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Universal Principles of Design: 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design [Hardcover]

Jill Butler , Kritina Holden , Will Lidwell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Mar 2007
Whether a marketing campaign or a museum exhibit, a video game or a complex control system, the design we see is the culmination of many concepts and practices brought together from a variety of disciplines. Because no one can be an expert on everything, designers have always had to scramble to find the information and know-how required to make a design work - until now. This comprehensive, cross-disciplinary encyclopaedia of design pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the concepts applied in practice. From the "80/20" rule to chunking, from baby-face bias to Occam's razor and from self-similarity to storytelling, every major design concept is defined and illustrated for readers to expand their knowledge.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rockport Publishers Inc.; 1st Edition edition (2 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592530079
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592530076
  • Product Dimensions: 26.6 x 21.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you go to your local bookshop, and browse the section on Design books, you will see a selection of curiously bound offerings. But you will be very very hard pressed to find a book that genuinely covers design in a broad sense.
The problem, it seems, as manifested by places like The Design Museum, is that the concept 'design' has become equated with appearance. This narrow perspective allows designers to shirk the responsibilities they have to end users in the design process. All too often a newly graduated designer will seek to stamp their personality or ideas on a product, flagrantly disregarding the basic principles of design.
In one fell swoop, this book destroys any excuses designers may have. It is itself an elegant, highly accessible and successful example of good design. Each concept is covered in narrative, by reference and by example(s).
From Occam's Razor, Affordability, Hick's Law to many areas not immediately obvious, the breadth of the book is wonderful, and no subject is anything other than easily understood.
This coverage is no mean effort, and the beneficiaries cross all industries.
Mandatory reading and reference for anyone who calls themselves a designer.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be on the curriculum 4 May 2004
By A Customer
absolutely brilliant, should be required reading for all design courses. Clear and concise delivery of design theory, matched with excellent real world examples, make this a must for all those studying design at any level. The theory will help you examine your own work and that of others in a more technically analitical way.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Suprise! 23 April 2004
I'm a student at University studying Graphic Design - I bought this bookon the off chance that it might have something relevant to my course init. I flipped through the book quickly and had learnt a huge amount within5 minutes - the book isnt targeted for my course but all the informationwill help me improve as a designer a huge amount. From learning aboutcolour to finding out about how people interpret what they see, this bookhas it all!
Whatever field of design your in, this book will definately be somethingyou will read and reread when thinking about how your next project willprogress! All I can say is buy it now!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Universal principles of Design: 12 Mar 2004
If you are looking for a solid design concept book. this is the one to buy.
This book explores a wide range of design principles from a range of industries, from web design to ergonomics. The easy to use layout structure of the information helps make this a strong reference point in any designers toolbox. Each section is split into spreads; on the left hand page is a concise and helpful explanation of a design principle, on the right a series of visual examples of how the principle has been and can be used.
This book will not provide a solution to all your design problems but will give you enough background knowledge to explore other avenues of design research.
All in all a very solid book and a recommended purchase.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all designers 14 July 2005
Universal Principles of Design, subtitled "100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design" is essentially a directory of all those design terms and "buzz phrases" that you know you ought to know the meaning of. The authors have chosen 100 design ideas and concepts and devote a double-page spread to each. Concepts such as Ockham's Razor, Fibonacci Sequence, Iteration and Legibility (the basics that all designers must understand) are beautifully described and illustrated with excellent examples to illustrate each point.
This is a general design reference but the wide range of examples include websites, books, posters, technical illustartions and photographs. In each case the examples used are appropriate perfectly illustrate the topic. All students of design should read this book and all designers should at least consider it a check list for their own knowledge and understanding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A great book, however this particular edition with 100 principles is now out of date and a revised edition, released Jan 2010, has an extra 25 design principles! (3 stars to hopefully get this to appear in the highlighted reviews). I've added a comment to this review with a link to the new edition...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything they never taught me at art school 10 Feb 2009
At long last, something about making designs actually WORK in real life. Books and courses that inspire and show cutting edge trends and styles are great, but they shouldn't be the only thing.

Buy this book if you want practical, solid, tried and tested, timeless wisdom that apply equally to eye-catching posters, car dashboards, beautiful artworks, office building layouts, websites, instruction manuals and in fact anything else that is ever used by a human being.

Don't buy it if you think that design books must never be more than "Here's what I think was high fashion a few months ago".

This book is almost everything I was disappointed not to be told at art school. It's practical, straight to the point, tried and tested principles that work. Most are properly scientifically tested, and some are built out of science first, then adapted into artistic principles that have since been shown to work.

Note 'principles', not 'techniques'. An important thing to know about this book is you need to think hard and fast to get the most out of it. This book does NOT patronise you by telling you how to do your job - it doesn't even presume to know what your job is. It gives you the facts, what each principle is, what the evidence/theory/background to the idea is, a few proven tips and pointers to get you thinking, and then gives a few illustrated examples. It's up to you to work out whether it applies and how to apply it to the job in hand.

Here's an example of one of my favourites, p38-39, 'Color'. It's a neat, crisp double page spread that explains the useful bits of colour theory in plain English. On the left, there's 5 simple, clear paragraphs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not to be read cover to cover, but an absolute delight
I bought this from a recommendation in another book I was reading. I am no designer, but after reading A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink, I was inspired to look into the area. Read more
Published on 10 April 2009 by Richard Pascoe
1.0 out of 5 stars Three strikes in one attempt..
If the authors knew anything /at all/ about usability, increasing appeal or design decisions, they would've come up with a significantly shorter title. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2008 by Anders
5.0 out of 5 stars Design with reason
A fantastic book that serves as an introducer to governing theories and principles in all aspects of design, from Gesalt to Fitt's Law laid out in a way that means the information... Read more
Published on 22 May 2007 by Mr. Lawrence Kitson
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and direct
Altough the aesthetics of this book are on the "cold" side and in may ways not in keeping with the information, I think that this is a super book. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2007 by Frank Blank
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
This book is fantastic for all people who are either studying some kind of design subject at University (like myself) or even if you are already a designer. Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2006 by Mr. M. Moorhouse
5.0 out of 5 stars All the concepts you'll ever refer to
This is a compendium of concepts, ideas, movements, buzzwords, that cover an enormous range - from Occam's Razor to the 80/20 rule - but which all contribute to design thinking. Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2006 by L. Pemberton
1.0 out of 5 stars felt like being in primary school.
When i first opened this book I was shocked by the uniform layout and illustrations throughout the entire book. Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2006 by Mr. Mj Wilson
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