Worth a Look: Intelligent Design–Six Star Stuff

6 Star Top 10%, InfoOps (IO), IO Sense-Making, Methods & Process, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design

Before & After Books Recommended by Seth Godin.

Before & After Page Design, Before & After Graphics for Business

Before and After How To Design Cool Stuff
By John McWade

Before & After, How To Design Cool Stuff, is 226 pages of design for every designer, young and old, who is looking for inspiration as well as instruction. In a friendly and straightforward style, this book breaks down simple, elegant designs and shows you both why and how they work, so you can use the same techniques yourself over and over again to improve your designs.

Before & After Graphics for Business

By John McWade

Before & After's Graphics for Business, is 194 pages of designs for business essentials such as logos and identities, stationery, newsletters, charts and graphs, maps and sales materials, all first published in Before & After magazine. Learn how to make your good ideas great in ways that respect your time, budget and resources.

Before & After Page Design
By John McWade

Before & After Page Design, is 192 pages of instruction for designing newsletters, ads, brochures, fliers, stationery and more, clearly explained and beautifully illustrated, all first published in Before & After magazine. You're sure to find the perfect project!

Below the Line:  Long list of inspiring elements addressed in the three books.


Design without rulers
Put away your ruler. Here's how to design the way you see.

The empty page has a lot to say
Don't fly past that setup dialog! It's where your design begins!

Our color wheel
The color wheel is our tool for understanding which colors go with what.

How to find the perfect color
The color palette you need is already hidden in the photo. Here's how to find it.

What typeface goes with that?
How to pick a typeface that complements a graphic.

How contrast create type style
Using contrast properly can make or break your typographic design

Typography 101
Type is a tool: Learn how to use it properly, and your work improves.

Character parts


Many from one
Big photos have small photos inside. Here's how to get several images out of one original.

More from less

Cropping basics
How to crop photos for function and meaning.

Background selection

Focal points
Complex or ambiguous photo? Eight simple ways to put the reader's eye where you want it.

Cool covers
Ten simple ideas for great-looking covers.

How to design a second page
You've designed a beautiful outside. How do you follow it up inside? Simply.

Bring the outside in

Simply borderless
How to design pages for desktop printers that can't print to the edge.

Voice-over captions
A caption can be much more than a label. Here's how to get it onto your picture and into your story.

Multi-caption photo tells many stories

Multiple captions in high style

Lessons from a beautiful site
The University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences show that beauty really is in the details.

A welcoming home page
Greet all of your online viewers.

Simple, bold bright
Minimalism works on any scale.

Organize that card

The power of the postcard
Big image and small type, or big type and small image: Either works well.

Put a photo in your name
Words and pictures can be stronger than words alone.

Functional beauty


Make a theme
A simple graphic can provide a focal point, color, and continuity.

Design a story-style brochure
Fold — and unfold — a single sheet into an appealing, narrative-like presentation.

Template: Story-style brochure

Pocket-size brochure
Eight small pages tell a big story.

Small newsletter that reads big
Half-size page is easy to design and creates a strong impression.

Design a “photo” graph

Design a card the easy way
A photo and one block of type is all it takes to make a beautiful card.

Design a dual-purpose letterhead
Legal-size sheet can serve as your letterhead and provide a bonus, too.

How to set a text-only logotype
The key is to work with the natural pattern of your letters.

Design a flier that comes back to you
On a budget? Design a flier that doubles as its own return envelope!

Template: Flier that comes back

Small site, great format
This simple beauty is ideal for professionals and small enterprises.

Template: Small format website

Design a beautiful Web header
Create an effective header the easy way. Just think in sections.

Design simple presentations
Visual brevity will help a great talk.

Picture your presentation
Photographs give your audience an emotional connection to your words.

Design a panoramic booklet
A cross between book and magazine, this landscape format is unusually easy to lay out.

Template: Panoramic booklet

Design below the line
Simple technique creates a report that looks open and inviting.


Catch the eye of a passerby
Is your newsletter displayed in a public place? Here are six simple ways to improve its curb appeal

What typefaces are best for text?
How to pick, set, and lay out type that can be read

Design a handsome, ‘no frills' newsletter
This strong structure shows off well, and it's perfect for in-office printing

A newsletter clinic
An item-by-item analysis reveals techniques useful for every job

Typeface combinations
What typefaces go together? Here's how to mix and match

Head and shoulders above the rest
Design a newsletter that's elegantly tall

Lively newsletter puts everyone on stage!
Eye-catching and fun to read, this unusual newsletter is made of boxes
No art? No problem! White space can be your best friend

How to decongest your newsletter
Here's how ample white space and clear, visual contrasts make your stories connect with the reader


Dozens of documents? Make them look alike
Your look should say this is us. Here's how to unify your image — and simplify your job

How to get in touch fast
The personal touch

Design business stationery
Consistency please!

Gathering ideas on paper
Quick — before you forget!

Logos & Identity

What makes a good logo?
The most successful business logos share valuable characteristics. Here are some of the most important

Let's design logos!
Here's how to turn lively little dingbats into excellent logos and stationery

How to make a lettermark
Create a stylish, compact logo by combining a picture with your company's initial

How to design a wordmark
A wordmark is a logo without pictures, and it's hard to believe it's so easy!

Discover the logo in your name
Inside your name is a real logo — and finding it is as basic as one-two-three!

Design a name
Here's how to create a good look out of nothing — just a name on a shape — but there's a secret

Monogram logo conveys character
Typestyle, color, and a dash of flair say volumes about your company

Design your own ligature
Companies of every kind sign their names with letters that link

The art and type tango
You buy them separately, but art and type are two sides of the same coin — and there's magic in making them work together. Here's how they relate

Design a playful, multi-image logo
Can't decide on that one perfect graphic? This surprising technique uses them all!

Sales & Forms

Guidelines for a good layout
Basic guidelines can improve even dull forms

How to design photocoupons
Sparkling and compact, photocoupons have full-page appeal at a fraction of the price

Snap together a great catalog
Square plug-in modules make handsome, organized pages in a hurry

Create an infomark
Here's a recipe for subtle selling

How to draw great visual instructions
Have something to demonstrate or explain? Don't say it — show it!

How to design a Yellow Pages ad
Get all those fingers walking to your place

Charts, Reports, Calendars, & Maps

Bring the world to your door
The perfect point map will guide the reader anywhere without a word of text

A single line of months and days
Perfect for your desk, monitor, or wall

Create a word map
Bring customers to your door with just a few words

What's at the heart of a chart?
A good chart communicates quickly. Here's how to make one

How to design a business report
Keys to success: organization and a smart sense of style

Newsletters & Newspapers

How to design a news letter
Beautiful and simple, too, win accolades with this one-column gem

This digest-size newsletter is for readers
A cross between paperback and magazine, this low-key, text-rich format is ideally suited for long, thoughtful articles — and it's easy to lay out

Clean, asymmetrical layout leads the eye
Consistency and variation can work together

Easy! A simple, do-able look
What can you do with a few pieces of clip art and a tight schedule? Lots! Just think round!

How to energize a faceless newsletter
A crisp new design is easy to browse, as well as a point of pride

A simple, do-anything newsletter
This slick, half-size newsletter can adopt any attitude from high-tech to antique, and it goes together fast!


Beautiful, square brochure make a regal impression
How to make a familiar vehicle make a grand entrance anywhere it goes

Tiny brochure is a great stocking stuffer
A small but mighty package can be crafted from a standard-size sheet

Build a brochure with peekaboo panels
This format, built entirely from a single, cleverly folded sheet, gives consistency and motion to your message

Good-looking pocket brochure works hard, updates easily
This design is a promotional chameleon, ready to adapt to whatever use you need

An eye-catching zigzag brochure
Organize and grab your reader's attention at the same time

Fliers & Mailers

Preflight checklist for your flier
Follow these steps, and improve the vitality of your fliers and mailers

Design a product showcase
You can draw all eyes to your product if you properly organize your photos

Make your flier easier to read
This fundamental design principle will invigorate your pages

Add real feeling to your flier
Words inform, while art imparts the feeling

A greeting with a surprise
The customer is king with this generous coupon card

A magic message
This triple-panel production pops the payoff to your headline

A flier that stands on its own
A table tent takes a 2-D message into the 3-D world

A flying flier
Create an unforgettable mailer, one that sails into reader's hearts

A miniature postcard
Want to wish customers your best? Send them a card


How to lay out a good advertisement
Getting the balance just right is easier than you might think

How to design a powerful product ad
It's surprisingly easy: Just show us the stuff!

Advertising a speaker? Here's how
It's a common problem: an event to promote, an uninspiring photo, and a short deadline

Small phone, smaller phone book
A phone that's on the move needs a directory than can keep pace

How to strengthen a small ad
Flat shapes and soft grays give a 2 x 2-inch ad boldness and depth

Create dramatic photo layouts for your products
How to design versatile catalog pages that draw the reader into the action


How to lay out a stationery system
The first step toward great stationery is to build a strong foundation

How to design a “cold call” postcard
It's more than a card; it's you! Here's how to look your best

A business card brochure is a mini-marketer
Introduce yourself while engaging your prospect with this charming design

The invisible square
Design a handsome business card in this surprising space

Business Documents

Create a do-it-all business portfolio
Versatile and economical, this design can contain all of the materials you need to impress customers

How to design a modern resume
This businesslike, you-are-there resume presents the person behind the stats

Design a cover with background art
Build a setting for the mind, and words come alive

Make an easy-to-read data sheet
Sell! Visual organization turns an ordinary data sheet into a sales tool

How to improve every form you make
On a form, function is everything. Here are the simple rules

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