Pure Design

True to its title, Mario Garcia’s Pure Design is clean, simple, and elegant. Inspired by minimalism, Mario Garcia explains how pure design can provide an enjoyable experience by allowing readers to navigate through a website or a publication effortlessly. The book covers words, types, layout, color, picture, and process in details and advices on what do and not to do. At the end of each chapter, there are real projects case studies to help readers apply the theory presented. The last chapter shares top ten useful myths from Mario Garcia. Pure Design is highly recommended for information and graphic designers. Although, the book focused mainly on newspaper design, some of the theories presented could apply toward the web as well. Here are some notes I find useful for web designers.

Pure Design– create simple and uncomplicated structure.

Design Theories:

Make it easy to read – clear typography, legible, and easy on the eyes
Make it easy to find – employ navigational tools that allow the reader to get to the content in the least amount of time possible.
Make it visually appealing – provide an environment in which good content will find attractive display.


Respect for words shows on every page. Words are the keys to our senses in ways that perhaps visuals, even the power of color, can’t.


Font should be easy to read, allow for contrast, and appropriate to the public.


To box or not to box? Use very thin borders around boxes. Allow white space between border and contents. Use thicker rule at top or bottom but never on the side.


Use colors to communicate, to energizing the canvas, to attract the eyes and to leave an impression.

White space is important. Like punctuation in a sentence, it allows thoughts to flow without running into each other. White space is the most silent of aids to the designer.


Photo composites work best for groupings of images that tell a story.

Headshots – use them small, and create a template, so all headshots throughout the entire publication are the exact same size. Headshots should be closely cropped. Always use a caption. Can be use in the text of a story. Can be black and white or color. Can be drawings or photos.


Good briefings – gather a small group with an outline of goals to be accomplished. Deal with philosophical discussions of what lies ahead
Dream a little – consider a different format, new color palette, etc. Bring to the table the organization’s best and most innovative minds.


– Readers don’t like reversed-out type
– Color must be introduce slowly
– Italics are difficult to read
– Flow of text should not be interrupted