Book Review: The Non-Designer's Design Book

I recently finished reading The Non-Designer’s Design Book on my kindle, a book that has been on my reading list for a while, but that I just got around to purchasing and reading about 3 weeks ago. The title couldn’t be more accurate, as the book describes in laymens terms the bare minimum you need to know to recognize and apply good design.

It starts by covering what the author calls the 4 principls of design; alignment, proximity, contrast, and repition. Each principle is described clearly using example and counter-example, making it clear to someone who has never taken a design class (me) what they are and how to apply them. Later in the book, Williams references these principles frequently as he discusses topics that must be considered as part of any design such as color and typography. Overall, it’s a great book that I thoroughly enjoyed and have found almost immediately useful. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has to design things from time to time (web pages, flyers, newspaper ads, etc.) but is not a professional designer by trade.

The one downside to the kindle edition of the book I purchased is that it frequently calls for you to use tracing paper along with images in the book to try your hand at the techniques being taught. This is obviously not ideal on an eReader, for various reasons. I’m not sure how much value I lost by not completing these examples, and I’m not going to go out and buy the paperback this weekend or anything. But that’s a least something to consider before purchasing, that it may be worth springing for the dead tree edition for this one.