There are, of course, no second chances when it comes to a first impression, and in Judge This by Chip Kidd, you'll learn how to make an initial splash.

How will you be seen? That's a big concern for you on many days: will your mode of dress impress or are you feeling frumpy? Can a strong handshake overcome onions for lunch? There are, of course, no second chances when it comes to a first impression, and in Judge This by Chip Kidd, you'll learn how to make an initial splash.

"First impressions," says Kidd, "are key to how we perceive the world… And based on our first impressions, we judge things. We can't help it." In fact, you want your clients and coworkers to judge your product and design because, if they don't, "that's a problem."

As Kidd sees it, there are two "effective and fascinating aspects of first impressions." You want clarity when it's essential that people immediately get your message. Nothing can be muddled. Everything must be clear-cut. Clarity is the tool to use when your message is technical or "no-nonsense," but you can't use it constantly or you may lose attention.

The other tool Kidd mentions is mystery, which is "extremely powerful" because it tickles an audience's fancy by making them work to get the message. It's like a "secret code you want to crack," and it's "much more complex than clarity." Again, caution is needed when using mystery; in fact, Kidd says that, in his job as a book cover designer, he tries "to create a balance between" the two design tools.

Using his "mysteri-o-meter," a graph he created to rate the design and advertising examples he includes, Kidd explains how he (and others) may judge items and what could have been done to make those items or ads different. He rewrites handbills, examines furniture, and explains why movie posters are the way they are.

And then he judges them.

So your ad budget just isn't getting the results you need? That new design is tanking? Judge This may give you insight.

Without a doubt, it's helpful to know the two basic design aspects you can employ to sway potential buyers. But the judgments and conclusions that Kidd offers are mostly personal. He's spot-on with some observations but with others, I disagree. These things are often based on opinion.

And yet, this book is informative and lighthearted. And if that's what you - or your design team - needs, then Judge This needs to be seen.