
This was a definite idea generator. Working with web design, I find it difficult to find books that focus more on design aspects, and this book touches on many design aspects including web design, brochures, and all kinds of things! The Web design workshop book is more focused on web design, but this is an excellent companion to generate ideas and get great design concepts and ideas to keep in mind for any medium!
I love this book and the Web design workshop and can't wait to read more from the authors! I appreciate the layout of the book and the way it was made easy to follow. I hate reading books that are too technical and full of text from top to bottom, and this book was so refreshing because it's just the opposite! The authors also kept in mind that some readers would be experienced designers and some beginners and accommodate us all with style and grace. Thanks Robin and John!
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