(Book Review) Universal Principles of Design, 2010 Edition


Review Published:

From authors William Lidwell, Kristina Holden, and Jill Butler comes a comprehensive examination of design principles and applicability to all fields of design.

From increasing the appeal of a design, to crafting how it's perceived, this book offers designers of all kinds a solid and accessible basis for understanding the human factors that go into succuessful projects.


Four and a half out of five.What does this mean?

(Incredible Central Idea, Presentation is Clear)


Easy (Great general reference).


272 pages.

Where to Get It:

The Good

  • An approachable and comprehensive guide to design principles; this book includes design principles for better usability, influence, user-perception, and product effectiveness across all areas of design.
  • The organization is fantastic; this book uses alphabetical organization for quick reference, and a second table of contents built upon category for easy discovery based upon what you want to do with your product design.
  • A deep understanding of the psychological/biological principles behind design; the "human" basis for each design principle is explained, and where research is on-going the most current theory is shared.

The Bad

  • A lack of immediate application; while the book explains each principle, it's up to you to apply them with previous design knowledge (which may trip up beginners looking for "how-to" guide).
  • Where to learn more; the credits at the back of the book have a few resources you can look up, but it's up to you of you want to research a specific principle further (i.e. a "Further Reading" section would help).

The Bottom Line

  • This is an essential guide for designers; no matter what you specific design field (i.e. UX, visual, interiors, content, etc.) this book has insights for you.
  • This is a versatile resource; whether you're learning the principles for the first time, or going back for reference, this will be a book you go to often and is well worth the money.
  • Updated editions; if you choose to buy (and if you're interested in design, you should), be sure to look for the latest edition of this book (i.e. 125 design principles at time of this writing).
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