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Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty

ISBN: 978-1-119-99895-2
352 pages
August 2011
Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty (1119998956) cover image


Discover the techniques behind beautiful design?by deconstructing designs to understand them

The term 'hacker' has been redefined to consist of anyone who has an insatiable curiosity as to how things work—and how they can try to make them better. This book is aimed at hackers of all skill levels and explains the classical principles and techniques behind beautiful designs by deconstructing those designs in order to understand what makes them so remarkable. Author and designer David Kadavy provides you with the framework for understanding good design and places a special emphasis on interactive mediums. You'll explore color theory, the role of proportion and geometry in design, and the relationship between medium and form. Packed with unique reverse engineering design examples, this book inspires and encourages you to discover and create new beauty in a variety of formats.

  • Breaks down and studies the classical principles and techniques behind the creation of beautiful design
  • Illustrates cultural and contextual considerations in communicating to a specific audience
  • Discusses why design is important, the purpose of design, the various constraints of design, and how today's fonts are designed with the screen in mind
  • Dissects the elements of color, size, scale, proportion, medium, and form
  • Features a unique range of examples, including the graffiti in the ancient city of Pompeii, the lack of the color black in Monet's art, the style and sleekness of the iPhone, and more

By the end of this book, you'll be able to apply the featured design principles to your own web designs, mobile apps, or other digital work.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Understanding Design.

CHAPTER 1: Why Design Matters 9

CHAPTER 2: The Purpose of Design 19

Part II: Medium and Form.

CHAPTER 3: Medium and Form in Typography 37

CHAPTER 4: Technology and Culture 75

Part III: Composition.

CHAPTER 5: Fool's Golden Ratio: Understanding Proportions 105

CHAPTER 6: Holding the Eye: Composition and Design Principles 133

CHAPTER 7: Enlivening Information: Establishing a Visual Hierarchy 167

Part IV: Color.

CHAPTER 8: Color Science 195

CHAPTER 9: Color Theory 235

Part V: Appendixes.

APPENDIX A: Choosing and Pairing Fonts 291

APPENDIX B: Typographic Etiquette 311

Index 329

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Author Information

David Kadavy is a user interface designer whose clients include Silicon Valley startups such as oDesk, UserVoice, and PBworks. He led the design departments at two Silicon Valley startups and an architecture firm, taught a college course in typography, and studied ancient typography in Rome. David blogs about design at kadavy.net, and his Twitter handle is @kadavy.
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Do you think you've discovered an error in this book? Please check the list of errata below to see if we've already addressed the error. If not, please submit the error via our Errata Form. We will attempt to verify your error; if you're right, we will post a correction below.

ChapterPageDetailsDatePrint Run
255 Errata in Text
The text Currently reads:
The numbers below the first red triangle
0, 100%, 50%
Should read:
0, 100%, 100%
Note: there are 2 red rectangles
313 Text Correction
Currently reads:
Notice how thick and clunky the serifs are and how underwhelming the stroke modulation is in the authentic bold sample as compared to the fake bold sample.
Should read:
Notice how thick and clunky the serifs are and how underwhelming the stroke modulation is in the fake bold sample as compared to the authentic bold sample.
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