“100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People” can shed light on important factors for designers


Photo courtesy of Junction Design

Grace Haworth, Graphic Design Editor

From an amateur graphic designer’s standpoint, I think it’s always beneficial to find out more about what the population likes to see, what they are attracted to and what they stay away from visually. The book “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People” may be a little lengthy, but it can provide designers with quite a lot of that information.


I have never read a book specifically about design, so the light this book shed on the views of the population and how they see things provided me with important information that has aided me in many of my recent designs. The information is set up into different parts helping readers identify a general sense of what the facts and details will explain. The 10 sections are based on how people do things, for example “How People See,” “How People Remember,” “How People Think,” and “How People Focus Their Attention.” By splitting the information into these categories, designers and readers can easily navigate through the book and focus on one aspect of the information if desired.


The author does not just talk about what people generally think looks good, she also explains, scientifically, why people are repelled by and attracted to certain things. I found this both interesting and beneficial. For example,  a discussion of the structure of the human eye includes how important the peripheral vision is to understanding one’s surroundings. Also, because these scientific facts and explanations were placed at the beginning of each little section, I felt the information that followed was easier to understand.


Another section that was particularly interesting to me was when specific details about how the human brain works were explained. By explaining to readers why something looks a certain way, or why some things bring specific feelings, graphic designers are able to further understand their client and create more people-friendly designs. Many of the “100 things” were also supported by reliable experiments, and at the end of each little chapter, sources were cited. This made the information more credible and provided extra supporting information about the topics.


The author also didn’t forget to include some graphics to aid readers understanding of the “100 things”. The graphics helped to explain what the author was referring to and provided visual examples of the topic at hand. A specific example of this was in section 2, “How People Read”, No. 13 under “Reading isn’t as fluid as it seems”. The passage talks about how our brains quickly skip over words as we read; our eyes don’t look at every letter of every word. To help readers understand this, a graphic was put in place identifying where they eye might jump to when reading a specific sentence. Without this informational graphic, as well as many others, I don’t think the book would have been as comprehensible, nor would it have been as enjoyable to read. The graphics provided a deeper sense of understanding because it is one thing to read about something and a completely different thing to actually see it.

The 100 items that the book talks about are more than just 100 facts. They are detailed and organized explanations on what a designer should know about their clients. Overall, I believe the information I obtained from 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People will be extremely beneficial as I move forward in the design world. Already, I have altered designs and identified flaws in others that I would not have before reading this book. Not only will it aid me in printed design, it will also aid me in web page layouts and designs. Because of the important benefits this book provides, I would recommend 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People to anyone who is a designer or is just interested in design itself.