Universal Principles of Design

Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell

Good for: Learning ux design techniques and methods.

Design. The moment you read that word several things could have sprouted in your imagination, but most often the first thing that comes to mind is a visual pattern. But how often do we consider the deeper meaning behind the word design? Design, though often approached as an artistic and visual concept, is employed in uncanonical disciplines like the design of architecture, the design of software systems, and even the design of nature. Look downtown and you may notice the unique designs of the buildings as well as recognize the patterns of the streets and how they have been organized to increase the flow of traffic. Every keyboard, though different in color, digital, and physical form, is designed to make input accessible. The layout of your local grocery store is designed to be navigable and groups similar things. Formulas and mathematical equations are designed to effectively produce results. Plants and animals are designed from their outward appearances and functions all the way down to their molecular and atomic systems.


In essence, design is any strategy or plan developed and implemented to fulfill some purpose. Although design can be applied in broad disparate disciplines, design has core principles that can be utilized by any system that has a plan with aims to achieve a goal. Universal Principles of Design (William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler) is the one-stop-shop guide to inform designers of just that: how to design with intentionality to effectively achieve those goals.


Universal Principles of Design contains 125 design principles, arranged alphabetically. Each principle has a full page spread: one page holds the principle and gives full definitions and examples and the other page contains illustrations and image examples of the principle. The definitions are clear and concise, and each page is rich with thorough explanations of how the principle works in application. For every principle, you will also find suggested principles that are either known to be used together or are related in some fashion. Universal Principles of Design is a timeless resource that every designer should have in their toolbox. As the subtitle suggests, it will help a designer “enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design. Whether you are a novice or a veteran designer, grab a copy to apply new principles to your work and unlock creative treasures.



Reviewed by: Perry Merity

perryPerry is a User Experience and Front-end Web Designer and Developer based in Dallas, Texas. Perry is kind of obsessed with Pokemon and often refers to himself as Perry Hotter. His friends and love interest don’t find him very funny, but he’s a code wizard and makes more money than them so it’s okay.




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