Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Book - Universal Principles of Design

William Lidwell
Universal Principles of Design: 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design.
Rockport Publishers, 2003, 745.403 LID

Both a quick access resource for designers, and an easily digestible introduction to the fundamentals of design, Universal Principles of Design is a valuable tool for anyone wishing to engage with the design process.

As well as unpacking major subjects within design such as 'Accessibility' and 'Aesthetics', Universal Principles of Design also explains theories such as the 80/20 rule, which highlights the need to evaluate each design element as '80 percent of the effects generated by any large system are caused by 20 percent of the variables in that system'.

The book provides concise yet detailed explanations to aid our appreciation of methods such as consistency in branding, a concept that we all know to be an effective advertising technique without necessarily having a full understanding of why. Delving deeper into the importance of human responses to design, the book contains a strong coverage of human factors such as 'Attractiveness Bias' and 'Mimicry' illustrating that the way we engage with a product psychologically is as important as the way we use it physically.

Universal Principles of Design could certainly provide valuable insight for
anyone wanting to be involved in any of the design competitions being run by the RSA in 2007. Once again RSA Design Directions has a number of awards on offer, including the recently launched 'Flying Start 2007 ' for young design/creative graduates with an interest in starting up a design-led enterprise. For those wanting to gain a better understanding of exactly what Design Directions is all about, a free publication is available entitled Design Directions: Three Years of Designing the Difference. To receive a copy of this publication, please contact

RSA Arts & Ecology will also be encouraging general thinking about design solutions in 2007. Engaging in the need for arts and design to tackle environmental issues, we will soon be launching our 'Bat House Project' which is a competition to build a home for bats in London and will be open to architects, the general public and school children, with a prize for each category.

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