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Design Is a Job

(A Book Apart #7)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  3,788 ratings  ·  240 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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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,788 ratings  ·  240 reviews

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May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Joey Heflich
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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."
Chad Warner
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design
Mike Monterio has been a godsent in my life. I have learnt so much through this book. Being self-taught, I know the technical aspects of my field but the business side, the icky law stuff, dealing with clients (who I learnt aren't malicious evil grim reapers contrary to my experience which, Mike assures, was my fault to begin with in an ever so fatherly manner), knowing my place and worth in a team, how to colloraborate and so on.

Thanks Mike, for being the mentor this young designer needed at t
Peter Labrow
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Jen Serdetchnaia
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Chris Johnson
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This is probably the most important book you can read. I don't feel moved to put most of what I read up on GoodReads because writing a review is tedious work, and it lends itself to being a pompous douchebag. This isn't something I need help with.

Here are 10 reasons that you should buy this book:

1. Because life is short, and this book respects that. Every one of the 130+/- pages matters and is there for a reason. This isn't a bloated business book that should be just a tweet or two.

2. Because yo
Marion Boberg
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Powerful, must read book to all the designer, simple and accessible to all. audiobook was fun.
Yulichka Dmytryshyn
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great summary here Negotiate price, don’t compete on price. Compete on quality, value and fit
Craig Birchler
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Alok Pepakayala
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is more like an autobiography if you read it without knowing the title, the chapters have honest experiences and covers all possible things one has to deal with being in the field of design, many things are repeated across chapters which is bad (makes you wonder if you opened the book in the wrong page and started reading it again), but also good if anyone wants to just open a chapter and read it (so, its still full).
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: it
Although I started off biased (web design is not my thing), the book won me over by final chapters. The knowledge can be applied to any other job that deals with projects. Funny, easy to read, short and to the point.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great high level view of your job as a designer and how to interact with key players. Mike is direct and to the point with a candor rare in the design world. Plus if you listen to this on audiobook its like Nick from the new girl is reading it to you!
James Martin
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you’re starting a business in the creative industry, this is a book you need to read and re-read every three months.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design
Lean, useful, and consistently entertaining, this is an excellent book for anyone looking to work as a designer, or creative professional.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reading this should be one of the legal requirements for anyone filing a DBA to start a design practice.
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aiga-book-club
Good advice on working as a designer. But I'm sick of the "design bad boy" attitude. Also, dude let his adolescent on 4chan????
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for designers.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A collection of hard-won lessons from a veteran designer and leader.
The sort of insights that can help you apply meaning to difficulties as a creator.
Firing is necessary and ultimately good for both parties.
Hiring the best people requires courage. There's a good chance they will eventually surpass you, take your job, or leave you.
Your estimate should feel like a slap in the face.
Usually a late payment is not malicious.
Design is difficult drudgery most of the time.
Engineers are a designers
Tomasz Onyszko
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I picked this book, but it was on my "To Read" list in Audible so probably recommended via blog/podcast/peer. I don't know the author or company.

In the beginning, I wanted to drop it, but kept listening (mostly because I was running at the moment) and it got better!

Book is written from designer, but you will find it relevant regardless of your role: developer, consultant, self-employed or hired, salesperson, running a company (single or larger). Just replace "design" with what
Gaurav Mathur
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a book on Sales?

Many ask you to network, never eat alone, some ask you to be 'liberal with praise' etc etc. These books come across as too sales-y and you quickly identify (and get away from) people who seem to practice what is taught in these books.

And yet great leaders tell that sales is possibly the most important thing in business.

This is the first book which outlines how sales is ,actually done in the real world. It is of course much more geared towards the specific conte
Alex Gostev
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That's the type of a book that a practitioner wants to find. When being found this book is most likely to be treated like the gem. That's the blunt narrative that is absolutely down to earth and practical, even when the author goes into speaking about a mindset it's still highly practical.

I liked both the tone of the book that's a bit sarcastic (though very careful not to cross the line), very personal and direct. It feels like you're speaking with the author. Recommendations are actionable and
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
As an architect I am always looking for business advice on how to sell design. This book offers a lot of great advice on how to survive and thrive as a design business. Although the focus is on web design, many of the same debates and obstacles are present in architecture also.

The audio was very casual and the writing is more conversational with a slight vulgarness to it. I appreciate the confidence of the writer; however, at times it does come off as a bit vain, but...this is design afterall.
Ahmad Shadeed
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In short, this is a MUST read for anyone working as a designer. Period.

I can't believe that I didn't read this book when I started my career. I learned a lot of things about how we (designers) should do our work and stop complaining about clients or stakeholders requests. Most of the things I read where lessons that I learned the hard way (and still), since no one is born with skills on dealing with clients/stakeholders. This book is short and straightforward and full of lessons from real-life
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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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“Confidence doesn’t come from knowing you’re right—it comes from being okay with failing.” 6 likes
“Make sure you’re consciously building the story you want to be telling. And make sure your story is compelling enough that your next client is excited to become a character in it.” 3 likes
More quotes…