Never Use White Type on a Black Background

And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules

A list of inspirational/delusional design jargon for the world to judge.
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Anneloes van Gaalen
Article number: 9789063692070
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The world of fashion and design is inundated with a seemingly endless list of rules. Think of “Less is More,” “Form Follows Function,” “Keep it Simple,” “Dress Your Age,” and the list goes on and on. They’re familiar sayings that some designers consider to be valuable words of wisdom, which serve as a guiding line and source of inspiration. 
To others, these rules are mere restrictions: design dogmas and fashion formulae that need to be bended, twisted or broken altogether.

Rules tend to have a life of their own: over time their meaning changes or the rule is adopted by a whole new group of followers. Take, for instance, the classic “Form Follows Function.” It started out life as an architecture guideline but has crept its way into other creative fields. This evolution is reflected in this book by the chronologically placed quotes that accompany each rule and that are courtesy of designers, architects, fashion designers, typographers and other creatives. 

All rules are also accompanied by an image that either negates or supports the rule. Our aim is not to list all the rules that you need to adhere to. Nor do we take sides in the whole rules debate. Granted, creativity knows no bounds and therefore it seems rather ridiculous to restrict that creativity by sticking to a couple of age-old rules. However, in some cases the rules seems more like the basic principles that every designer should love, honor and obey. 
Whichever side of the fence you yourself are sitting on in the rules debate, you’re bound to find this book a source of inspiration, comfort, joy or just good old fun. Enjoy.


Anneloes van Gaalen is a writer, enterpreneur and all-round creative.

After receiving her MA and MPhil in English, American Studies and Cultural Analysis, Anneloes van Gaalen started writing for a wide variety of international publications including Wired Magazine, Dazed & Confused, ID Magazine and Surface. She also worked as editor-in-chief of LE COOL magazine Amsterdam. These days she writes for Amsterdam-based newspaper Het Parool.

Anneloes van Gaalen has written several books on (street) art, design, fashion, advertising, branding, new media and travel. She wrote and edited the popular Ridiculous Rules books and Indie Brands. 


“You’ve probably heard these design adages on several occasions (0r many more). You may even know the history behind them. Even if you do, Anneloes van Gaalen might teach you something. Or, just make you laugh. “ Curated Mag It’s funny and edgy, and a perfect gift for the designer that wants a good laugh or to anyone else who wants a good laugh at designers.” 

“The title of the book breaks all the rules about how book titles should be short and catchy, which is the same sort of cheeky irony that flavours the rest of the text.” 

“Writer Anneloes van Gaalen is an avid follower of design and fashion. In her new book ridiculous design rules, she frivolously analyzes the rules of design and fashion and lays bare all the dos and don’ts for you to follow… or to ignore.” 

“This is a fun book for designers, rule makers and breakers, or anyone with opinions. Art MoCo This book goes some way to poking fun at the ridiculousness of a few of them including my firm least-favourite “Think Outside The Box”. It’s Nice That 

“Mandatory reading for every design student. Entertaining to all those interested in design. And a good tool to keep designers on their toes. Highly recommended.” 


“A new book entitled ‘Never Use White Type on a Black Background’ by Anneloes van Gaalen makes design platitudes up into full-spread graphics accompanied by a series of quotes that show how the saying was revised, rethought and, in some cases, rejected over time. The result is a smallscale oral history of each rule.” 
-Fast Company


ISBN: 978 90 6369 207 0
Author: Anneloes van Gaalen
Format: hardcover
Dimensions: 17 x 12 cm
Pages: 160

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