Some live by the rules while others feel they are only there to be broken. Anneloes van Gaalen’s new(ish) book, Never Use White Type on a Black Background and 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules takes an analytical yet humorous look the merit of 51 established design rules. (The jacket sets the stage introducing ambivalence with a title that is far from short and catchy, and graphics that cannot claim to emulate your one chance to make a good impression, but somehow still works...)
It is odd to think that an industry spawned on the back of creativity would even entertain edict but everyone needs a framework and you need to know the rules if you are going to break them (rule 51!). Whether you follow guidelines to the letter or prefer to turn them on their face, there is something to be taken from this book.
As Miyoko of Dwell pointedly writes Regardless of whether you agree with the modernist motto of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ("Less is more") or the counterpoints presented by Robert Venturi ("Less is a bore") and Frank Lloyd Wright ("Less is only more when more is no good"), "less is more" still stands strong as an accepted design rule.
More interesting than didactic, each rule in this book provides an image that either negates or supports it, along with a short history of its origins and the design world's thoughts on them.
From the popular "Form Follows Function”, “Keep it Simple”, “Dress Your Age", "When in doubt, leave it out" to the overused "... is the new black", Rule 47 stood firmly out as our fave: "If your images does not work, put a dog in it." The phrase is based on a comment once made by iconic American illustrator Norman Rockwell: "If a picture wasn't going very well, I'd put a puppy in it."