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Robin Williams Design Workshop [Paperback]

Robin Williams , John Tollett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Oct. 26 2000 --  
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Book Description

Oct. 26 2000 0201700883 978-0201700886 1

Robin Williams introduced design and typographic principles to legions of readers with her best-selling Non-Designer's book series. Now she and designer/co-author John Tollett take you to the next level of creative design with practical advice and lessons in composition, visual impact, and design challenges.

Presented in Robin and John's signature style—writing that is so crystal clear, it's accessible to absolutely anyone—and illustrated with hundreds of full-color design examples, the ideas in this book tackle design theory, visual puns, and layout and graphics strategies for real-world projects. Developing designers will appreciate the author's imaginative approach and well-chosen examples.

  • Discover practical and effective design principles and concept–and how to apply them to virtually any project.
  • Learn why some designs are attention-getting and others are not.
  • Learn how to choose just the right look—corporate or casual, classic or trendy—for specific types of projects, such as business cards, letterhead and envelopes, newsletters and brochures, logos, advertising, and more.
  • Test your design acumen by comparing before-and-after examples.
  • Find a wealth of inspiration for your own design projects.
  • Gain insight into the design process by studying the works of guest designers, who offer their personal commentary and insights.

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Product Description

From Amazon

If you just stumbled into design, maybe via a hobby that grew into a career, and you want to improve your work without having to enroll in a degree program, this book can bridge some of the gaps in your acumen. Not really a primer on basic facts, Design Workshop is more like a guide to style.

The first chapter quizzes readers on mostly technical, basic details of design (like dpi), all of which can be found in Williams's previous publications (for example, The Non-Designer's Design Book). Readers will be dismayed, possibly annoyed, that the quiz answers are not provided. Even if not knowing the answers means that you need remedial help, it feels like a bit of a tease.

The next chapters show how to use stock images, or your own images, to increase the visual impact of your piece (basically through an increase in contrast). The best part of this section, and the book as a whole, is the "before-and-after" approach in the examples; they're like a series of makeovers. The captions effectively describe what was changed in the image, and how it improved the design.

The book applies a similar set of makeovers to various types of design projects: logos, forms, newsletters, tables of contents, etc. In the final section, seven designers, including coauthor Tollett, break down the process that they went through on a job of their own.

Self-taught graphic designers probably would make the best audience for this book, but designers who are of their own "school of thought" might find fault with some of the tenets that are put forth. Graphic design by nature is a subjective enterprise--at the mercy of "styles." What you get in this book is more of a "desktop-publisher style" (many of the drawings are clip art, for example). There's a lack of sophistication in the design of the book, as well as in the illustrations of posters, letterheads, advertisements, and other applications that are used as examples. On the other hand, this same open, naive look gives the book an inviting appeal, and makes it perhaps a bit less daunting than style guides, such as Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style, that are intended for die-hard professionals. --Angelynn Grant

Topics covered:

Style advice for design projects, including:

  • Logos
  • Business cards and letterhead
  • Invoices and forms
  • Advertising
  • Billboards
  • Web sites
  • Tables of contents and indices
  • Newsletters and brochures
  • Flyers

From the Back Cover

Learn design theory and practical know-how from the award-winning author/design team, Robin Williams and John Tollett

Robin Williams introduced design and typographic principles to legions of readers with her best-selling Non-Designer's book series. Now she and designer/co-author John Tollett take you to the next level of creative design with practical advice and lessons in composition, visual impact, and design challenges.

Presented in Robin and John's signature style—writing that is so crystal clear, it's accessible to absolutely anyone—and illustrated with hundreds of full-color design examples, the ideas in this book tackle design theory, visual puns, and layout and graphics strategies for real-world projects. Developing designers will appreciate the author's imaginative approach and well-chosen examples.

  • Discover practical and effective design principles and concept–and how to apply them to virtually any project.
  • Learn why some designs are attention-getting and others are not.
  • Learn how to choose just the right look—corporate or casual, classic or trendy—for specific types of projects, such as business cards, letterhead and envelopes, newsletters and brochures, logos, advertising, and more.
  • Test your design acumen by comparing before-and-after examples.
  • Find a wealth of inspiration for your own design projects.
  • Gain insight into the design process by studying the works of guest designers, who offer their personal commentary and insights.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great design lessons from "old friends" Dec 13 2005
Format:Paperback
The tone of the book "Robin Williams Design Workshop" makes the reader feel as if they are having a conversation about graphic design with old friends or a favorite design instructor from the past. With the authors having also written "The Non-Designer's Design Book," "The Non-Designer's Web Book" and others, that sense of familiarity is well founded. In the introduction it is written that this is a book for "mere-mortal" designers - meaning "aspiring designers who are in the process of developing their skills and getting experience; designers who are not famous (yet); and designers who are looking for design books to add to their collection, books that will give them some insight into the design process." Williams and Tollett do not disappoint those readers. Through colorful and detailed examples, designers are taken through the thought and creation process of a variety of projects including logos, ads, web sites, newsletters, brochures and more. In the section "Designers & the Design Process" the reader is shown the processes and work styles of six different designers as they create a book cover, logo and identity packages, promotional materials, an office space, web sites, student project assignments, typography and collateral materials. This latest offering from "old friends" is a fun and valuable design resource. - Jeff Fisher, writer of bLog-oMotives and "Logo Notions" on CreativeLatitude.com
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4.0 out of 5 stars Robin Williams Design Workshop March 17 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I found this book very informative and interesting. It had a lot of useful information, and the info was presented in a very "reader-friendly" format. There were a lot of examples in the book used to prove a point, instead of a 'just take it for granted' procedure. The book was simple and straightforward but not boring. The book was written 'to' the audience, with words like 'you' and 'your' instead of 'one' or 'some designers'. It really made the book have a personal impact.
On the other hand, the book wasn't 'all encompassing', like it seemed to be. Many references to previous books by the author showed that this was a book for most people. I would have added more to the book instead of constantly referring to previous books, if I was the author. Also, in the book, questions are asked to the reader, but there aren't answers printed anywhere in the book, which can be confusing.
Personally, I would rate this book as an 8 on a scale of 1-10. It was a great book to read and it taught me a lot. It could have had more 'guts', but it was very well written. I would definitely suggest this book to others, if they were interested in design. It was well worth my time and a good book to 'keep on file!'
By M.L.Conklin
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!! April 1 2003
By desr333
Format:Paperback
This is an easy read, cover to cover. Large colorful image examples and lots of space around text make the read easy and enjoyable. I love color examples especially when the subject is design. This is a great design reference and all around great book.
This was a definite idea generator. Working with web design, I find it difficult to find books that focus more on design aspects, and this book touches on many design aspects including web design, brochures, and all kinds of things! The Web design workshop book is more focused on web design, but this is an excellent companion to generate ideas and get great design concepts and ideas to keep in mind for any medium!
I love this book and the Web design workshop and can't wait to read more from the authors! I appreciate the layout of the book and the way it was made easy to follow. I hate reading books that are too technical and full of text from top to bottom, and this book was so refreshing because it's just the opposite! The authors also kept in mind that some readers would be experienced designers and some beginners and accommodate us all with style and grace. Thanks Robin and John!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great learning experience May 1 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I am not a graphics artist nor an art student. I needed some ideas for a project and this book came in very handy. I learned a lot from "The Non-Designer's Design Book" by the same author and when I saw this book, I just had to get it. It is one of my best investments yet. I love learning new things and this book opened my eyes to many aspects of design.
At first, I was almost going to give up and hand over the project to a professional but after reading the book, I found many helpful ideas and was inspired to give it a try on my own. I produced a flyer, a Flash presentation, a product logo and a report layout and cover based on the lessons from these two books. I will not claim that they are works of art but many friends and clients have complemented on the outcome. Some of my clients even thought that I had had them professionally done.
Although there are others who will say that some of us just has the flair for designing, I don't think I would have been able to do all that without the help of these two books. For those of you who wish to create artwork for print, I would recommend starting with "The Non-Designer's Design Book" and then advancing to this book. Also check out some other books by the same publisher mentioned in the introductory chapter of this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
The first section asks questions and if you don't know the answers it tells you to read other books, mostly on the basics. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Shelby
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas and an easy-read book!
I had to buy this book for a design class in college and now that I am out of college, I still use it for ideas on projects and inspiration. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by "thadley03"
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas!
I have really enjoyed this book. Being a designer, I sometimes need ideas to help get me going, and this book provides it in spades. Read more
Published on July 17 2003 by Brian R. Sakowicz
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Price
If your going to Fairleigh Dickinson University you will need this book if your taking Digital Design and Graphics Price is GOOD
Published on June 27 2003 by Chris Youngs
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Idea Generator
After purchasing Web Design Workshop (and loving it), I desired more books from this wonderful author. I have my own web design business and was asked to build a newsletter. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2003 by MJS Web Solutions
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful
This book is *full* of ideas about design and layout. I am a software engineer, looking for ways to improve my website layout and design of button icons and logos. Read more
Published on July 11 2002 by "scojam"
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!
This book has been on my To-Buy list for sometime now and i was really glad to start using it. Robin explains everything that is important about web design. Read more
Published on May 23 2002 by Susan Tyrone
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear as there is...
I love this book. Real problems, real solutions. He takes you through the steps of recognizing a design issue, allowing you to see the variations and experiments that he tried... Read more
Published on April 19 2002 by George N. Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts from the Creativity Portal
This was the second book of Robin's that I purchased. After I acquired the Non-Designer's Design Book, I wanted to get all of her books! Read more
Published on Dec 22 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars not very helpful
I didn't like it and it didn't help me. I was looking for a tutorial, but this book is more like an overview of web design.
Published on Dec 17 2001 by "tyrhon144000"
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