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The Elements of Graphic Design

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  375 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
This very popular design book has been wholly revised and expanded to feature a new dimension of inspiring and counterintuitive ideas to thinking about graphic design relationships. The Elements of Graphic Design, Second Edition is now in full color in a larger, 8 x 10-inch trim size, and contains 40 percent more content and over 750 images to enhance and better clarify th ...more
Paperback, 2nd, 224 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Allworth Press (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jay Liu Yes, in my opinion, it's perfect for a newbie autodidact. It shows examples of what to do and what not to do. As an added bonus, toward the end, it…moreYes, in my opinion, it's perfect for a newbie autodidact. It shows examples of what to do and what not to do. As an added bonus, toward the end, it has further readings as well as checklists to evaluate your own designs. Very helpful.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Bryan
Mar 31, 2008 Bryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some good info, but its buried in pages of disorganized filler. Readability is sacrificed for visual flare on each page which makes for a hard read. (Ironically, this is what White instructs designers not to do). He introduces terms without defining them until chapters later. He can't seem to decide whether he is writing a guide for beginners or his grand treatise as a designer with years of experience. Generally his tone is pedagogical and snobby.
Rossella
Nov 14, 2010 Rossella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you are starting a career in graphic design this book can give you a short but effective overview of the basic principles professional designers follow in their work, and the aesthetics behind it.

But if you are simply someone that, for some reason or the other, needs to build some graphical skills, and apply what you learn to some practical work, you are going to find this book just too theoretical.

The only part which seemed to me to be a bit more down-to-earth is the last section (the fourt
...more
Marilyn
Oct 14, 2013 Marilyn marked it as unfinished
I didn't read this book cover to cover. I found it on a list of 10 books for graphic designers & got it from the library. The text seems aimed at people who design commercially (advertising, magazines). As someone interested in graphic design as a hobby I didn't find myself compelled to read all of it. At first I liked the design of the book but there are so many captions describing the images that it disrupts the flow of the information, especially since you don't know if the example images ...more
David
May 17, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
I am an Educator and I found this book to be worth the time reading. I would categorize it ad an introductory book on design. Also, it is important to understand that this book is not a typical read and cannot be approached in the same way as other non fiction.

The unique layout was engaging. It gives the reader an experience with the topic. There are many examples throughout that illustrate the authors points, along with various quotes that add emphasis. There is plenty of imagery and even some
...more
Tom
Feb 07, 2012 Tom rated it it was ok
As the other reviewer stated, for a book about graphic design, this book has lots of visual clutter. Sidebars, topbars (is that a thing?), and full-page examples distract from the text and obscure the point that the author is trying to make. I could barely follow the text through because my eye didn't know where to go. I'm not a graphic designer, but I felt that the layout could have been a lot better. The text was well-written, though I felt it read more like an academic paper than a textbook, ...more
Karen
My one problem with this book is that I found it hard to read--it was difficult for me to latch onto and remember the content. I think this was due to the busy, overstimulating design, which made me feel that I had to process everything at once. That said, it is a visually rewarding book with plenty of good examples. One lesson in particular that benefited me was the discussion of whitespace. Perhaps if the book design had followed through on this I would have had an easier time.
Manuel Frias
Good reference to learn the basic principles of design with a lot of examples. This should be a good thing but I have however mixed feelings. The reason is that every page has so many of them that sometimes it was difficult for me to either focus on the main text or on the examples. Plus, some are crammed at the top of the page and sometimes too small.
Adam Gilbert-Cole
Dec 10, 2011 Adam Gilbert-Cole rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-design
For a book about graphic design, the interior was a MESS. There was no white space, no breathing room, nothing that wasn't jam-packed with graphics and text. It was overwhelming. I'm much more enjoying Design Elements: a Graphic Style Manual. The layout is clearer, the graphics and illustrations are given more space when paired with descriptive text, and the pace of the information is better.
Robbie
Apr 10, 2012 Robbie rated it liked it
Concise introductory design tips focused mostly on use of white space and typography.

I'll agree that this has a lot of visual clutter, but I think it was going for a textbooky look—which does tend to run heavy on the visual clutter. There was a bit of a "do as I say, not as I do" aspect to it.
Travis Fantina
A little too academic to make it really enjoyable but there is a lot of really good information in here. I only wish whoever designed the layout of the book had taken the advice of the book, lots of the graphics were hard to follow and confusing, some were very low resolution as well. Strange for a book on graphic design.
A
Oct 17, 2012 A rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
The actual text portion of this book I would give 4 stars, as it is chock-full of useful information and really helps cement basic design principles. However, I'm giving it 3 stars because the structure and design of the content makes gleaning the information at times a challenge.

The content itself is pretty basic graphic design principles, how to think about them, how to use them. Size, color, proportion, white space, grids, typography, etc. While is could have been organized so there was a lit
...more
Sammy
Sep 26, 2007 Sammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: intermediate Graphic Designers
This is probably the best book on graphic design I've ever read. Usually, Graphic Designers are fairly incommunicative verbally. They will try to show you; ask you whether you "see" it or "feel" the harmony or balance or whatnot of some design. Of course, I don't see it. If I did, I wouldn't have to ask in the first place. Thankfully, this Alex W. White doesn't do that. His prose is clear about every concept Graphic Designers have ever introduced me to and neglected to explain.

Majority of the bo
...more
Bubu Dragoş
Feb 11, 2017 Bubu Dragoş rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-this-year
To be honest, I think it's an overrated book which lacks substance and is difficult to read because of the format chosen to display the information. The explanations from the glossary are more useful than the general definitions, examples until that point. I can't recommend this book to someone else.
DeAnna Knippling
Jan 14, 2012 DeAnna Knippling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Okay. Book on graphic design. You expect it to be well-designed.

I'm not sure if this one was or not: maybe that was the purpose. It was incredibly informative (especially on typesetting, for some reason), but the layouts and graphics seemed to break a lot of the rules that he was trying to get across. You'd look at a page and have no idea where to start reading, there were so many text boxes on it. And yet it wasn't hard to read, or boring, or confusing--you just had to dance around a lot.

Recomm
...more
Dale
Aug 21, 2011 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, technical
Besides being a very well-designed book (as one would expect), this is a very practical and down to earth handbook for graphic designers. The emphasis throughout is on the techniques needed to convey a message, as opposed to simply satisfying a designer's desire to be different or to stand out.

This book is obviously useful for aspiring or professional graphic designers, but I think it would be useful as well for anyone putting together a website, writing a brochure, putting out a newsletter, etc
...more
Lindsey Lockwood
Oct 13, 2014 Lindsey Lockwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web-design
I liked this book compared to other graphic design books I've read. I believe it gave me a good jumping off point in learning GD fundamentals. The "elements" (space, unity, page architecture, and type) didn't go as deep as I would have liked but alas their only elements. A few exercises, discussions, or even quizzes could have added more insight. I will have to find more material for further learning but at least I have a small base to start from. There are a few bits of information I could use ...more
Raeuberstochter
Mar 22, 2015 Raeuberstochter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich würde dieses Buch allen empfehlen, die ein Grafik Design Studium anstreben oder sich generell für diese Materie interessieren. „The Elements of Graphic Design“ liefert eine gute Grundlage um gutes Design verstehen und nachvollziehen zu können. Es sind genügend visuelle Beispiele für jedes Thema vorhanden. Es deckt wirklich alle wichtigen Elemente des Grafik Designs ab.
Fazit: Exzellentes erstes Design Buch für Amateure aber auch eine gutes Nachschlagewerk fürs Regal, sogar, wenn man schon ein
...more
Alpha
Feb 05, 2009 Alpha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Yet another book that I wish my coworkers would read. This is written at just about the perfect level for me, covering a broad amount of content without going too deep. It was a good overview, and definitely showed me that I could stand to learn some more about this topic. (Especially typography, which was quite fascinating. I've read a bit about typography in the past, but this presented the topic in pretty much the exact amount of detail that I wanted.)
Jennifer
Aug 21, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
I enjoyed the many examples presented here. I found many suggestions and the way they were presented to be disjunct. Possibly this is an attempt to meet the public where attention spans are generally short and fragmented? As film seems to bombard the senses, the reinforcing inserts seemed to impede the flow for my taste.
Charles
Dec 26, 2007 Charles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
This book will make you more cool in a Bauhaus, European, wear-lots-of-black, visual arts sort of way.

Or maybe it will help see the world anew... ordered and chaotic.

At the very least, you'll learn a lot about the power of active white space in graphic design.

Jessica
Apr 03, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: graphic design students and graphic designers
This is a great book for designers and students to read in order to find out what graphic design is about. Designers and students will benefit from this book, Alex brought up very good example of what space is about and why it is important in graphic design, when applying elements onto layout.
W.C.
I was going to just write a review of this book when I saw it on my shelf, but an hour later I'm done reading it through again. In a long tradition of books about graphic design being overly stylized and self-indulgent, this is a mediaful fun-fest of knowledge and artsy-fartsy discovery.
Natasha
Jul 23, 2013 Natasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent images accompanied the principles described. Well designed and well written text. Very useful beginner's book on design principles.
Claire Botman
Apr 05, 2013 Claire Botman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very useful set of checklists at the end
lindn
Nov 02, 2007 lindn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
Great reference book!
Margueritta Sleiman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Douglas Fenstermacher
Great for developing a foundational understanding of graphic design
Jennifer
Apr 12, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
Read this book 3 times... Can't wait to get my copy. Really go with learning the basics... Read it in school.
Molly
Molly rated it liked it
Mar 13, 2011
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