Design Is a Job
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Design Is a Job (A Book Apart #7)

4.46 of 5 stars 4.46  ·  rating details  ·  887 ratings  ·  132 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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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...more
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...more
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.
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....more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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."
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.
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...more
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
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.
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.
writing is funny, witty and intelligent. great advice on how to be a consultant, conduct business and protect yourself as a designer
The best book related to design or business that I've ever read. So much of the advice is obvious yet most of us are not doing them. Mike gets straight to the point with his advice and backs up his knowledge with real world examples. This short book is full up with useful tips and I made so many notes while reading through it.

Like all A Book Apart publications this is a short read and you should be able to read it in a couple of sittings. Having said that it contains as much good advice as 10 bi...more
Jul 12, 2014 Emir rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio
This is a great companion book to Business Issues in Graphic Design course of Graphic Design practicum along with Shaughnessy.
Josh Kinal
There's no doubt that Mike Monteiro is probably a grade A arsehole to deal with. He pretty much says as much in this book and who are we to argue. He also knows his craft exceptionally well and details all the things they should teach people in design school.

Design is a job and not an opportunity to explore creativity. Monteiro discusses all the skills a designer needs and the ammunition and armor required to be good at one's job and make the world a better place through design.

Recommended for a...more
Ben Altieri
The most interesting / thought provoking / attention span maintaining book I've ever read about business
Kevin Wirth
Awesome book taught me a lot about client relations and verified a lot of what I experienced already.
I really liked and appreciated this book, which is a great resource for designers, like me, that are good--and comfortable!--churning out the creative product, but quickly acquiesce and get walked all over on in the business side of things. This book helps you see and appreciate the business- / job-side of being a creative. It helps you get your head on straight, and helps you avoid wasting your time and energy on the clients you shouldn't be working with. And finally, it will help prompt you in...more
Mike Monteiro is, in one word, polarizing. How polarizing? This excerpt will give you an idea:

"A Designer solves problems within a set of constraints. [..]

What kind of problems? Well, that's what determines the kind of designer you are. [..] If you're sixteen and holding an empty toilet paper roll in one hand and a piece of aluminum foil in the other, you're an industrial designer."

With his experience and the occasional arrogance, see above, he not only manages to keep you interested, he also ma...more
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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...more
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You're My Favorite Client

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“Confidence doesn’t come from knowing you’re right—it comes from being okay with failing.” 0 likes
“If you take on production work, you don’t get to call yourself a designer.” 0 likes
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