A Practical Guide to
Designing the invisible
by Robert Mills
ii A Practical Guide to Designing the Invisible
A Practical Guide to Designing the invisible by Robert Mills
Published in 2011 by Five Simple Steps Studio Two, The Coach House Stanwell Road
Penarth CF64 3EU
On the web: www.fivesimplesteps.com and: www.designingtheinvisible.com
Please send errors to firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher: Five Simple Steps Development Editor: Simon Mackie Copy Editor: Bill Harper Production Editor: Emma Boulton Production Manager: Sarah Morris
Design & Art Director: Nick Boulton, Mark Boulton Typesetting: Nick Boulton, Colin Kersley
Printed in the UK by Paramount Print
Copyright © 2011 Robert Mills
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library.
iv A Practical Guide to Designing the Invisible
Foreword Mark Boulton
As a designer, you will be asked ‘why?’ A lot.
Your colleagues will ask you. Your manager, your clients and your peers will too. The answers you give can win or lose work, determine the direction of a design or help win you awards.
Early in my career, I was told several times: ‘Tell me, don`t show me’. As a commercial designer, explaining your work is a critical part of what you do.
So much of what we do is invisible. In fact, someone once said that design is like air: you only notice when it’s bad. The subconscious cues, messages and stories are what makes our designs effective; not how pretty they look. To create really great design, you have to understand why; not just for your benefit, but for the person you’re explaining it to.
If you’re an experienced designer looking for a challenging read on semiotics, then this isn’t the book for you. However, if you`re dabbling in web design, or just starting out, then Rob Mills has crafted a super-practical guidebook that will give you a few more of those tools to put in that tool box.
A few tools ready for when you need to explain why that icon looks like a fish.
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