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How to Be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul
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How to Be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  3,132 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
This guidebook addresses the concerns of young designers who want to earn a living by doing expressive and meaningful work, but want to avoid becoming a hired drone working on soulless projects. It offers straight-talking advice on how to establish your design career and practical suggestions for running a successful business.
Paperback, 174 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Laurence King (first published September 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 30, 2009 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fledgling & flailing designers
Shelves: onhand
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.

Laura Fudge
Oct 19, 2011 Laura Fudge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2009 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Dave Emmett
Apr 20, 2010 Dave Emmett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design, 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
Jul 26, 2007 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: soon-to-be-established graphic designers
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
Mar 28, 2008 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 03, 2008 Chrissy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  أحمد
Dec 25, 2014 فـيّ أحمد rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education

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.
Sep 02, 2009 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone working, or wanting to work, in creative industries
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 ...more
Sep 01, 2016 Arti rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
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-
J.E. Jr.
Nov 30, 2012 J.E. Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2007 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: freelancers, especially the arty ones
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
Zachary Selter
Feb 07, 2008 Zachary Selter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginning designers.
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.
Jun 11, 2008 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: recent undergraduates of graphic design
Recommended to Tony by: Design Observer
Shelves: design
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.
Jun 03, 2013 Cara marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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
Benedetto Piscitello
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.
Michael Graber
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.
Nick Florence
Jul 03, 2013 Nick Florence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 26, 2011 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jun 09, 2016 Vickie Pantle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
Jun 25, 2008 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 28, 2007 R.Friend rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
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
Mar 09, 2015 Katia De juan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
AIGA Charlotte
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
Scott Boms
Jun 24, 2012 Scott Boms rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
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.
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.
Sep 05, 2007 Brianne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recentlyread
didn't tell me anything i didn't already know and sure as hell didn't tell me jack shit bout not losing my soul. more like a 'it's-my-first-day-out-of-design-school-and-i-need-a-book-to-tell-me-all-the-things-i-should-already-know-by-now
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