How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul

Adrian Shaughnessy

Another working title for this book was How to be a graphic designer without losing your shirt, and that one actually reads a bit more accurate than this one. This is more about good business practices for finding a job, being freelance, and setting up & running a studio than the more philosophical practices I thought I might find here. It’s still useful for starting designers in terms of understanding the industry and potential employers a little more, though those looking for more specific info on pricing and legal info may be better served by The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook.

The design is really attractive, but it was interesting when I would read at night under moderate (not bright) incandescent light, the combination of the less-than-black Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk, cyan accent colors, and the off-white paper made everything swim a little. Made me wonder if part of Shaughnessy’s process included checking the design under different lighting conditions.

I really like how the footnotes are placed in side margins rather than at the end of the page (though the cyan numbers were easy to miss in my night-time lighting) and how margins shift to accommodate them, thoughtfully with the content of the text. The blocks of text feel more dynamic than those that rely on a traditional, strict grid. Yet in reading the text, the design is still natural and fluid.