A mini book review, in response to a fantastic youth-oriented design book found while out browsing this past weekend.
A good eye can’t be taught, but solid design principles can. As someone who recently put together just over 300 pages of design writing (among other things), you can bet I appreciate a book that does it in a fraction of that.
Aimed at a younger crowd, the simple writing style and accompanying illustrations of A Book About Design : Complicated Doesn’t Make It Good make it an ideally approachable book for any budding young designer. But don’t let the intended reading age of 9 to 12 fool you, the lessons contained within are relevant to any age of reader.
The simple setup of this book allows for surprising clarity, which you can see for yourself with Amazon’s Search Inside this Book feature. Textual pages sit on left-hand pages, with full-page diagrams on the right. Case in point: the mini-chapter about contrast runs three or four pages of teaser text with completely black facing illustration pages on each, and then the fifth page slams a giant white number 3 in the middle of the black pages to drive the point home.
For such a brief read, it covers a surprising amount of ground in a no-nonsense, visual way. If you can take the principles in this book to heart, you can safely sleep through the first few months of design school. That’s bang for your buck. For the simple and subtle way this book accomplishes what it sets out to do, I give it a ten out of ten.