My family has been buying Mac's since I no longer do their Windows tech support. Now I'm Apple Tech support. Can't win.

Design as a crapshoot

A post on a clients user forum got me thinking about what makes good design. The user had remarked that design was a crapshoot. Here’s the post:

This thread explains to a degree why the art of design, and web design in particular, is such a crapshoot. Taste is such an undefinable thing.

I got to thinking. If taste is such a undefinable thing, how come so many good designs out there are recognized as being good?

I don’t believe design is a crapshoot. The understanding of basic design principles such as repetition, contrast, alignment, proximity as well as some understanding of color theory helps immensely in design. Especially web design, where most “designers” learn Photoshop and set up shop. Design is not something that you can buy from Adobe. It is a continual learning process. While fads and trend will come and go, and individual tast may vary, the essence of good design remains unchanged.

For you new designers out there with no formal training, I offer this link to a book my wife found most useful.

Non-Designers Design Book

Its The Non-Designers Design Book, Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice, by Robin Williams. (no not the comedian)

Design Basics

Another great book I still have from when I was in college is Design Basics by David Lauer and Stephen Pentak. This book goes into more depth and is a must read for any beginning designer.