For someone new to design and design principles, this was a very welcome surprise! Yes, I know there are those who take exception to aspects of this book (different opinions about typefaces, wincing at the "dogmatic" ["patronizing"] views expressed, etc.), but these seem to be minor whinings compared to the solid foundation laid down here in clear, concise prose, with helpful accompanying illustrations. Now -- whenever I read someone else's book on desgin or layout -- I cannot help but see or hear Robin's four points: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity (C.R.A.P.). For example, in one book, the author advises using "assymetry" (non-centered) rather than "symmetry" (centered) for text. What I saw in the accompanying illustration was Robin's preference for left or right Alignment. She says such alignment looks more "professional" (sophisticated). Oddly, the other author thought "centered/symmetrical" alignment looked TOO professional (stodgy), and thus advised against it. Whatever the reason, they both agree on the outcome, but I prefer Robin's take on it.
The same goes for her discussion of "Proximity." I have read several desgin books that show "good" design samples, with no discussion of why the designs shown are good. But when I analyze them now with Robin's simple idea of "Proximity" in mind (i.e., keeping related things together), I can arrive at my own understanding of why a desgin "works."
And, although the "whiners" will wince once again, I like her reiterated advice about not being a "wimp" -- especially when it comes to Contrast, her favorite desgin principle.
I initially found her discussion of type/typeface overdone -- until I started noticing how often type/typeface is the distinguishing (or extinguishing) factor in print or web design.
Williams's book is not an exhaustive treatment of the subject, as she herself says, nor does it present the final word on all matters. It does, however, live up to its title as being for the non-designer. With the principles she shares, you can design your own layout and know WHY you did it one way, not another. In the future, although you may want to get new ideas from others, you will not have to rely solely on finished exmples of others.
P.S. As an excellent companion to this volume, I would suggest a book that Robin, in her bibliography, also suggests: "Editing by Desgin," by Jan White. It is excellent for the same reasons this book is: explanation and example, explanation and exmaple, explanation and example.