How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul

This is a required reading for my graduate course on professional design practices. Shaughnessy has great advices on making a living as a designer ranging from finding a job, running a studio, seeking new work to talking to clients. For example, here’s his rule when meeting clients:

I never talk about myself until they ask me to. Instead, I let them talk, I ask them questions about their business, and I allow them to have a center stage. Then, a little bit of magic occurs; they (usually) turn to me and say—OK, tell me about you.

His advice on interview is worth-noting too:

It is only by meeting people in both environments that we gain sufficient insight to allow us to decide which is best for us. In fact, here’s another little nostrum to add to the list that we’re accumulating: there’s no such thing as a bad interview. Even bad ones are good; I learned a lot about design and life from being interviewed by people.

I wrote a post on “The Art of Interview” two years ago; therefore, I concur with Shaughnessy that you can learn a great deal from being interviewed.

I recommend How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul to new designers, especially recent graduates, even though I find the book a bit dull. For one, I am no longer new to the game and I have heard of every tips in the book. For two, the book is set in Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk, which makes the reading experience incredibly bland, and the changes in layout interrupt the flow.