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on 12 April 2013
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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on 12 February 2018
Love this book,clear, concise information on design, formatting,contrasts and colours. Everytime I see a printed ad now I'm assessing it and rebuild the ones in my head how I would redesign the not so good ones.Especially the colour section is easy to understand,I used to put the wrong colours together not knowing how they are related to make a design more effective. Really pleased with this book and keep revisiting for colour coordination.
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on 16 October 2012
I know nothing about design. So this book is perfect. It starts with the very basics, introducing the reader to the four basic principals in design; contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. It then goes into detail about each one and how to use them together. Although what seems so easy on paper (and her examples are really helpful and visually appealing) is not so easy in practice. You definitely need to work on these skills if you want great materials, but the book gives the novice the fundamentals so you won't make the usual mistakes that most non-designers do (like centering everything, for example). In that respect, you should see immediate results in your work. Williams also gives tips on using colour and how to design various types of materials, like business cards, brochures, websites, and more. What I found especially useful was the whole section she devotes to type. I love playing with fonts and after reading her book I'm much more visually aware of the differences and how to combine them effectively. Obviously, if you've been to art or design school, this book won't help you much as you are probably way past it. However, she says at the beginning, this book is for those who know absolutely nothing and have been forced into some graphic design role. I think in our days everyone has some need for this so really we all could benefit from this book. It's little but it is packed! It's a must-have book, no matter what profession you're in. Highly, highly recommended!
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on 12 April 2014
For many years I have produced newsletters and other publicity material for local clubs and societies, originally using Microsoft Publisher, and latterly various apps on the Mac. I enjoy doing it, and I have learnt and developed as I went, and reckon I do a pretty reasonable job (recipients of my efforts reinforce that view).
Then I read Robin Williams's book. It's well laid out - as you'd expect! - is written with a clarity of style, and illustrated with lots of examples, It focusses on four major considerations in planning your document, as well as discussing typefaces. All is done with gentle humour and helps you understand why that page you just laid out doesn't quite seem to work - and once you understand, you can fix it. I have learnt that my efforts fall well short of Robin's standards!
So I'm now off to analyse the last edition of my newsletter. I'll probably end up re-working it completely, and then I'll be able to publish the next edition with a fresh and more readable look.
I'm looking forward to it!
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on 21 March 2017
I bought this as I'm due to start a new job where I'll be expected to do some design work, and it brilliantly describes all the basics that I had a vague idea about in a coherent, logical way. It's not too long neither and has good examples and as such is a good bite-sized design guide!
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on 25 March 2016
Excellent. I am putting a loose-leaf home study course together, and this had all the design guidelines I needed in a very accessible way, covering layout and use of colours particularly well.
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on 28 November 2012
As a programmer, I am asked to come up with basic design for the web applications that we develop. Without formal training in design, this is often challenging and time-consuming. This book provided a good introduction to the basics of design. I especially liked the sections on typefaces, and of course, the C.R.A.P mnemonic is the simplest way to remember the elements of good design.
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on 26 July 2017
A quick read with some great tips.
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on 23 October 2012
Whilst this book won't turn you into a design guru overnight it does exactly what it sets out to, introducing non-designers to the basic techniques of good visual design. It is well-written, easy to understand and contains a plethora of examples. In my line of work I largely set text according to an existing template but occasionally come across non-standard features over which I have to make design decisions, and this book has been very helpful in establishing how I approach the problem.
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on 15 April 2016
I was hoping for something which would give me a wider view of how to design, instead this book is really about designing posters, business cards and so on and it's showing its age.
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