How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
Designers are quick to tell us about their sources of inspiration, but they are much less willing to reveal such critical matters as how to find work, how much they charge, and what to do when a client rejects three weeks of work and refuses to pay the bill. How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul addresses the concerns of young designers who want to earn a living by doing expressive and meaningful work, and who want to avoid becoming hired drones working on soulless projects. Written by a designer for designers, it combines practical advice with philosophical guidance to help young professionals embark on their careers. How should designers manage the creative process? What's the first step in the successful interpretation of a brief? How do you generate ideas when everything just seems blank? How to be a graphic designer offers clear, concise guidance for these questions, along with focused, no-nonsense strategies for setting up, running, and promoting a studio, finding work, and collaborating with clients.The book also includes inspiring interviews with ten leading designers, including Rudy VanderLans (Emigre), John Warwicker (Tomato), Neville Brody (Research Studios), and Andy Cruz (House Industries). All told, How to be a graphic designer covers just about every aspect of the profession, and stands as an indispensable guide for any young designer.

How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul Details

TitleHow to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 22nd, 2005
PublisherPrinceton Architectural Press
ISBN1568985592
ISBN-139781568985596
Number of pages160 pages
Rating
GenreDesign, Nonfiction, Art, Art Design, Business

How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul Review

  • C
    August 20, 2007
    This book is an excellent resource for freelancers in general. Shaughnessy is a graphic designer by trade, but his insight into what it takes to become a business professional in the creative world is invaluable. I would recommend this book to writers, artists, house-painters... pretty much anyone who works from home.
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  • Laura Fudge
    October 19, 2011
    I have read this before… when I first became a student. It was on the reading list, and I had heard good things, so I picked it up and read bits and pieces here and there. Now I’m in my second year of freelancing and in the middle of trying to update my website, get more exposure and improve my skills, and I thought it would be a good place to start.This book is full of gems, that I have found extremely helpful for specific elements of my work and in general. In the first chapter, Shaughnessy di I have read this before… when I first became a student. It was on the reading list, and I had heard good things, so I picked it up and read bits and pieces here and there. Now I’m in my second year of freelancing and in the middle of trying to update my website, get more exposure and improve my skills, and I thought it would be a good place to start.This book is full of gems, that I have found extremely helpful for specific elements of my work and in general. In the first chapter, Shaughnessy discusses attributes needed by the modern designer and I found myself nodding along with him in agreement – I spent my childhood copying lettering off everything I coudl without even realising what it was I enjoyed about it, and some of the habits he discusses are definitely habits that I have picked up since becoming a designer.The book is split up into sections based on different areas of being a graphic designer… finding a job, working for yourself, or someone else, freelance work, setting up a studio, which are all useful regardless of whether you think it’s relevant to you or not. I design freelance, and I am happy doing so, but I still read the studio parts of the book, and still found them helpful.I found that I am not alone in the big bad world of Graphic Design, and that some of the fears and insecurities I have are shared by designers all over the world. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not the first student to come out of University and not find a job straight away, and that this doesn’t make you a bad designer. There are also loads of tips and advice from many different designers on different ways to approach briefs, finding work, self initiated work and dealing with clients, and I know I am going to keep coming back to this book as a reference tool time and time again.There is also a brilliant appendix with organisations, websites, books and other designers to check out, a wealth of information and inspiration. There are a few interviews throughout the book with various different practicioners which are invaluable for adding another perspective and more advice on different subjects and issues raised in the book.If you are, or are planning on becoming a graphic designer, this book is a must-read. This book has helped me focus on important things within my career, and has some invaluable advice.
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  • Matt
    October 7, 2009
    I picked up this book solely based on its title, which I found to be, disappointingly, misleading. It would be more accurately titled The Practical Aspects of Being a Designer That No One In Art School Bothered To Teach You. It weighs the advantages of working for a firm versus going freelance, talks about the process of finding clients and proposing work, and provides a number of other pragmatic tips for the working designer. These are all unbelievably valuable, but not what I was expecting fro I picked up this book solely based on its title, which I found to be, disappointingly, misleading. It would be more accurately titled The Practical Aspects of Being a Designer That No One In Art School Bothered To Teach You. It weighs the advantages of working for a firm versus going freelance, talks about the process of finding clients and proposing work, and provides a number of other pragmatic tips for the working designer. These are all unbelievably valuable, but not what I was expecting from the title, which led me to believe it would be an explication of the socially conscious uses for design. Though I’m glad I read through this book, I’m still looking for the book I thought it was.
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  • Tiffany
    March 24, 2017
    This is another book that is easy to pick up and put down for inspiration. It wasn't something I read in order and will more than likely dip into here and there again in the future.
  • Dave Emmett
    April 20, 2010
    This was a pretty good book. It covered a lot of the less glamorous areas of becoming a designer: things like actually getting a job and dealing with difficult clients. It also discusses the benefits/downsides of getting a job in a studio, in-house, as a freelancer, or setting up your own studio. I’m still not entirely sure where I plan on heading once I’m done school, I think working for an existing studio would be pretty cool, but I don’t want to rule anything out just yet.I should note that w This was a pretty good book. It covered a lot of the less glamorous areas of becoming a designer: things like actually getting a job and dealing with difficult clients. It also discusses the benefits/downsides of getting a job in a studio, in-house, as a freelancer, or setting up your own studio. I’m still not entirely sure where I plan on heading once I’m done school, I think working for an existing studio would be pretty cool, but I don’t want to rule anything out just yet.I should note that while this book is geared towards graphic designers, the advice in it applies to probably 90% of design disciplines. I have no intention of becoming a graphic designer, but almost everything in it was relevant.
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  • Cathy
    July 26, 2007
    contrary to what the title states, this book won't tell you how to be a graphic designer.it WILL tell you what to do once you've acquired the software skills, graduated from a fine arts school, developed an eye for design, and found a partner with whom to start your own agency. it will tell you "how to be an experienced graphic designer".so it didn't do that much for me - a lot of common sense advice, a few informative interviews with eminent designers, and a page layout that was easy on the eye contrary to what the title states, this book won't tell you how to be a graphic designer.it WILL tell you what to do once you've acquired the software skills, graduated from a fine arts school, developed an eye for design, and found a partner with whom to start your own agency. it will tell you "how to be an experienced graphic designer".so it didn't do that much for me - a lot of common sense advice, a few informative interviews with eminent designers, and a page layout that was easy on the eyes. not much help for those just starting to get into the field or those without any design background. maybe i'll give it a second try after i get into and graduate from otis.
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  • Laura
    March 28, 2008
    This book was recommended to me countless times by professors. I wish it could have inspired me more, but it didn't do much more than bore me. I tried to read it again recently in the midst of a very depressing job search, but it still didn't resonate.
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  • Chrissy
    March 3, 2008
    When my boss at work (the VP of marketing) saw this book on my desk at work he said 'gosh, does being a designer really put your soul at risk?' Well, yes. At least our art soul. So for those who are in the designer boat its a good read.
  • فـيّ
    April 2, 2011
    A fantastic & perfect book for freelances and artists who wanna starting out, it''ll teach you things that Art school won't bother to teach you.
  • Caitlin
    August 29, 2009
    Well, this was a brilliant book. I should probably admit that even though I have a postgraduate design degree, I'm not a designer - I'm a classical composer and web interface developer - but in spite of the title, I think this is a fantastic book for anyone who is aiming to work, or trying to set their own business up, in pretty much any creative industry. The advice, while design-centric, can mostly be easily applied to other creative areas, and it gives a really fresh perspective on finding jo Well, this was a brilliant book. I should probably admit that even though I have a postgraduate design degree, I'm not a designer - I'm a classical composer and web interface developer - but in spite of the title, I think this is a fantastic book for anyone who is aiming to work, or trying to set their own business up, in pretty much any creative industry. The advice, while design-centric, can mostly be easily applied to other creative areas, and it gives a really fresh perspective on finding jobs and self promotion in particular.One of the things I liked best about this book was that Shaughnessy's advice on how to move forward in your career was all based around sound ethical principles - do good work regardless of what you're being paid, contribute to your industry, help other practitioners and stand by what you believe. All sound advice and it's fantastic to see someone advocating getting ahead by being a good person. Three cheers for Adrian Shaughnessy!Another thing I liked is that this could so easily be a read-once-and-discard kind of book, but the way the information has been tackled and presented means it's not. Its information can be useful all the way from student through to running your own business, plus the interviews and the chapters on self-promotion and the creative process have relevance no matter where your career is up to.All in all, a fantastic book - and a very easy read too. A lot of books talking about business can be very dry; this one certainly isn't. And it looks nice too :-)
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  • Arti
    August 29, 2016
    Not being the book’s real target (neither am I a graphic designer myself, nor a young graduate), I guess it is not really fair for me to judge the book… but over the years I have been influenced and embraced elements of design thinking in my day-to-day life of building technology products and I always enjoy my interactions with designers… That is why I picked the book up as I found it on a must-read design list… It was a bit disappointing, as I had to satisfy myself with just a few nuggets here- Not being the book’s real target (neither am I a graphic designer myself, nor a young graduate), I guess it is not really fair for me to judge the book… but over the years I have been influenced and embraced elements of design thinking in my day-to-day life of building technology products and I always enjoy my interactions with designers… That is why I picked the book up as I found it on a must-read design list… It was a bit disappointing, as I had to satisfy myself with just a few nuggets here-and-there… and a few ideas that apply not just to graphic designers but anyone building solutions for the emerging digital ecosystem. The book is (to be fair, it states that clearly) targeted at young graduates trying to learn the ropes in the real world and most of the topics and the observations tend to seem very obvious to others who are well on their way in the journey.A few sections on design thinking and social design opened up some interesting observations… and I did enjoy going thru the interviews with leading designers and taking out time to walk thru some of their work on their referenced web sites.
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  • J.E. Jr.
    October 3, 2012
    This was an interesting book — not exactly what I expected, as I was thinking more along the lines of a “philosophy of design” book, and this is a book about the business and practice of being a working designer.The author demonstrates and obvious and clear knowledge of the field, having worked as a designer for many years. Those just starting, or who are setting out on their own, will find this book an invaluable resource. There are some chapters about the philosophy of design, and I found the This was an interesting book — not exactly what I expected, as I was thinking more along the lines of a “philosophy of design” book, and this is a book about the business and practice of being a working designer.The author demonstrates and obvious and clear knowledge of the field, having worked as a designer for many years. Those just starting, or who are setting out on their own, will find this book an invaluable resource. There are some chapters about the philosophy of design, and I found the author’s reflections on the ethics of design especially useful. There are also a handful of interesting interviews at the back, almost as if an afterthought, but with a good bit of design philosophy within them.
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  • Susie
    March 14, 2007
    i don't remember who recommended this book to me, but i owe them a debt. this inspiring and thought-provoking text is a must-read for any freelancing graphic designer/illustrator/arts professional. reading it before i had started my own business would likely have reduced my confusion and helped me build the confidence, patience, motivation and professionalism i had to learn the hard way instead.excellent read, excellent advice, excellent philosophies for any working creative pro.not a text about i don't remember who recommended this book to me, but i owe them a debt. this inspiring and thought-provoking text is a must-read for any freelancing graphic designer/illustrator/arts professional. reading it before i had started my own business would likely have reduced my confusion and helped me build the confidence, patience, motivation and professionalism i had to learn the hard way instead.excellent read, excellent advice, excellent philosophies for any working creative pro.not a text about designing or learning to design, but a text about learning to run a design business with integrity.
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  • Zachary Selter
    February 7, 2008
    For a beginning designer this book has lots of little things to point out that you may not have thought of, but they are the type of things that once they are pointed out they're obvious. The mix of interviews add a nice variety to the opinions of the book, and the advice is sound. It helped bring me up during the time of job hunting.Overall good book to have when you begin.It also has points on starting your own business, but since i am not yet attempting that, they were less helpful for me.
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  • Tony
    February 14, 2008
    I read this book several years after completing my BFA in Graphic Design, I wish I would have read it my last year of school. This books gives great insight on the structure of the graphic design world from the perspective of successful working designers. It informs readers about freelancers, small offices, larger ad agencies and corporate in-house in the contemporary work place. A quick read and is definitely helpful for young graphic designers.
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  • Cara
    June 3, 2013
    I really really wanted to read this, but then I read the Kindle sample and found it very tedious. Is it just the copious amounts of front matter (two introductions and a foreword, totaling 10% of the book) that are boring, or is the whole book the same? Reading the table of contents made me want to buy it; reading the sample made me want to not. :P
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  • Benedetto Piscitello
    June 2, 2013
    It's a fun book. It gives a lot of interesting tips and point of views from any type of angles related to the Graphic Design world. The student one, the Freelencer one, the Studio's Owner one, the Client. A lot of tips and tricks related to the presentation of a portfolio and much much more. Easy to read and it contains again many stories, interviews and general heads up that can be very useful.
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  • Michael Graber
    September 26, 2011
    This book gives practical, from the trenches advice for creative professionals. We read it as a group at The Southern Growth Studio. Everyone could relate. You could simply replace the word "designer" with such terms as writer, actor, etc. ... and make the content relevant for any creative who has to hustle with integrity to make a living.
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  • Nick Florence
    July 3, 2013
    This book offers practical advice for aspiring (and current) designers to use in the real world. He gets straight to the point touching on topics like dealing with interviews, developing your portfolio, and even running your own studio. Definitely worth the read if you're considering a career in design.
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  • James
    June 26, 2011
    A really informative book aimed at students and recent grads. I have little else to say than to tell you to go get it. Full of brilliant information that I feel as if I will take to heart for the rest of my life. One of the only books I own that I have defaced by highlighting some of the contents. Need to read this again.
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  • Q.maley
    January 18, 2016
    This is a must have for young designers in the industry - it really helps give you a firm foundation and foot-hold on the industry and covers a lot of ground that may be a rocky situation for a fledgling GD.
  • Vickie Pantle
    January 11, 2016
    This was an incredible book with so much insight to what being a designer is all about, as well as good bits about starting your own business. The interviews with specific designers at the end was also very informative and helpful!
  • green-earth
    October 6, 2012
    This is a good book, but I found it didn't really answer the question of how not to lose your soul. A lot of great advice for graphic designers starting out - especially on preparing a portfolio, interviews and seeking out mentors.
  • Katie
    June 11, 2008
    This book had some good advice and practical insight. A quick read, ideal for upcoming/recents college graduates or those wanting to break out and start their own business.Shaughnessy's writing style is casual and easy to identify with.
  • R.Friend
    August 28, 2007
    Great insight from a terrific range of influential designers, and highly inspirational. Perfect on a day like today, when I had a client ask me to "just make the font bigger so it takes up all the space."
  • Katia De juan
    March 3, 2015
    It is a really good book for those who are trying to become a designer. It doesn't offer advices and tips regarding your artistic skills, but about the business point of view of becoming a graphic designer in today's society.
  • Mike Bell
    June 27, 2016
    An excellent overview of the advertising and design industry. Filled with insights and succinct analyses of what to avoid in situations. Breaks down the separate approaches to the industry. I wish I had read it years ago. Should be required reading for any designer.
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  • AIGA Charlotte
    December 7, 2008
    How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul addresses the concerns of young designers who want to earn a living by doing expressive and meaningful work, and who want to avoid becoming hired drones working on soulless projects.Read at June 2007 by the Book
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  • Scott Boms
    June 24, 2012
    If you've read Mike Monteiro's "Design is a Job", this is the book you should read next. In my case I read it first, a few years ago but it's a great book to turn to anytime you need to be reminded what your job actually is and how to do it.
  • Jonathan
    February 4, 2011
    Ought to be required reading for every graphic designer. Whether you're just starting out, or are a seasoned professional looking to improve the quality of your work life, this book will give you a nudge in the right direction.
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