I’m starting out as a technical writer, and want to present my written material as best as possible to the customers. Are there any “bibles” or introductory books on graphic design that I could benefit from reading?
I don’t have the time to go in depth, I just want something like “the ten most common mistakes” people can make in design to help making 80% of the material in the world look much better.
Your best bets would be “The Non-Designer’s Design & Type Books” by Robin Williams, and “Before&After, Graphics for Business” by John McWade (in that order). They cover the mistakes, but also the core principles you should keep in mind while you work.
Both are very approachable, well-written, simple and full of the kind of excellent design wisdom that you need as a technical writer. They are also application-agnostic, so the information is applicable to any platform you might find yourself working with.