New Book: Never Use White Type on a Black Background and 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules.

This new book: Never Use White Type on a Black Background: And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules by BIS publishers grabbed my attention because I’d just attended a web design conference that made a case that you lose 50% of your site visitors if you put white text on a black background. So, I was excited to read this alternative view that encouraged us to break all the rules. What was their angle? What were the other 49 ridiculous rules? I had to know.

When I glanced at the table of contents, I became more and more interested. Some of the rules they were challenging covered many I’d heard before, and others I hadn’t:

Never use more than two typefaces

Design isn’t art

Never use copy and paste

Never photograph people eating

Always make the top left-hand logo of the website a home button

A picture is worth a thousand words

Never stretch a font

Form follows function

The logo must be recognizable

Helvetica always works

Never work with animals or children

Now that they had my attention I had to know their “take” on things. While the book was excellently laid out and had wonderful graphics, I was kind of stunned that the content mainly consisted of short quotes by famous people. While the quotes were inspiring and challenged the rule, I really wanted a page of explanation, or an argument for how, why and when to break this rule.

For example the only text for the rule “Never photograph people eating” was this:

Nobody really seems to know who came up with this one, but take one look at the undoubtedly unflattering photos taken of you or your loved ones while munching away on some food and this rule’s raison d’ĂȘtre will immediately become apparent.

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” Ansel Adams (1902-1984), American photographer

“I really believe there are things nobody “Photography is not a sport. It has no would see if I didn’t photograph them.” rules. Everything must be dared and Diane Arbus (1923-1971), American tried!” photographer Bill Brandt (1904-1983), British photographer and photojournalist

“My photographs do me an injustice. They look just like me.” Phyllis Diller (1917), American comedienne

When I evaluate whom this book might be intended for, I’m thinking it might be a designer who needs a break from the rules, and wants a quote to post on the wall from Steve Jobs or Giorgio Armani, to remind them to go ahead and be a revolutionary.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have been disappointed if the book had been given a different title, such as “Quotes by Rule-Breakers on Design.” In that case I’d give it an A+, but for someone like myself, who was really looking for an alternative perspective I could use in my work, I wanted more than quotes. I would prefer to read a lengthy page by Steve Jobs making an strong argument for breaking a rule, rather than 5 short quotes by a variety of designers.


Tools for Creating Ideas

I ran across this interesting list of ways to come up with ideas from a website creatingminds.org Each one has a detailed descriptions on how to do it. Pretty amazing stuff.


List of Design Blogs To Subscribe To

I ran across 4 lists of Design blogs. They have tons of resources. It's worth digging through.

Here are excerpts:

100 Amazing Design Blogs To Subscribe To

It is important as a designer, to build a good collection of resources for constant inspiration. That’s why I subscribe to over 100 feeds all in different areas of design, to gain see a wide spectrum of knowledge. My RSS reader of choice used to be Google Reader, but more recently I’ve been using the Firefox addon Feedly , which extends Google Reader’s capabilities and adds Twitter and FriendFeed integration.

Here I will list over a 100 blogs for you to subscribe to, but also I will give a link to download all the URLs so they can be easily imported into Google Reader.

  1. Net Magazine – Blog URLSubscription URL
  2. A List Apart – Blog URLSubscription URL
  3. A Propostional Structure – Blog URLSubscription URL
  4. AETUTS – Blog URLSubscription URL
  5. Alex Buga – Blog URLSubscription URL
  6. AndySowards.com – Blog URLSubscription URL
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1stwebdesigner Blog by Dainis Graveris in Latvia covering all things design and freelance.Abduzeedo Created by Fabio Sasso in Brazil and now one of the most popular design blogs. Includes tutorials, wallpapers, interviews and news. Strong participation from readers.Andy Sowards Eponymous blog covers cool links from around the world of web design, development and technology.Anidan Design Dani McDaniel’s blog covering design and development for the web and Wordpress. Dani also set up JustTweetIt with Adelle Charles at Fuel.Arbenting From Angie Bowen and Robert Bowen, Arbenting covers design tips, tutorials, news and inspiration.BittBox Great blog from Jay Hilgert focusing on freebies for web designers and developers.BoagWorld Popular podcast on web design, development

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25 Blogs for Freelance Designers

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to sharpen your skills as a vector designer, a photoshop designer, a website designer or if you’re just looking for resources, inspiration and freebies (like brushes & icons), the websites below will give you everything you’re looking for. I’d definitely suggest checking them all out and subscribing to each of their RSS feeds (I’ve got them all in my feed reader)... Article Continued....

250+ RSS Feeds For Every Graphic, Web Designers And Bloggers To Subscribe To



5 simple color tips

Found a nice article on color. Check it out. Here's an excerpt:

Image with rainbow colours

1. Choosing a Colour Palette

Keep it simple, or go crazy. In between is no good.

I find using two or three colours plus some neutral tones works well for general use. Try picking two main colours – say a red and a blue then use tones of those two colours plus your neutral colour. If you start adding more colours without thinking, it can make your design less distinctive.

I’ve always been drawn to multi-coloured artwork. Sometimes this really works. Using all the colours of the rainbow (for want of a more technical phrase) can look stunning.

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