I am reading the book How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer (affiliate link) by Debbie Millman (picked up at Rizzoli in New York, a great place to find design books). The book comprises of a series of interviews with famous graphics designers. Here are some common themes in all the discussions.
  • The process to getting to a good design is messy: you try, try, try, and then all of a sudden it happens (or not). Different from churning out analysis and data charts one after the other.
  • The standard career path for a graphics designer (start at the bottom in a big studio) inhibits success later on. Multiple designers spoke about finding a career setup that frees you from a big corporate structure in your formative years (a financial challenge).
  • You need to find time to do work away from the day-to-day pressure of a client. Again, this is a financial issue. Designers quoted lucky family situations and/or a large steady client as the enabler for creative freedom.
  • Pro-bono work often brings out the best in a designer, since “the client who is not paying has no right to interfere with the work”
  • Many designers are introverts, like to work by themselves, and stay in the front line of design work, i.e., they do not move into the management ranks.
  • Almost every designer talks about art versus design. I think deep in their hearts they regret not having made it as an artist.
An interesting book with many abstract concepts, it will resonate with somehow who designs day in, day out.

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