The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams

SUMMARY: HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Love this book. It is very digestible for any person. Copyright 2004… so might seem dated, but in 2016 I still find it filled with ongoing relevant tips.  Plus, it highlights rules people are still breaking from the 80’s and 90’s (like the use of Times New Roman font).

I would highly recommend this book for Jr High, High School and College blooming professionals to get a baseline for how to create a current look for documents and materials (i.e. letterhead, business card, etc.)  I would HIGHLY recommend for those who have worked in education and the nonprofit world for years ( an inexpensive way to make sure you are updated), as well as ALL administrative professionals. General business leaders and independent business owners should also read it. Why? Those creating documents often default to very old “word publishing” rules which are outdated. Leaders sometimes correct or do not appreciate strong graphics because they too are used to the traditional.

When you have a basic understanding of graphics and design you will make better choices, be able to proof and approve documents faster, know what you want and know what to ask for. Another reason, most professional need to put graphics on a page at some point, in a Powerpoint, document, etc. I have seen so many graphics stretched or miss-sized on professional documents… when it could look clean and sharp if the person creating the document had just a few of these basic guiding principles. This is a very practical book and very easy to read, even for the non-book reader.  It is more of a resource book that you spend some time learning from. Even if the average professional spent 10 minutes a day reviewing some of these tips and suggestions, you would be taking yourself through a self-guided basic design class.  Again, this is helpful not only for those creating the document but those asking and approving it.

What I love about this book is not only does it tell you what NOT to do and WHAT to do… but it gives examples of both so you can see the before and after. It is filled with don’t do and try this, examples.  It even has little quizzes to test your learning.  This is extremely helpful because most people just do not understand what to change. I have seen this in resumes, flyers, business cards, postcards, ads, etc. There are so many communication pieces the average professional is likely to make over the course of their career. Do yourself a favor and just review this book and give yourself some knowledge of the design trade and improve your results.  Usually, people do not realize when their pieces are not communicating. They blame it on the busy and distracted reader, when really in design – good design, communication and marketing is read by the reader.

The book even has a helpful index to reference things easily. It has a font guide. It covers many topics from form, layout to different types of media (websites, print, etc.). Again, it covers so many things very simply. It is not complex or deep designer speak. It is a fantastic resource for anyone who uses the computer for more than social media.

I will note, my book is falling apart – half of the first chunk of pages came unglued from the spine… so the publishing quality could be better; however, drill some holes and stick it in a binder for reference for your team. It is one everyone in the office should digest. Plus, it will save the one to two people in the office who have design sense the burden of constantly arguing about why look, feel and layout is important. This could be a great book for designers to give their business clients, for leaders to give to their team, for the marketing or communication department to read and share.

Thank you, Robin, for taking the time to break Design into simple keys for the rest of us to understand some basics!

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

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