The non-designers design book

design and typographic principles for the visual novice

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The non-designers design book (2004, Peachpit Press)

191 pages

English language

Published Aug. 21, 2004 by Peachpit Press.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

Designer Robin Williams has crafted a series of text books showing non-graphics design folks the basics of making design elements work for them. The second edition of this 'design and typographic principles for the visual novice' is very useful for acquainting readers with rudiments.

The four principles of Proximity, Alignment, Repetition and Contrast are discussed. Examples are given and short quizzes (since it is a text book) are included.

The section titled 'Designing with Type' categorizes type faces into six general styles that are useful for making appropriate typographic decisions. A useful little book that will help many people.

Review by J.David Knepper at

3 editions

Review of 'The non-designers design book' on 'GoodReads'

3 stars

This was a very quick read that basically confirmed that common sense applies to visual design: organize your information, line stuff up, repeat some elements and make others different. It's nice to have a framework for this "common sense" stuff, though, and it has helped me think more clearly about why something works or doesn't work.

I really like that it looks super dated. All her finished designs look kind of goofy but I think it actually reinforces the focus on underlying principles - you can tell that if the font faces and art styles were swapped around things would look just fine in a modern setting.

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rated it

4 stars


  • Layout (Printing) -- Handbooks, manuals, etc
  • Graphic design (Typography)
  • Graphic arts