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There are some really good tips and tricks for those of us who are not trained graphic designers but are nonetheless tasked with producing graphical designs (websites, dashboards, infographics, etc.). I really enjoyed the comparisons to current medium (digital) and past mediums (painting, sculptures, etc.). The book covers design, composition, typography, color theory and many tips and tricks. My only grumble is that the book focused a lot on typography, but it is an area that the author is quite versed in.
Design is a tricky beast for beginners yet I am only half way through this book and I can't remember the last time I wrote a review on Amazon! Some may be bored by the historical context that Kadavy goes into but I find it nothing short of fascinating. You will learn a ton of practical tips while never looking at typography, colour, and design the same as you did before. Design for Hackers is a fast read, loaded with impact and I cannot recommend it enough. Great job @Kadavy !
I purchased this book so I could muddle through creating web designs for non-profit activities that didn't justify spending money on a professional (mainly because for such work there is no money to spend). I was expecting a list of "do's and don'ts" with a tiny bit of context that would at the very least stop my designs looking like an explosion in a Clip Art factory. In this regard I have been somewhat disappointed as this book actually requires me to do some creative thinking for myself - there are some excellent (almost prescriptive) guidelines in the book for things such as picking colours and fonts, but joining everything together is clearly going to take a lot of practice. If I were a churlish reviewer, rating the book on its suitability for my purposes, then I would have given it four stars. But I'm a professional who appreciates the reasons why my clients pay me for the stuff that I'm actually good at (i.e. not design) and I realise that some of my greatest growth experiences have come from learning the "wrong" (i.e. unintentional) thing. This book is one such experience.
Anybody that comes anywhere near building user interfaces or hard-copy publications (i.e. web and desktop developers, copy writers, marketing execs, small business owners, school fair and bake sale organisers, careless cat owners, etc.) should read this book - even if only to stop you looking like a total design amateur. It's genuinely fascinating in the way that it explains why fonts, colours, layouts, and logos, look the way they do from a historical context. The message that design is a product of both intent and environment is re-iterated and illustrated with examples throughout the book. The level of detail seems unnecessary at times, but by the end of the chapter it becomes clear that the author's judgement was spot-on. You may think you don't need to know some of this stuff but actually you do.
The author's tone is that of a good professor - he clearly wants you to learn and enjoy this stuff, so he explains everything clearly and doesn't take for granted that you already understand these design concepts. I felt like this book was educating me, but at no point did I feel out of my depth or patronised. Only time will tell if I am able to put it into practice, but right now I feel like my life is richer for having read it.
When deciding between this book and refactoring UI, there was a specific review which convinced me this was the way to go. It was actually a bad review (2 or 3 star), stating this book focuses more on history and less on practical advice. This, however, is much bettwr and more useful. You don't need to remwmber a list of rules if you underatand the philosophy of something and how the individual pieces fit together. A mental model is much more valuable than a list of rules.
Reading this book in 2020 as a software engineer reveals some outdated content, but the history and explanations remain. Durable principles over transient rules and specifications.
I recommend this book to anyone looking to understand design. This is the most complete and beginner-friendly resource I've found.
really interesting book with very useful and interesting tips and basic info on how in writer's opinion a designer should better perceive the design she sees/makes - written in optimistic and pleasant style - very easy to read, covering fonts, shapes and colors and their relations to each other, especially on a computer screen / in a web browser
This book is extremely helpful for those of us web designers and developers that are great at coding but not so hot in the graphical design arena.
Personally I sometimes find it hard to conceptualise a new site and come up with designs. This book has helped me discover methods and ideas that will help me and my customers moving forward, buy it now if you want to be a better designer.