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White space within a design is a bit like a pause in a conversation - it need not be a bad thing, yet it is just one element in a larger being that is often overlooked or misunderstood.

This book takes a professional look at design, whether for traditional media such as brochures or for more modern media such as the web. The aim is for the beginner (or more experienced person who doesn't mind refreshing their knowledge) to learn about the concepts and practices necessary for producing effective visual communications. It might challenge your perceptions or be viewed as formulaic, fairly obvious stuff. Only you might really know...

Unfortunately this reviewer was put on the back foot straight away when opening the book and noticing the table of contents was presented in that oh-so-trendy-but-overused manner of using solely lower case characters. it is unclear whether this was deliberate as the issue was compounded by using different font styles and weights, making it look very strange in the process (sic). It only needed comic sans and a few smiley faces to add the metaphorical icing to the cake.

Fortunately the sheer wealth of detailed, considered and thought-provoking material on offer drew this reviewer in. This book carefully, or should that be cleverly, works on many levels meaning that the professional who (allegedly) knows it all need not feel talked down to and neither does the relative beginner need to feel that everything is swooshing over their head. It is unfortunate that the title of this book might restrict its possible audience as it is not really something that conveys just how thorough this book is!

From the start you get a great introduction to the principles and development of design before looking at many of the common errors that the author believes so many of us are guilty of. Be wary of stones in the vicinity of greenhouses? After that it is off to art school to briefly learn about elements, principles and theories of design before looking at matters weighty such as layout, type, colour and adding visual oomph. Content has to also play a role, whether it is an infographic, a visual story, a more involved multimedia presentation or a traditional multi-format offering. Each chapter is like a small, bite-sized cocktail snack that you might think of as being too small and insignificant but yet after a plate full of them you will know you've eaten rather a bit too much and consumed rather a lot of varied, different goodies in the process. If you treat it as a thought-enabler, a guide to future developments and a bit of an everything for everyone sort of book you won't be far off the mark.

The price might be a bit of a concern for some at first glance, but if you have any role within visual communications as part of your work you really will find the investment very modest indeed. Even if you walk away with "only" a couple of good ideas or corrections to your present modus operandi then you will have got your money's worth. This is a book that is capable of so much giving if you let it.

Now, if you will excuse this reviewer, there is a web site that needs some (discreet) work doing to it. You might never look at the "printed" page again in the same light, thanks to this book.
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on 6 July 2014
I was looking for something that described the fundamentals of design in an engaging, informative and, dare I say it, a well-designed way. This book did not disappoint!
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on 26 February 2015
Happy with purchase. Thank you.
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