Bookmarked: Never Use White Type on a Black Background…And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your success”
– Albert Einstein

I’ve been designing for more than a decade now (and it shows how archaic I am becoming as days went by) and admittedly, at times, I get relaxed, sitting pretty and carefree. Minding not the competition around me. Competition? Yes. If I don’t sharpen or regularly hone my design skills — know the latest technology on graphic applications design software — or update my design principles — I’ll be left behind. A good example of a life-size product (or fragment) of a blast from the past for the modern-day people’s object of ridicule.

I don’t have to be a geek or a love guru in order to be in the forefront of 21st century graphic design or visual communications. What I’m trying to tell is I should be abreast in the field of design — be in print, typography or in digital media. Being abreast in the field doesn’t mean I should come up with new sets of design rules or design philosophies to live by. For me, it’s all about revisiting the rules of design that we (designers) have overlooked or we became overly confident and monotonous to what we have been doing in the course of our design career. These design rules that has remain the same and kept on coming back in different forms or types. This is where the book Never Use White Type on a Black BackgroundAnd 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules comes in to play.

Never Use White Type on a Black Background…And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules hardbound cover

Never Use White Type on a Black Background...And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules inside cover page

Never Use White Type on a Black Background…And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules inside cover page

“Ugliness can make you think — if you go too beautiful it can stop you
from thinking”

– Bertjan Pot

When I got a hold of the book and read the first few pages, I can’t help myself from nodding my head with a smile of embarrassment. I thought I was on track but then again I’m still not. As I continue reading those rules pages by pages, it reopened my eyes on new design perspectives and made me appreciate again the simplest form of design there is. The book also refreshed me on how to approach a design problem — how simple or how complex it is.

The book has 145 pages of solid quotations or 50 rules from the great masters, godfathers, innovators and other ridiculous front runners of design per se — fashion to architecture — graphic design to typography — painting to photography. You name it. The nice thing about this book is there’s no single page relatively the same. Every page is rendered graphically and in dynamism; and the use of different type faces to evoke the topic discussed is smart.

Inside page: Rule 26 “Helvetica always works”

Inside page: Rule 28 “Good design communicates”


“Fire the committee. No great website in history has been conceived of by more than three people. Not one. This is a deal breaker.”

-Seth Godin

This title is not your complex type of graphic arts or design book that will show and tell you the nuts and bolts of every successful design process or design case studies. These are design inspirations compiled from over the world for your reference, and at times, for your enjoyment (to show how conceited you are in your design skills).

I highly recommend this book especially to those “egotistically superior”, “self-righteous guru” or who attained the highest exaltation of being a “great arrogant” designer they became. Many may agree or beg to disagree (since they have already preconceived ideas or they may have their own set of rules they know are far better) that this book will definitely a very useful tool in harnessing your design skills.

Inside page: Rule 40 “The client is always right”


Book details:

Never Use White Type on a Black Background was developed by Lemon Scented Tea
Commissioned by Premsela, Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion
Published in Asia in 2009 by Page One Publishing Pte, Ltd.
Editorial direction by Anneloes van Gaalen
Book designed by Lilian van Dongen Torman

Priced at PhP769.00 (Powerbooks)

About battlefield_man

Jocas A. See. Art director. Visual journalist. Visual communication designer. And a casual tourist

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