Posted in category Library

I've had this book for some time, it's called 'How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul', by Adrian Shaughnessy. I often find myself picking it up and just randomly reading exerts from it and no matter how many times I read it, it's always enlightening and never grows old. If you haven't read it yet, then I suggest you go and buy yourself a copy right now. I've taken a couple of exerts from the book which always reminds me to try harder whenever I start to tire of a job.

Chapter 7 'Clients', page 108

I'm always suspicious of designers who blame everything on their clients. What they're doing is blaming their own shortcomings as designers on their clients. I'm often told by new (and not so new) designers that they don't get offered interesting jobs. Yet when I look at the projects they've worked on, the assertion rarely stands up. There is no such thing as a bad job, and the responsibility for a successful outcome rests firmly on the shoulders of the designer. Of course, it is true to say that designers occasionally find themselves in impossible situations, trapped in projects where they are powerless to act and where they are reduced to slave labour. But in most cases, the eventual outcome of any project is in the hands of the designer. Failure to accept this leads to unhappiness and mediocre work.

Chapter 9 'The creative process', page 139

Sometimes briefs are simply wrong, and it is occasionally necessary to disobey them. 'Wrong' briefs make assumptions and outline premises that are incorrect, feeble or short-sighted. When you spot this, you have a choice. You can rewrite the brief; you can walk away frm it; or you can do what is asked of you. There's yet another option, and that is to disobey the brief and do what you think is right. With this approach you risk everything: you risk incurring the client's displeasure, and you risk being sacked from a project or thrown off a pitch list. But if you are confident that you are right, and you can live with the consequences, it's worth following your instincts and being disobedient.


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Richard Brown | Freelance interaction designer, digital creative & front-end developer.

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