Where do I begin with this book? I have to start by saying it is an absolute must read! This book will not teach you how to use Photoshop, It will not teach you how to do taxes as a free lancer, and it won’t tell you how to set up your business. What it will teach you is how each of us can choose different paths in our graphic design careers. This book covers so much material (the essential stuff they don’t teach you in school.) There is a code of ethics that must be followed as a graphic designer, and this book outlines several best practices, as well as how to enter the field from graduation.
The book starts with a basic philosophy, that “The modern designer needs to be a diplomat, a business thinker, a researcher, an aesthete, an ethicist, an innovator—in fact, a polymath. And yet, it seems to me that all the necessary qualities to be a designer can be boiled down to three essential attributes that we need to combine with talent and craft skills: cultural awareness, communication skills, and integrity.” -Shaughnessy, Adrian (2012-03-20). How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul (Kindle Locations 430-433). Princeton Architectural Press. Kindle Edition.
Advice and suggestions are given as far as how to deal with interviews, and how to handle customers. The author states he never talks about himself until asked too. This allows the customer/potential employer to talk, and it shows you are interested in them without talking about ourselves so much. This way the client/employer is more receptive to our ideas and will make them more willing to take us seriously.
The author goes in to discussing time management, research, strategies, presentation skills, and writing skills. They discuss how to set up a business plan, how to do interviews and giving great tips and suggestions such as showing your portfolio to the interviewer/client, not to yourself ( a common error). Guidance is given on how to handle tough deadlines, though clients, and when it is necessary to dump a client, yes, this may need to happen. It is explained that a client with high demands can actually cost you money and time.
The author also discusses how to find a job. This could include working in-house, working for an independent design studio, doing a apprenticeship, an internship, how to find employment opportunities, how to approach a design studio, how to interview, what employers are looking for, your portfolio, and approaching an in-house studio.
The author gives the pros and cons of freelancing versus working for an agency, and even for woking in-house for a company. They discuss how to start your own studio, how to work with a partner (if setting up a partnership), how to use professional advisors to help you with setting up your business, and how to find a premise as well as choosing a name and setting up your identity.
Valuable information is given on how to make sure your studio has a steady stream of highly talented staff, as well as how to employ and select good candidates. The author turns the tables and lets you know how customers and employers choose a designer or a company. This inside look gives you the edge by letting you know how to highlightgreat qualities and helps you stick out from the conversation.
Although there is much more to this book, I wanted to highlight some of the more pertinent information so you would be at least enticed to pick it up or consider reading it. If you are part of Amazon, you can also read it for free by borrowing it, or by downloading it for Kindle. This is a must read for any freelancer or any current designer looking to start your own agency.