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Simple steps for better design

Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans: 365 Sins and Virtues By Ko Maruyama
Simple steps for better design
Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans: 365 Sins and Virtues

"Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans" is an abbreviated list of graphic design do's and don'ts, published by Peachpit Press / Pearson.  As I sit and skim through the compendium of rules set out in this book, I realize that I am breaking article three hundred and eighteen, but only immediately, as I smile, smirk, laugh out loud, and nod in agreement with the words on the pages.

Sean Adams, Peter Dawson, John Foster and Tony Seddon have all contributed to the list of 365 graphic design sins and virtues.  The book is not solely about following the path of the virtuous to avoid the hazards and bad design that artists might face, but, as Stefan Bucher points out in the book's forward, is about understanding the rules of good design so artists can decide to follow or break those rules. #87

My daughter is in fourth grade.  Her review was succinct.  "It's pretty".  I would have to agree.  The book is well designed, and the use of comic sans on the cover is quite appropriate. #1/2

This is the kind of book that you can get for each of your designer friends, and each will appreciate it for a different reason.  Similarly, each will hate it for a different reason (with as much zeal as they appreciate it). #157/#157

"It's funny because it's true."

It's possible that this is more of a "rule book", but I read some of these entries and laugh, "It's so true."   The pages are filled with truths about design practices that, by themselves (or to a novice designer) aren't humorous.  #189

Reading this as a designer, you may not think of the passages as humor directly, but the book will probably make you recall some poor design choices you've seen (because you've never made those errors yourself). #209

This is NOT a 365 calendar book.
This is a book that you can keep on your desk, or neatly display on the little table at the end of the couch (wait - you're a designer, you have a 'settee').  "Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans" is a book that you can pick up and thumb through when you're taking a break from making the world a prettier place, but don't want to get too far from designing.

If you get it for a friend, get two.  You'll want one for yourself as well, especially when crits on your own work come back in the form of three digit comments. #262

You can get your copy online or wherever good books can be purchased.  Looking at Peachpit's website at the time of this article, they are running some direct sales discounts at  You can also download samples of the book, including the graphic images….. and this book is available for download so you can take it with you everywhere.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:design, mac, photoshop, indesign, layout, web, print, product design

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