There is an argument for including a guide to good layout with every DTP application sold. Would you attempt to drive a car, or fly a plane for the first time, having read only the owner's handbook? While the consequences of poor layout may be less catastrophic than a road accident the results can nonetheless be ugly and unpleasant.
Whatever your view, if such a style guide were mandatory, Looking Good in Print would be an excellent candidate. Roger Parker and Patrick Berry have achieved the difficult task of covering all the important design fundamentals in a book probably no bigger than the manual that came with your DTP application, and certainly a lot more readable.
The emphasis throughout is on providing you with the information you need to design better-looking, and therefore more successful publications. If you read only the first two chapters you will be at least as well acquainted with the basic principles of page layout as most magazine designers appear to be.
Probably the best advice--not to go anywhere near your computer until you have sketched out a few ideas with pencil and paper--comes right at the start. Every aspect of theory and practice discussed is illustrated with clear examples which occupy at least half the available space. This means you can learn quickly--by seeing how it should be done, rather than reading about it.
The authors rightly recognise that good design, especially for beginners, is more often a case of not getting it wrong, than getting it right. So, for the crash course, once you've read the first two chapters, skip to the last two--Common Design Pitfalls and Redesign, which display in graphic detail all the ugly layout accidents just waiting to befall you and how to avoid them. --Ken McMahon [via]