Design skills are useful for technical writers for many reasons, for example, they help to design documentation properly to make it more user-friendly. However, technical writers don’t need in-depth knowledge, understanding the general principles is enough. That’s why I gathered some design books for novices.
The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
For nearly 20 years, designers and non-designers alike have been introduced to the fundamental principles of great design by author Robin Williams. Through her straightforward and light-hearted style, Robin has taught hundreds of thousands of people how to make their designs look professional using four surprisingly simple principles. Now in its fourth edition, The Non-Designer’s Design Book offers even more practical design advice, including a new chapter on the fundamentals of typography, more quizzes, and exercises to train your Designer Eye, updated projects for you to try, and new visual and typographic examples to inspire your creativity.
Typography is one of the important basics of graphic design, and this book is one of the must-have if you plan to do a design career. It covers some typography history with works of masters of typography. Get it from Amazon.
Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of ornaments and captions, lining and non-lining numerals, the use of small caps and enlarged capitals, as well as information on captions, font licensing, mixing typefaces, and hand lettering. Throughout the book, visual examples show how to be inventive within systems of typographic form-what the rules are and how to break them. Thinking with Type is a type book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words.
How to, Bierut’s first career retrospective, is a landmark work in the field. Featuring more than thirty-five of his projects, it reveals his philosophy of graphic design — how to use it to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world. Specially chosen to illustrate the breadth and reach of graphic design today, each entry demonstrates Bierut’s eclectic approach. In his entertaining voice, the artist walks us through each from start to finish, mixing historic images, preliminary drawings (including full-size reproductions of the notebooks he has maintained for more than thirty-five years), working models and rejected alternatives, as well as the finished work. Throughout, he provides insights into the creative process, his working life, his relationship with clients, and the struggles that any design professional faces in bringing innovative ideas to the world.
In this book, the world’s foremost color theorist examines two different approaches to understanding the art of color. Subjective feelings and objective color principles are described in detail and clarified by color reproductions.
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how — and why — some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.
Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman
Fonts have different personalities that can create trust or mistrust, give you confidence, make things seem easier to do or make a product taste better. Understand the science behind how fonts influence what you read. They’re hidden in plain sight, they trigger memories, associations and multi-sensory experiences in your imagination. You may not believe it, but fonts can change the meanings of words right before your very eyes, alter the taste of your food, evoke emotional responses and reveal their users’ personalities.
Graphic designer Sarah Hyndman specializes in exploring how fonts influence us as type consumers; Why Fonts Matter synthesizes Hyndman’s 20 years of experience as a graphic designer with her typographic research and the findings of experimental psychologists and neuroscientists.