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D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself: A Design Handbook
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D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself: A Design Handbook

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  828 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Not satisfied with the new T-shirts on sale at the local mall? Maybe you'd like a wedding invitation that expresses your own vision, not your party planner's? How about some personalized stationery? An upgrade to your website? A business card? A poster for your political campaign? A CD package for your band? Sound good? Then get up off your couch and Design It Yourself! Av ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 19th 2006 by Princeton Architectural Press
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Daniel J DeMersseman
D.I.Y. is well-designed--as any "design handbook" should be--though its best, most interesting parts come, unsurprisingly, from the book's experienced editor and her sister, Julia, an experienced designer. Their essays on D.I.Y. theory and history start the book off right, but the essays and craft ideas that follow are often merely serviceable, if somewhat spotty. You should, however, expect as much from a beginner's design handbook whose contents comes mostly from current design students.

Jan 14, 2009 Jasmine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: DYIers, crafty people, hipsters
Shelves: own
this has some great ideas in it and it breaks everything down for you in simple terms.
This book is laid out in a very user-friendly way. Each chapter clearly lets you know what will be discussed. Skipping one section and reviewing another would be simple and would not leave the reader at a loss. The graphics, images, diagrams, and system for explaining expense and time are stellar. The color, fonts, and organization helped to keep me intrigued. Also, each section is written by a different person, so it stays fresh. It does assume the reader knows how to do certain things without ...more
There were a lot of great things about this book—there were some very good projects featured, and some clever ideas here and there.


The chapter about photo albums that begins on p. 125 did me in. I am pretty much finished with the notion that scrapbooking is some kitsch hobby stuck in 1984, one "real" design professionals can snicker at behind scrapbookers' backs. Case in point:

"You can make personal and original photographic documents while avoiding the extra layers of vellum, lace, and
This is a book about designing all sorts of products to promote yourself or your business. It takes you through the basic processes of setting up a blog, designing T-shirts and business cards, or putting together a press kit, but it’s primarily a book of ideas and inspirations, with tons of photos of other people’s projects. Some of the ideas are immediately accessible (you can use their gift wrap suggestions right away), whereas others (such as putting together a website) are going to require s ...more
This was interesting -- it's not quite a craft book, and not quite a design book, though there are elements of both. There are projects you can make (but without super detailed instructions) there is information on a variety of design principles (layout, branding) and there are tons of ideas to steal and repurpose.

It's the kind of thing I might pick up again if I wind up doing some specific project that's covered in the book -- branding for an organization, creating a newsletter.

The cool thing
Was recommended by a couple people, but I think I came away a bit disappointed. Its very interesting for its observations on the revolution of people taking design, in all its various forms, into their own hands. Had some cool ideas and a solid overview of different techniques to apply. However beyond that, the book seemed to lack the significant content that I was expecting. I thought I would be blown away or really impressed so maybe I approached it wrong. Still interesting enough to keep my a ...more
Great concept. Illustrated well. Clearly done as a project of some sort by the grad students in the program, all of whom are artists and not writers, so I suppose I can forgive the truly egregious repetitive spelling errors and similar... A good glimpse of what makes designers better than the rest of us at seeing what works and what doesn't in form, color, etc...
I am so glad I didn't ask for this book for Christmas, because I just read the whole thing in an hour. While it has a lot of great ideas, DIY doesn't really explain how to do much. It only points to where you should start. It's great for a beginning, but I was looking for something less basic and more instructive.
Excellent range of topics covered. All covered quite lightly but get a good feel for design in general from the entire book. One of the best over views. BUT not that technical other than a few scant pages at the beginning & there could be more practical advice. Some of the examples might quickly look dated.
Louise Cochrane
Anytime I'm at a loose end and want to kick start a new project, I find myself coming back to this book again and again.

Although some of the examples of work can look a bit dated, the processes behind them are still relevant and can be applied to your own personal style and way of working.
A fun book, full of inspiration. What's presented is good design from people who already know what they're doing, so you won't read this book and then run out and design things as well unless you're already a designer or have a latent design aesthetic, but it's fun and encouraging.
I have to say I was impressed by this overview of design principals (for the untrained masses) -which is clearly written, engaging, practical, and fun to flip through. Makes you want to get your DIY on. Don't skip the interviews in the back -they are insightful and worth the read.
Nice idea generator. Provides a little background info about starting out with different forms of media, and then shows off some possibilities. Some of the sections are quite short (especially the zines one, unfortunately), but it is good visual fodder for getting the creativity churning.
Waziri Garuba
Great book - gets you thinking about how to design everything around you to fit YOUR tastes and not somebody in a dark room sketching out ikea furniture and poorly designed jeans.

If you have the spark to actually go and create your own stuff - then this is the book for you...
I wanted to love this book and I had such high hopes for it. What it does is tell you to design everything yourself, which I totally agree with it. Unfortunately it doesn't show/teach you how to do it yourself (DIY) so I felt this book was falsely advertised.
There were some clever things peppered here and there throughout the book. I think this would be somewhat helpful for someone who has no design background and is looking to embark on doing some projects (ie, making a business card or invitation) on their own.
I really, really wanted to like this, but it just wasn't practical. Some sections were way too complex to actually be undertaken by a novice, while others were just common sense. Plus, the whole thing is riddled with typos. Guess they DIY-ed the editing, too.
Andrew Hunt
It's an accessible book, but it's definitely written for the pure novice. As an amateur who pays attention, I didn't really learn much from it.

That said, the book is full of interesting ideas that you could try.
Ellen Lupton is so funny. I just checked out her website and watched the video about her next book, Design Your Life. I learned why most women wear the wrong bra, among other handy things:)
Kisha Munson
I LOVE this book. I'm going to pick up her other books as well. Good for folks who are into Graphic Design and are having problems coming up with original stuff.
Laura Obscura
Great resource for making things your own. Sort of a crash course in branding. Great for someone trying to connect to their inner creativity, but aren't quite sure how.
anique Halliday
Not nearly as helpful as I was hoping it would be, but a good way to get started. Provides you with some good ideas, but falls short on the execution instruction.
Ashley Howard
A great beginners book to design practically anything- logos, blogs, business cards, websites and much more!
Great color photos and lots of product information.
I bought this immediately after checking it out from the library. Its an incredibly helpful tool for anyone who needs to market themselves and their wares/services.
It's practically subversive that this book was for sale at JoAnn Fabrics. Really thoughtful about DIY projects, but also political.
Lots of great if only I didn't have to work for a living and could just spend all day playing with them...
brian r.
cool book, lots of neat ideas, and the actual layout of the book is beautiful, typography is amazing, etc.
This book has some wonderful and awesome ideas, I just wish I had time to do some of them.
A good jumping off point, although a little lacking in helpful tips for execution.
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