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How to Grow as a Graphic Designer
Catharine Fishel’s collection of anecdotes and interviews in this quick read demonstrates the humanistic side of graphic designers. From selected contributors, we see how lessons are learned, mistakes are made, and firms rise from the ashes.

In How to Grow as a Graphic Designer, you’ll gain insight into how designers like Michael Bierut, Jeff Keedy, Noreen Morioka and Sean Adams, Terry Marks, Laura Zeck, and Jesse Doquilo overcame challenges and obstacles to become who they are today. While many themes exist beneath its pages, How to Grow as a Graphic Designer is really about questioning. Consider your motives, goals, progress, loyalties, values, and clients. Competing with yourself may be the best way to monitor your overall performance, as Jeff Keedy explains, “This is outside the client thing or of getting awards. You can look at yourself, measure everything up, and say, �I’m still not there.’”

There is no shortage of personal and professional advice in How to Grow as a Graphic Designer. Some of the quotes cited by Fishel read like they came from journal entries, and this lends an intimate quality to the book. Others resonate like advice from Fast Company or Fortune magazine, spurring you on with rational suggestions. Structurally, the book’s divided into four parts with titles like Who are you? Where do you want to go? Where to find support, and Arriving. Reading straight through moved the focus from the designer to the external environment, but you won’t miss anything if you opt to jump from chapter to chapter.

At the book’s conclusion, Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth reminds us that some of our most cherished goods (like award shows) are not good at all, and that creativity comes from accidents, making your own tools, and standing on other peoples’ shoulders. I expected something more than this reprinting. Why couldn’t Mau readdress issues or elaborate on the manifesto’s modern day relevance (or irrelevance) since its publication in 1998?

After reading Mau’s conclusion, I felt as if he summed up most of the book’s advice without the loving details its other contributors provided. The best part about How to Grow as a Graphic Designer is that it isn’t some bullet-pointed outline, yanked from Fast Company or Fortune magazine. Instead, the designers and artists share personal and intimate knowledge that they collected over time, from their biggest flops to huge revelations. Reading their words with Fishel’s commentary felt like a one to one dialog, a conversation.

Book Information
How to Grow as a Graphic Designer by Catharine Fishel
256 pages, Paperback
6.0 x 9.0 inches
Publisher: Allworth Press
ISBN: 1581153945
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Feb.15.2005 BY Jason A. Tselentis
Ricardo’s comment is:

I was just thumbing through this book in a store last weekend, Jason. Nice review; it confirms my initial impression of the book.

On Feb.15.2005 at 01:25 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Jason, I just have to say, you must have the most amazing collection of design books!

And I always appreciate the thouhtful analysis of your reviews too. It helpful in separating the wheat from the chaff.

On Feb.18.2005 at 02:12 PM
Steven’s comment is:

delete "It", insert "It's"

On Feb.18.2005 at 02:14 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Delete "It", insert "It's". (D'oh)

On Feb.18.2005 at 02:16 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Well, hell, I guess command-period doesn't stop a post, apparently. (He says red-faced.)

On Feb.18.2005 at 02:21 PM
Sonyl’s comment is:

Two things:

Steven: the �command-period’ comment just made me spit coffee all over my laptop. (Snagtop forgives you for it, however; it's not such an uncommon occurrence.)

Jason: your review of this book comes at a perfect time in my career, when I'm struggling with being a fresh-out-of-school designer in a firm where I don't really fit. As I wait to either see if things get better or a year passes so I can apply for other jobs without it looking (too) bad (whichever comes first,) I feel I need to grow as a designer in order to understand what it is I want out of design.

I ordered the book within moments of finishing your review. It should arrive shortly and, hopefully, this idealistic kid will get some good advice. Thanks for the review.

On Feb.20.2005 at 01:47 PM
Jason T.’s comment is:

Sonyl, glad to be of service. I do hope you find the book inspirational. And you are correct, looking inwards will help you see what you want. Looking at what other designers have or have not done will shape your mission.

On Feb.20.2005 at 09:12 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Hey Sonyl, glad to give you a laugh. I hope you were able to get all of that coffee cleaned up. And what's not that uncommon, the double-post or the coffee-spew? ; )

On Feb.22.2005 at 09:05 PM
camille’s comment is:

I love the book.. But i didn't like the front cover. It looks very dated :( Strange for a book that talks about graphic designers and their experiences?

On Sep.17.2008 at 03:23 AM