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Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual Paperback – Apr 1 2007


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Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual + Graphic Design: The New Basics + Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rockport Publishers (April 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592532616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592532612
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 1.9 x 26 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 930 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Timothy Samara is a New York City-based graphic designer and educator. His fifteen-year career, focused primarily on visual identity development, includes a diverse project history-from branding systems and user interfaces to books, animation, and architectural work. He is currently a member of the design faculty of the School of Visual Arts, Fashion Institute of Technology, Purchase College School of Art + Design, and New York University. He is the author of Making and Breaking the Grid, Typography Workbook, Publication Workbook, and Type Style Finder, all from Rockport Publishers. Tim lives in New York, NY.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By nemofazer on Sept. 26 2012
Format: Paperback
So when I first cracked this open I was so happy. Just what I wanted after 15 years in graphic design. Just the refresher course/inspirational book I was looking for. The content alone I would have given five stars for but here's the kicker - many sections are set in a very pale 6 or 7 point and the size of type and lack of contrast make this difficult to read. Ah the irony! The main body text is fine but the book is full of sidebars which, while I can read them, I have to make sure the light is good and I have to really concentrate.

Yes I don't have perfect vision anymore but to date I have never needed and don't own reading glasses. This may be the book that sends me to an optometrist but it shouldn't have been!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By aciloo on March 10 2011
Format: Paperback
Very well written, very insightful. Every page of the book is designed to visually translate its contents, therefore it becomes very easy to absorb the informations that are carried out in the book. Real graphic design at work! Loved it!
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By Fern Phillips on Aug. 4 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find the information is comprehensive and well organized. While others complained about the text being unreadable, I took a chance on the book and I find it quite readable. True the text is not as well defined as it could be, but it is readable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent livre qui présente différentes techniques graphiques et leur effet sur la personne qui regarde. Pas de pelletage de nuage. Si vous lisez l'anglais, c'est un très bon livre.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 68 reviews
137 of 140 people found the following review helpful
Next best thing to going to design school June 27 2007
By ZanBee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a graphic designer with little academic preparation in the field (my college major was in psychology, supplemented by a handful of college-level art classes and several continuing education classes in Adobe software & printing technologies), I rely heavily on books for my continued growth and education. Over the past few years, I've amassed a rather large library of graphic design books. The vast majority of my collection falls into one of two categories - either "technical" (dealing with software & printing techniques) or "eye candy" (fun to look at and good for inspiring a new idea now and then, but not suited to actually improving my design skills). Timothy Samara's books are one of the few exceptions. I actually *read* his books and learn a great deal about design from them.

Design Elements is the best primer on graphic design I've encountered. It starts out with 20 rules for good design, while readily admitting that rules are meant to be broken, once you fully understand them and can break them *deliberately*. It goes on to cover the topics of form & space, color, typography, images, and layout. Finished examples are combined with simple thumbnail "studies" that illustrate the concepts quite well and provide you a springboard for playing around on your own. The textual portions are concise and well-written.

I heartily recommend this book for anyone seeking a serious, concise overview of all the major elements of graphic design - whether you're a student or a seasoned professional looking for a good reference book/refresher. Yes, there are books out there that cover each of these topics in much greater depth. But for what this book attempts to do, it does amazingly well.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Visual Treat Oct. 10 2007
By Nathan Packer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the design elements of a unique placement of page numbers in the margin to very colorful representations of design elements, this book is well-worth the price. Far to often, other books attempt to explain color rendering and shape meanings without investing in professional demonstrations of the concepts. The mechanics of type, the texture of form and space, and composition strategies are well presented. A veteran graphics designer will find this book a refreshing creativity stimulant, and the new designer will find this book a genesis of ideas. I reach for this book whenever I need some brain/eye design candy.

Ok, the book was not perfect. My technical communication background is the source of my quibble with the author's choice to use a light gray type in the body text against a white page. When the reader struggles with the difficulty of the read, there is a reduction in the transfer of information. It is as if to say, look only at the color because all the information is in the graphics - yet there was good information presented in the body text.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
good but not great June 6 2009
By Joel Rosado - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
this book provides information in a simple manner but its visual details are distracting. one of my biggest criticisms of this books is the use of a grey body text color against white or light grey backgrounds which makes the legibility and patience to get through the body text painful.

However, samara provides some quick and easily accessible information where he uses the correct body text contrast and bigger visuals; including his 20 rules and basics of typography. I would moreso recommend ellen lupton's the new basics of graphic design and thinking with type as introductions but you can't really beat the value of this book at under $20
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Style Book with Poor Style July 19 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sorry, I should have read the other reviews warning how this book is impossible to read.

This book might contain useful information except that I can't read the damn thing. The typeface is extremely small, and it's light-gray on white. Some of the visual examples have captions with type that is less than 2mm high. Even with perfect vision you need a magnifying glass!

I've learned a little from this book from squinting, but I have to admit that this book is just too frustrating. I've been on Amazon probably since it opened, and this is going to be the first book I return.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Avoid this book.. they broke the biggest rule:legibility Oct. 31 2010
By J. Whiteside - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is unreadable. Most of it appears to be in about a 6 pt font. While open space can be a powerful part of graphic design, one should not create it by reducing type to that size typically reserved for legal disclaimers.

Additionally, it did not seem very well organized overall or on each individual page. Obviously done by a graphic artist who hates text. Next time hire a copywriter.

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