I have spent a lot of money on books over the years, and most of those I could have easily lived without and not noticed the loss. However, two that I have found indispensable are both published by Making Memories: (1) The Scrapbook Designer’s Workbook by Kari Hansen; and (2) The Scrapbooker’s Essential Guide to Color. I knew when I looked at pictures of layouts what I liked and what I didn’t like, but I didn’t know why something appealed to me and something else did not. The first book taught me principles that made me realize there were reasons for my likes and dislikes. Once you learn those principles, you can use them like any other tool to help you create designs that you like. These are not rules set in concrete; but after acquainting yourself with them, you will know when you can bend or break them and still have a design that pleases the eye. After reading this book (wire bound hardback; 124 pages, including 3 pages of glossary) I also found my appreciation of other art forms increased dramatically. The first book does have a section on the use of color; but the second book goes into more depth, and I found it very helpful. I would suggest getting just the first book and then after finishing it getting the second. (The book on color is also wire bound with a hard cover.) Both books have plenty of layouts and illustrations for each topic covered. These have both been around for several years but the information is the sort of thing that does not go out of date, but you may have to Google them to find copies. Hope you find this helpful.