Why did I not read this 20 years ago? Oh, because I couldn't read.
Now that I can, however, I am ecstatic I read this book. I finally discovered where all these "rules" about indents and columns and white space and capitals and tracking and rag and typeface choice come from. Honestly, for the past few years I've just been listening and trying to remember all these ambiguous guidelines various professors and fellow designers have been preaching. Once I began reading The Elements, I realized that I have finally reached the essence of the rules of design. I am hoping to finish the book soon (as well as my website...I had my first fistfight over spring break, and dreamweaver won.)
No, but seriously, every designer. every level. read this book.
Maybe it's because I'm way more into typography than graphic illustration, but I found The Elements truly made me feel a bit more confident in myself . Once I learn all the rules, I can finally break them FOR GOOD [content-driven] REASON.