You are previewing Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty.

Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty

Cover of Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy Published by John Wiley & Sons
  1. Cover
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Title Page
  4. Introduction
  5. Chapter 1: Why Design Matters
    1. What Design Really Is
    2. What Design Is Not
    3. The Layers of Design
    4. Conclusion
  6. Chapter 2: The Purpose of Design
    1. Visual Design and Its Relation to User Experience Design
    2. Sometimes a Visual Design Is Just Good Enough
    3. Sometimes Visual Design Is Your Advantage
    4. Reverse-Engineering the Twitter User Experience
    5. Knowledge Applied
  7. Chapter 3: Medium and Form in Typography
    1. The Tragedy of Misuse: Why You Hate Comic Sans
    2. The Shackles of the Typographer: The Unalterable Word
    3. The Formation of Our Alphabet
    4. The Birth of Our Letters
    5. The Type That Has Lived On
    6. Garamond Today: Why You Don’t Use Garamond on the Web
    7. Knowledge Applied
  8. Chapter 4: Technology and Culture
    1. How Trends Are Created
    2. SEO Is Design
    3. Knowledge Applied
  9. Chapter 5: Fool's Golden Ratio: Understanding Proportions
    1. What Is Proportion?
    2. Proportion and Design
    3. The Broken Promise of the Golden Ratio
    4. Other Pleasing Proportions
    5. Proportions in Our World
    6. Proportions at Work
    7. Knowledge Applied
  10. Chapter 6: Holding the Eye: Composition and Design Principles
    1. Compositional Relationships
    2. Design Principles
    3. Why the MailChimp Logo Is Beautiful: Use of Composition and Design Principles
    4. Knowledge Applied
  11. Chapter 7: Enlivening Information: Establishing a Visual Hierarchy
    1. What I Mean by “Hierarchy”
    2. Hierarchical Factors in Isolation
    3. Hierarchy at Work
    4. Knowledge Applied
  12. Chapter 8: Color Science
    1. What Is Color?
    2. The Tricks Your Eyes Play
    3. How the Visual System Works
    4. Defining Color
    5. Color Models and Data-Driven Graphics
    6. Thinking in Hexadecimal Color: Understanding the Colors of the Web
    7. Color Models in Action: Why Your Business Card Doesn’t (and Never Will) Match Your Website
    8. Knowledge Applied
  13. Chapter 9: Color Theory
    1. Color Response throughout Human History
    2. Color Response and Human Biology
    3. The Power of Red: Why You Don’t Stand a Chance in the “Target Challenge”
    4. Research on Other Colors
    5. Color and Culture
    6. Color Schemes and the Color Wheel
    7. Color Choices and Web Conventions
    8. The Interaction of Colors: Why Monet Never Used Black
    9. Color Schemes
    10. Creating a Mood with Color
    11. Tools for Creating Color Palettes and Schemes
    12. Knowledge Applied
  14. Appendix A: Choosing and Pairing Fonts
    1. Classifying Typefaces
    2. Looking At Letter Structure: The Form of the Skeleton
    3. Pairing Fonts
    4. All the Fonts You’ll Ever Need
  15. Appendix B: Typographic Etiquette
    1. Distorting Type: What Not to Do
    2. Setting Body Copy
    3. Tending to Typographic Details


When I was in grade school, handwriting was my worst subject. I had terrible handwriting. It looked like a woodchuck had barfed a bunch of twigs onto a piece of paper. So, each quarter, when I was sent home with my report card, it was full of A’s and B’s . . . and one C-, in penmanship.

Never having been one to blindly accept convention, I asked why it even mattered if I had decent handwriting. It’s probably no surprise that I thought handwriting was “stupid,” even “a waste of time.” I was too young to respect the merits of something at which I had no hope of succeeding (though seriously, grading on penmanship is stupid and a waste of time).

No matter how many times I asked, I was always told the same thing: “When you grow up and get a job, you’ll need to be able to communicate clearly. You need good handwriting to communicate clearly.”

Thank goodness computers took over. My handwriting is still terrible. Oh, I can draw letters, but I certainly can’t write them.

Today I understand that at the root of my educators’ intentions was something valuable: Clear communication is critical to success. Luckily for me, I rarely have to rely upon my handwriting to communicate clearly. I can simply type an e-mail, make a slide presentation, or write a book, and it will be rendered in crisp, beautiful typography. Many of these letterforms were perfected over 500 years ago, and they still carry words with strength and clarity today.

Additionally, I have spent years studying the ...

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