Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Learn more Learn more Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more



on 10 April 2009
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.

This book gives you a list of 100 principles of design, from many different origins, and gives you two pages on each one; including an explanation, some practical applications and some illustrative examples. This is why I say it is not one to read in one sitting, because you basically have a long list of 100 things; no narrative to pull you through.

So why 5 stars? Because as a book to dip into, to explore ideas you intuitively understand, it is a delight. Each idea is so quick to consumer and understand. Clearly each page is also beautifully designed.

I have no idea if this is academically a great book on design, but for a non expert it is proving a wonder.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 22 October 2016
Excellent product excellent service
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 11 May 2004
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.
56 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 4 April 2015
A useful point of reference
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 10 February 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. #1 explains very briefly why colour is important and useful (handy for designers like architects or product engineers who normally focus on form). #2 quickly explains why and when to limit colours. #3 quickly explains colour wheels, what colour combinations are known to work, and a couple of tips on using warm & cool colours and grey. #4 gives advice on how saturated and desaturated colours are perceived and what impressions they create. #5 quickly explains that other colour associations are cultural, not universal. Finally it tells you the best books to read if you need more technical detail. That's it. No technical stuff you don't need, no patronising instructions or statements of the obvious, just the most practical of the known facts. On the right, there are illustrations with colour wheels showing what different combinations, saturations and warm/cool colours look like, with a few examples of colour schemes in nature. Everything in the book is a double-page spread like this, facts on the left, examples on the right.

A good opposite example is p94-95, 'Garbage-in, Garbage-out'. It covers common problems that lead to people putting input in wrongly, learned the hard way by computer interface designers. It's obvious how these are valuable and practical if you design human-machine interfaces, to stop small mistakes ruining the system. It's also still relevant for communication designs like graphics, albeit less critical - it draws your attention to common mistakes and slips people make, so you can be sharper at identifying and pre-empting possible misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

I've given the book 4/5 because although the idea is brilliant and much needed, and although the execution is very good, and I'd really recommend buying it, there is still some room for improvement. Some examples are repeated, some examples although still useful were a bit out of date even when the book was published in 2003, and although most of the 100 are really good, a few don't quite deserve inclusion and a few are a bit specific to one trade. Also, they had a brilliant idea for a 'categorical' contents page, with principles listed by design challenge (e.g. things to do with appeal, things to do with guiding learning, etc), but it's not as well executed or useful as it could be.

Brilliant book, worth buying, and massive value for money considering the value you'll get out of it. Hopefully there'll be a 2nd edition soon that'll be even better, but don't wait for it. You'd be happy with a course that cost thousands of pounds, if it taught you everything there is in this book.
3 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 12 October 2010
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...
5 people found this helpful
|11 Comment|Report abuse
on 4 May 2004
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.
22 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 12 March 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.
14 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 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.
37 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 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!
21 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse