The design industry has evolved rapidly over the past decade. Effective and successful designers no longer need to just “make things,” they need to be curious thinkers who understand how to solve problems that have a true impact on the world we live in and how to show the power of designing for social good. Now more than ever, the graphic design industry needs a book that teaches the foundations and theories of design while simultaneously speaking to the topics of history, ethics, and accessibility in order to make designs that are the most effective for all people.
In Powered by Design, educator, designer, and public speaker Renee Stevens brings a truly up to date and thoughtful approach to an introduction to graphic design. As Assistant Professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University, Stevens created this book to be at home equally in academia and outside of the school setting. With a conversational and approachable tone, Stevens’ book is for anyone who wants to gain a more practical understanding of what graphic design is today, and the power and potential it has: from students to novice graphic designers to anyone who wants to build a solid foundation of design skills so that they can work more effectively with professional designers. Stevens covers topics such as:
Woven throughout is the crucial idea that you must embrace empathy in everything you design in order to create work that is the most inclusive. Design has the power and potential to make real impact in our everyday lives, and this book will show you how to do that starting with your first design experience.
Soft Cover- without flaps
rajiv.rajivchopra (verified owner) May 19, 2020
I am not a designer, so I assume that this book is for people like me, and those starting in the world of graphic design.
From my perspective, I would say that this is an excellent book.
Renee has an excellent premise: if appropriately used, good design can solve problems. Her approach is very systematic. There are specific topics that I found particularly useful. For instance, the whole topic on fonts has helped my clarify my approach to how I would like to present myself in the world of self-publishing.
I did mention that her approach is systematic. This approach is helpful for anyone who wants to go back and look up specific topics.
Overall, the book has given me a better appreciation of the world of design, and all that it encompasses.
I recommend this book to people in the creative field. I also recommend this to corporate executives who are engaged in branding, communication, or anyone who has to design a layout (even a warehouse map!)
Her chapter on how data can be presented visually is excellent. This is one chapter I will refer back to in the future.
Gloria June 26, 2020
OK, I love this book from the get-go. With chapters called “relationships are hard”, “emotional design”, “do less”, and “meaningful experiences”, just to name a few, how could I not love this author?
Stevens begins the book by explaining the power of design: how much easier traffic issues are if signs are clearly understandable, for example; signs that can be read by the dyslexic, color blind people, and people who speak a different language. I have never thought of the consequences of poor design in this way. Got to say, never having actually designed a sign in my life, the opening section of her book has intrigued me and I feel absolutely compelled to read the rest.
Stevens discusses the way to begin a design project: at first, identify the problem you want to solve. She goes on to advise that we empathize with the audience who will see whatever we are designing. I appreciate the humanity of this book and also that she is explaining to us how we can achieve the end our clients want!
In the chapter on emotional design, she teaches us how colors evoke emotions and states of mind in the viewer. She tells us we need to consider this in our overall design. For example, of course, bright colors will trigger a happier mood while monochromatic colors may convey mystery or drama says Stevens. She then takes us through the color wheel telling us not only what colors mean in our culture but goes on to tell us that blue can mean evil in Turkey and Greece, or love and joy in Hinduis. Those are great things to think about so that we are not so solipsistic as to believe that colors mean for us they mean for all viewers.
Have to love a book that tells us to “do less“! Of course, the author does not mean to instruct us to be less productive. She explains that, for example, if we make print larger, to stand out, we don’t also need to underline it, make it bold, etc. As she says, we don’t need “belt and suspenders“.
I especially enjoyed one of her final chapters on making a living. She entitles the first section of this chapter “Yes, you should even charge your mother.“ That heading exemplifies what I love about this author. The book is full of superb advice on design creation but is not intentionally overwrought and difficult to understand. Further, she is not only clear in her imparting of knowledge to us, she also has a great sense of humor.
I will be working on a slide presentation soon and will most definitely be referring again to this book for design ideas and how-to instructions.. Absolutely a book I will keep in my library.
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