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Robin Williams Design Workshop (2nd Edition) Paperback – Aug 10 2006
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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
Style advice for design projects, including:
- Business cards and letterhead
- Invoices and forms
- Web sites
- Tables of contents and indices
- Newsletters and brochures
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 stylewriting that is so crystal clear, it's accessible to absolutely anyoneand 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 conceptand 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 lookcorporate or casual, classic or trendyfor 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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Top Customer Reviews
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!'
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!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
While this book may have been good back when it was published, sadly many of the examples of "good design" look out of date and amaturish. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Gabriel Ferland
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 morePublished on Nov. 19 2013 by Shelby
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 morePublished on Jan. 26 2004
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 morePublished on July 17 2003 by Brian R. Sakowicz
If your going to Fairleigh Dickinson University you will need this book if your taking Digital Design and Graphics Price is GOODPublished on June 27 2003 by Chris Youngs
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 morePublished on Feb. 2 2003 by MJS Web Solutions
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 morePublished on July 11 2002
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 morePublished on May 23 2002 by Susan Tyrone
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 morePublished on April 19 2002 by George N. Mills
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