Over ten years ago I sat down on my back patio, the summer sun beating down on me and cracked open the pages of How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul for the first time.
I actually remember that day, it made that much of an impact!
At that time I had a total of one whole client under my belt and although I had no real idea how to start a business; I knew for certain that that’s exactly what I wanted more than anything.
I was pushing myself to become a Graphic Designer (it wasn’t until years later that I found the love that is web design) and although the book’s title clearly states that it’s for “graphic designers” there’s a wealth of information inside its pages for many different kinds of agencies. In all honesty, I don’t remember much from the chapters purely dedicated to graphic design. Nope, what I remember most are the chapters about starting, growing, and succeeding in building an actual sustainable business.
You know when you watch a movie, TV show, or consume any kind of media that just speaks to you? So much so that you’ve got to stop and talk about it to someone? That was what this book was to me.
How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul starts at the beginning of your career and continues on to chapters about freelancing full time, building an honest to goodness business, how to effectively communicate (not just with clients but those working along side you on your team!), and it was these later chapters have helped me greatly with my own business.
While writing this post, I wanted to see what others had to say about it and found this review that I feel sums things up well:
“This book is neither of those things – the complete opposite in fact. Shaughnessy writes so clearly and with such honesty that I found it hard to put the book down. Every page has nuggets of wisdom, some practical and common sense (“when to hire an accountant”, “interview dos and don'ts”), others more philosophical (“hire someone knowing they will your want to start their own studio”, “how to work ethically”). The interviews at the end were also pretty great as it's always fascinating to take a peek at how others work.”
In all honesty, I believe this book to be a boon to anyone in the design world, it’s clear, easy to digest, and contains so much useful info and insights – it’s a no brainer!