Universal Principles of Design

125 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design

by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler

Whether a marketing campaign or a museum exhibit, a video game or a complex control system, the design we see is the culmination of many concepts and practices brought together from a variety of disciplines. Because no one can be an expert on everything, designers have always had to scramble to find the information and know-how required to make a design work—until now.

Just a few of the principles that will broaden your design knowledge, promote brainstorming, and help you check the quality of your work:

  • Baby-Face Bias
  • Expectation Effect
  • Golden Ratio
  • Ockham's Razor
  • Proximity
  • Scaling Fallacy

The book is organised alphabetically so that principles can be easily and quickly referenced by name. For those interested in addressing a specific problem of design, the principles have also been indexed by questions commonly confronting designers: How can I help people learn from my design? How can I enhance the usability of a design? How can I make better design decisions? Etc.

Each principle is presented in a two-page format. The left-hand page contains a succinct definition, a full description of the principle, examples of its use, and guidelines for use. Side notes appear to the right of the text, and provide elaborations and references. The right-hand page contains visual examples and related graphics to support a deeper understanding of the principle.

This landmark reference is the standard for designers, engineers, architects, and students who seek to broaden and improve their design expertise.


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