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Design Is a Job (A Book Apart #7)

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  1,428 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Co-founder of Mule Design and raconteur Mike Monteiro wants to help you do your job better. From contracts to selling design, from working with clients to working with each other, this brief book is packed with knowledge you can’t afford not to know.
Paperback, 135 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by A Book Apart (first published March 12th 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Mike Monteiro is someone I have repeatedly followed and unfollowed on Twitter over the last few years. His occasional clever wit and insight is largely eclipsed by his brash and arrogant stream-of-consciousness. He picks fights, makes fun of people, and is probably one of the design field's most notorious smug assholes.

Yet, somehow, in Design is a Job his grouchiness melts away. His arrogance becomes helpful confidence. His gripes transform into wisdom learned the hard way. Foul-mouthed cursing
Short and to the point, Design Is a Job is a must-read for anyone who works as a designer, and a great read for anyone who works with clients, period. Not everything will apply to everyone, but there are plenty of words of wisdom which will. Even as a software developer, I found plenty to chew on and digest. The book is punchy and useful, and it'll hardly hurt at all. In fact, you'll be done with it before you know it. Of course, then, you'll want to read it again.
When I sat down to write this (and I wrote it once already but tumblr ate it so I’m hoping I can write it again with pretty much the same words) I knew I’d end up reviewing not just the book, but the author. Which is okay as in the case, the book is the man.

If you know Mike Monteiro simply as @Mike_FTW on twitter - the guy with the acerbic wit, the guy willing to start and finish an argument with brutal belligerence, the guy who is as honest as he is funny - then what you probably don’t know is
Peter Labrow
Let’s face it, there are plenty of books around telling you how to run a business. It’s always more interesting (and somewhat rarer) when someone tells you how to run your type of business.

That’s right, folks. Design is a Job is written by the leader of a website design company, Mule, and is primarily written for other website professionals.

But, if you’re not a website designer, don’t look away now! It’s also extremely valuable for those who work with, or commission, almost any kind of designer.
Chad Warner
Sep 08, 2012 Chad Warner rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chad by: A List Apart
This succinct book is densely packed with sage business advice for designers (especially web designers). Monteiro rightly calls it “a guide to making a living as a designer”, and shows that he has a lot of experience in the industry. It’s quite funny; I laughed out loud several times. My favorite chapters were Getting Clients, Choosing the Right Clients, Charging for Your Work, and Working with Contracts.

I especially liked Monteiro’s description of the role of design. He says that designers aren
Graham Herrli
I would work for Mike Monteiro. It's not often someone's personality comes across so clearly in a book. His book shows him as a forthright upstanding man.

He has a wonderfully concrete style with humor smattered throughout. Design is a Job is his simple, straightforward advice on how to succeed as a designer. I expect a lot of this advice is common sense to people who have experience in business or networking, but it wasn't altogether obvious to me; I found it reassuring to read some basic princ
Alfredo Sherman
Llevo poco tiempo siguiendo a Mike Monteiro y la brutal honestidad que maneja sobre las cosas que le importan. De poco en poco este camino me llevó hasta este libro, el cual coincide con dos temas que son muy relevantes para mí en el momento: diseño web y ganarse la vida como diseñador.

Es un libro con una extraña redacción, lleno de metáforas muy sencillas y puntuales, y una visión muy sincera, a veces recurriendo al sarcasmo, de cuáles son los procesos de trabajo que más le han funcionado con e
Craig Birchler
If I could have given 3.5 stars I probably would have. I found this book to be well organized and practical for design consultants. The practicality for traditionally employed designers is fairly limited to about 4-5 of the 10 chapters as much of the focus is on finding design work, negotiating for and receiving payment. That said, many concepts throughout the book are applicable for all design situations.

I found the short structure of the book to be limiting. At times, large principles were st
Joey Heflich
"Ever wonder why Batman didn’t just open up a secret facility and have Jim Gordon send him his best cops for some intensive training time? Because Batman has a huge ego is why."
Jen Serdetchnaia
Good quick read. Like good design, everything Monteiro says is technically obvious but somehow enlightening in the way he says it. I love his stand for being comfortable with money, for accepting that it's your failure for not educating your clients if they don't believe in the design process, for comic relief, among other things. Would have loved some more craft-specific references. At times came off like an extremely basic starter guide for a small business.
First off, this book would have been really handy for me back when I was in school. I made a lot of freelancer mistakes right after graduation that this book could have helped me avoid, or even just handle a little better. This book needs to be a mandatory for design students everywhere. Actually, mandatory for designers everywhere, whatever the level of experience may be. I'd also extend my recommendation to anyone that is involved anywhere in the workflow of shipping design. From freelancers t ...more
This book is wonderful. Mike gives you all the advice teachers are afraid to give you. He digs into the awkward and difficult issues we all face, from how to write a contract to how to fire someone. I would recommend this to anyone figuring out how to run a business or be in-charge of people. Great read. Great topics.
James Martin
Solid advice on client relationships and most every other aspect of the work-a-day life of professional designers. A fast, enjoyably irreverent read. I learned a lot from reading it, much of which will directly benefit my work.
Excellent book! Full of practical wisdom for the business and reality of design and how to do it right, including advice I think would really strengthen designer/client relations and that makes everyone's lives and work so much better. Instantly putting Suggestions to work in my own work.

Really glad I listened to it (audiobook) and I highly recommend it to designers of all types. Mike's got a nice sense of humor. It's entertaining while it's informative. And he reads the audiobook himself, which
A must-read/pep talk for anyone striking out on their own. For a healthy freelance/client relationship, write a contract and get a lawyer involved.
If you’re starting a business in the creative industry, this is a book you need to read and re-read every three months.
Reading this should be one of the legal requirements for anyone filing a DBA to start a design practice.
Should be required reading for designers.
Ann Lemon
smart, funny, true.
Note: I don’t think this counts as a review in the strictest sense. I’ve tried to explain why, and in what way Design is a Job has helped me get a start in web design without too much lying to myself. If you want to know what’s in the book, just go read it, it’s not that long.

When you are new to something, every step seems nearly impossible. I started freelancing some ten months ago, about half a year after graduating. I started my own business for several reasons, the most important one being m
Michelle Desa
Brilliant and entertaining, hardly what I expected based on the title and summary. Lots of useful information about design as a profession from dealing with clients to working with other designers, packaged in a tiny, hilarious little book.
I found it really relatable too, it covers pretty much every way I (and plenty of other designers I'm sure) have been burnt. I lost count of the number of times I went, 'Damn, now why didn't I think of doing that!'.
Joe Chellman
An outstanding book on design (of course), but also on client services. It feels kind of hyperbolic to say it this way, but I think Mike is an electric speaker, and his voice translates well in the book. Lots of valuable lessons for anyone who works with other people in a service industry, or more generally with other people.
Jaycruz Cruz
I don't agree completely with Mike Monteiro's notion that Design is just a cranking widget/blue collar job. Sure, at the end of the day even the most complex careers can be simplified to just "jobs." I understand his point of demystifying design as this magical creative stuff, creative people do, and I agree with that part of the argument. But his insistence on separating design from not having to do anything with creativity is a little confusing. I work at an actual blue collar job. A mind-numb ...more

+ Liked the frank attitude; honest salesmanship never hurt anyone, especially in this industry.

+ Author broke down the mental toolkit of a (good) designer quite well

+ Strong examples of interacting with people (designers and non-designers) were given, along with a sense that they've been earned with many years of experience.

- Personally wanted more specifics and examples with several of the things mentioned; for example, excerpts from a sample contract, and repairing a fixed link that was broken

This is not a design book. It is a business book for designers. More geared towards someone running their own company than to freelancers, but many of the points can also be applied across the board. Monterio writes with great economy and humour, and there were some excellent take-aways from this book.
This book is essentially the Clean Coder[1] for designers. Applicable to anybody attempting to set up their own freelancing/consultation company.

I would highly recommend reading this. Adding it to my favorites shelf.

Karen Mardahl
I read this for the UX Book Club back in August 2014, but never registered it here for some reason. I would definitely recommend it - especially to any freelancers or independents in the world of design, technical communication, and development.
This book is a great quick read that reminds or schools you on how to run a service business. Lessons span much of the service industry and are designed to be put into play immediately. Practical advice.
Jorge Luis Symonds Pavlovich
Awesome book. Clear and concise, yet thorough when it comes to exploring design as job. It even includes very relevant ethics concerns and a how-to client guide.
Superb through and through. A perfect manual for people who want to sell their own work and for those who want to purchase work from people.
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Some say the clothes make the man. Others say it’s opinions. Co-founder of Mule, Mike likes to have a bet both ways. His 2012 book, Design is a Job, was a love letter to hard work, self-awareness, and the importance of a good tailor.

Mike cultivates his reputation around being serious about design, human rights, a damn fine joke, and the Phillies. His philosophy of supportive antagonism helps Mule
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