100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Type: Graphic Design
# of pages: 256
Price: $17.99 Buy This Book Now

The other day, I was getting ready to head out to a meeting. I opened the front door, on my way to the car, and there, sitting quietly on my front patio was a package. “Hmmm … I don’t recall ordering anything,” I thought. So, I tossed it on the passenger seat and took off. When I got back to my office, package in hand, the phone starting ringing and the email was jingling. Typical.

It took me another day to actually open the package. It didn’t seem too important … at the time. When I did open it, there was a brand spankin’ new copy of 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D., to which I thought, “I know some things about people. Life taught me a few lessons along the way, after all. But, I guess I could always use more.” So, the first thing I did, as is my custom, was flip it over. There on the back were some immortal words: Learn To Increase The Effectiveness …

Okay, I’m game. The questions that followed on the back cover cemented my curiosity. So, I did the next task in my book perusal process. I opened to the Table of Contents. The first item was, “What You See Isn’t What Your Brain Gets.” Now I was hooked. What followed within the book’s 224 pages (plus references) was nothing less than enlightening when it comes to creating strategic design. You know. That’s the kind of design, graphic or otherwise, that goes beyond the everyday. It goes beyond simple pretty pictures and nifty type or various other design elements. It’s a design that uses its elements in a meaningful, well-thought-out way to achieve the client’s goal. Each element is there for a reason. It’s the kind of design that can be justified when presented for approval and ultimately does what it was … well … designed to do. That might be sell something, change an opinion, increase awareness, etc. This is the book that will help you do just that.

Dr. Weinschecnk presents some rather heady concepts and research in an easy-to-digest manner that simply make sense. This isn’t abstract stuff out of a lab. Sure, there’s some of that, but it’s always backed up with her, “Takeaways.” Those are tidy summations of the chapter that tell you how to use the information within your work. How handy is that?

For example, in Chapter 47, Susan discusses things that grab our attention. This is pretty important information for designers. She mentions Neuro Web Design, evolutionary perspectives, the idea of three brains and what they are. But, she brings it together with a few simple questions, “Can I eat it? Can I have sex with it? Will it kill me?” Now, that’s primal. Basic. It’s the stuff we can avoid paying attention to and our brains can’t resist.

Beyond being quite a fascinating read for just about anybody, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People is a tool for visual communicators to do a better job and have the knowledge and information to back up their reasoning. No longer will it be a “Yeah … blue’s kinda nice in this layout and Comic Sans is just all the rage.” This book puts you in the position of being able to guide your client through your design process with solid answers as to why you did thus or so. That’s a pretty nice position to be in and certainly can go a long way toward justifying not only your design, but those [new] lofty fees.