The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams – A Book Review

I came across this oldie-but-goodie while searching for books related to instructional design. In fact, I had to place it on hold through my local library’s inter-loan system. When it arrived, I nearly returned it right away. It looked so old, thin, and out-of-date that I didn’t figure it could possibly apply to today’s world.

I’m pleased to announce that I could not have been more mistaken.

Though nearly twenty-five years old, The Non-Designer’s Design Book delves into such fundamental design concepts that, no matter how much technology changes, the book’s principles will always apply.

For example, the author, Robin Williams, explores CARP (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, Proximity) and explains why keeping those four aspects in mind is crucial. Williams also offers insight into the different kinds of fonts and why some work better with others.

For some, elements of this book will seem common sense. But even if that is the case, the “why” validating those instincts is integral. Being able to defend your design intelligently beyond “it just looks right to me” will prove beneficial no matter what your industry.

Though slim, I learned a great deal from The Non-Designer’s Design Book. The book is concise, potent, and informative–just like a good design.