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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not a designer, and I liked this book
I'm not a designer. That much is obvious from looking at the websites I produce that haven't been designed by someone else. That doesn't mean I don't care though; which is why on Christmas day last year I ordered this book.

I've only just got round to reading the book, but I'm glad I did. As a learning book it's deliberately quite lightweight and easy to get...
Published on 9 Mar 2010 by Neil Crosby

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2.0 out of 5 stars Be careful of the advice!
It's an interesting book on how to best layout your materials, based on four principles - contrast, proximity, alignment and repetition.
However, I give it only 3 stars because she advises to eliminate Times New Roman font from all computers. DON'T!! I know many recruitment firms that read CVs and cover letters only if they're in TNR as it is professional, readable,...
Published 1 month ago by Professional


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not a designer, and I liked this book, 9 Mar 2010
By 
Neil Crosby - See all my reviews
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I'm not a designer. That much is obvious from looking at the websites I produce that haven't been designed by someone else. That doesn't mean I don't care though; which is why on Christmas day last year I ordered this book.

I've only just got round to reading the book, but I'm glad I did. As a learning book it's deliberately quite lightweight and easy to get through in a short time, in the same way that Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" is designed to be absorbed in a couple of hours on a flight. All told, I spent about three hours with this book, on my tube journeys to and from work this week.

Robin starts her journey by briefly explaining the concepts of Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity (anyone spot an acronym there?), before moving on to explore each concept in greater detail. As Robin repeatedly tells us in her book, by being able to name the concepts you're able to identify them and use them deliberately rather than accidentally.

The second half of the book deals with type; the different styles of typefaces, how to combine them and horrible errors of judgement to avoid.

Spread throughout the book are a bunch of mini quizzes and exercises designed to get you thinking about what you've just read. The quizzes are a nice touch, and I'm sure I've retained more knowledge because of them than I would have done if I'd just read through from cover to cover.

The book covers design in general, rather than being focused on the web, print or presentations. Whilst Williams has written a book called "The Non-Designer's Web Book" I specifically chose to buy this one because both I wanted a general overview book and because the web book is from 2005 (a lifetime ago on the web) and has some mixed reviews. "The Non-Designer's Design Book" did not disappoint - it's given me that overview that I was looking for, and I now feel a bit more comfortable that my designs will actually work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Intro for Non-Designers, 26 Jun 2009
By 
Robert Cooper "robcthegeek" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I am a software developer so I am naturally awful at creating things that look good ;)

I am very much aware of user experience though, and I hate the idea that I am potentially creating something useful that no one ever wants to pick up because of bad UI designer.

This author came highly recommended to be, and I can see why. Robin does an excellent job of breaking down the concepts of design and demonstrating them. This book has really opened my eyes to the basic principles of good design and made an excellent "foot in the door".

A must for those that are not naturally artistic-creatives :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely for hardcore coders, 17 Jun 2013
By 
U. Sule "RV" - See all my reviews
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If you are heavily focused in coding and really struggle with design like me, this book will be a guaranteed help.

I really struggle to start off my designs, but it's much easier to improve a bad one. This book really helps you understand the fundamentals of design, and colour; from there all you need to do is practice.

Brilliant and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book for a developer who 'can't' design!, 12 April 2013
By 
Neil Nand "Developer, traveler & climber" (Wiltshire, England (UK)) - See all my reviews
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This has to be one of the best books I've read.

I'm a web developer (not designer at all) and after reading this book it's the first time I feel like I can actually design something because it tells you the principles of design in plain English and concentrates on making sure you can name these principles, as once you've named them you can understand and implement them.

There's no wishy washy arty design stuff in this, much more 'concrete' principles that are actually described and well defined.

If you're a developer who thinks you can't design because you don't have that 'flare' or creative spark (I was) then this will change that!

If you're interested in a more in-depth review here's a link to my blog:
[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely helpful, 13 May 2010
By 
Gizzer (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed reading this book and learned an awful lot from it.

Interestingly some of the topics covered design rules that I was already subconsciously adhering to. But as the book says several times: being able say why something is right or wrong (because you know what design principle is being used/broken) gives you power over the design and the capability to correct it.

I'd recommend it to any techy and/or non designer as an essential read.

Remember: Be Bold!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 12 Mar 2010
By 
Ms. Piercy - See all my reviews
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I have no design knowledge and found this excellent. Lots of examples so you can see exactly what the author means
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - used everything here for my ppt presentations, 17 July 2008
I bought this book based on the stellar "Presentation Zen" by Garr Reynolds. (A must-read if you do presentations of any type).

What I was seeking to glean from this book was how to improve the look of my PowerPoint presentations. Though Robin doesn't cover this specifically, everything she writes about can be applied to the design of the slides.

The book is aimed at 'non-professional' designers. By this I mean those of us who design things in our work, but aren't trained to do so, e.g. flyers, event alerts, newsletters, reports, business cards, studies, articles, etc.

I found it funny how often she tells us not to be "wimps" in our design choices. I mean she REALLY tells us a lot. But her point is we need to be bold, not "wimps", in our design choices ... but only once we know the basics.

All in all an excellent read. Good examples, good overview at the end of each section, and good pop quizzes to make sure we were paying attention :-)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for.., 15 Mar 2010
Coming from a web design/development perspective this book is exactly what I wanted. Solid fundamentals of design theory with easy to comprehend examples. Would recommend to others.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Be careful of the advice!, 5 Jun 2014
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It's an interesting book on how to best layout your materials, based on four principles - contrast, proximity, alignment and repetition.
However, I give it only 3 stars because she advises to eliminate Times New Roman font from all computers. DON'T!! I know many recruitment firms that read CVs and cover letters only if they're in TNR as it is professional, readable, and doesn't use too much space unlike the silly fonts she suggests. Maybe she gets paid for advertising Adobe fonts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 17 April 2014
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Couldn't be bettered! I'm in middle of my third reading of this and have learned so much from it. Really appreciated the informal, relaxed style of presentation. Buy it!
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