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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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  4,433 ratings  ·  93 reviews
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 l ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 22nd 2005 by Princeton Architectural Press (first published September 1st 2005)
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3.97  · 
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 ·  4,433 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it liked it
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
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Deniz Cem Önduygu
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
I admit, I was a bit worried about the "without losing your soul" in the title of the book before starting, but Adrian Shaughnessy turned out not to be nearly as romantic as I expected; he even argues that self-initiated projects ("personal projects") usually are not a good way to promote oneself and get new clients – something that doesn't resonate well with the title, and something I don't agree with even though I don't believe in souls.

Interestingly, there are a few paragraphs where Shaughnes
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, design
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
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: design students
Useful book for the business end of graphic design. I liked the exterior design and color scheme of the book, but I thought the layout of the inside pages was a little awkward, calling attention to the white space and away from the text itself.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Fai Ahmed
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-design

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.
Abi Nottingham
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found a lot of little gems of wisdom in this book. The author’s style is straightforward and there’s basically no fluff to be found, and as it’s split into regular sections it’s easy to digest. The book is obviously one successful designer’s opinion, so it’s to be taken with a pinch of salt, and although it’s an updated version I still think a few things are a bit outdated. Saying that, I think this book is worthwhile for any budding designers or artists, even if you skim the bits you don’t th ...more
Rick Henderson
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book every graphic design student should read.

I absolutely loved this book. A long time fan of graphic design, I didn't know a lot about the industry or of well known designers. It focusses mainly on UK designers but is filled with incredible quotes. Every designer thinking about opening a studio should read this. You'll learn about the actual business from people who have been successful.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A handy book that I have recommended to my design students, mainly to help give some of the anxiety in their head some empathy and to look forward. A senior designer friend said, "Let me know when you want to read a heavier design book," which I will probably do at some point. This book, however, is a great short read -- read the chapters that are important to you, read the interviews at the end, and go on.
Dave Irwin
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design
Im actually going through this book with a fine tooth comb to try and pull out every bit of information I can. I love the layout, which I think is beautiful. The stories and lessons in the book are very approachable. They stick in your head and provide excellent advice. I think this is definitely a must read for anyone who is starting a graphic design business but also anyone who wants to work with clients at all.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this an insightful glimpse into the world of graphic design. Definitely took some notes in a few sections and was glad there was an update for modern digital design and web interface. That's the side of design that I find so delightful and interesting and plan to delve deeper into my studies.
Sml BioBot
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-design
This is a fantastic book on how to be a graphic designer in the competitive market. If you reverse its point, it also helps a lot in understanding how to interview designers when piles of portfolios and resumes arrive at your desk.
Matthew Potter
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a good outline of what it means to be a graphic designer, but I was hoping for something that would dive more into the dilemma of being an artist while at the same time doing commercial work that may or may not be making the world a worse place.
Tom Parkes
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I recommend if you are stuck in a design rut.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing resource for freelancers, consultants, and indie entrepreneurs of all sorts.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So informative! This book really covered everything. As much as it’s difficult to get into specifics about graphic design, I really enjoyed this and learned a lot.
Ania Gaska
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-design
This book riled me up! Im so pumped to get going but I'm not sure how to apply it practically
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
I really should have read this book before starting my freelance designer career.
Alex Khlopenko
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
To be honest the book proved the worst kind of whining memoir of people who think New Age stuff like meditation and freelancing are The Answer.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Clear and to the point. Key points on what should be taught in school.
Richard Roach
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Book is good, the graphic design of the book itself is a bit rubbish.
Like when you move a picture in Microsoft Word and it shifts the tectonic plates of the document and words get jumbled.
Lloyd Clayton
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read a couple times, because the book gives the reader a scope of the Graphic Design profession. It also includes wisdom from highly accredited individuals working currently. It had the answers to a lot of my questions.
Floduardo de Almeida
It’s a good book. Most of the things are common sense, at least for me. There’s some good tips inside, but maybe this book is more useful for a graduated student who pretends to know more about how to be a graphic designer and or pretend to open a design agency (but still, there’s a lot more to know!).
Aug 29, 2009 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
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Novice and Professional Graphic Designers 1 2 Jan 31, 2019 12:59AM  

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