Readings 9 + 10 + 11

December 7, 2009

Chapters 2, 3 and 4 from How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
(How to find a job + Being freelance + Setting up a studio)

Each of these chapters could have been its own book. They need more room to stretch. That’s my sole criticism.

Tips on portfolios were useful. The anecdote of the young woman trying to open her portfolio only to have turned it upside down made me cringe and laugh at the same time. Awkward!

Even if I work at some huge soul-less firm and don’t have a workspace of my own, I want to make sure to have a fully-stocked home studio for tinkering in on the weekends (and early mornings!) (Skinny Laminx studio via sharesomecandy)

The prospect of the ultimate flexibility that accompanies being freelance is SO utterly appealing that I have to keep from quitting school, quitting my job, and running out into the world of graphic design to fend for myself. That said, the stability (financial and schedule) gained from a regular, full-time job is also more realistic and practical. My goal is to find a happy medium that allows me to take time off to hang out with my sisters AND that gets me up at the same time every morning. Working on freelance projects but in the company of others is the MOST appealing scenario this book has posed for my future working life. Having creative people around to bounce ideas off of PLUS having the freedom to take a nap after lunch sounds terrific.

The ULTIMATE cabin studio of Mel Kadel and Travis Millard (Via Fecal Face.) I would work here. Happily.

Skinny Laminx makes working for yourself look REALLY GOOD. Teatime anyone? (Via sharesomecandy)

I most appreciated the insight into the client-designer relationship and how it manifests in each of these three scenarios: working within an existing studio, working on your own, or setting up your own studio

The client-designer relationship is one that mystifies me. At the point we’re at, most of us design students have only worked for our parents, our family friends, our neighbors or the coffee shop down the street. The end objective for accepting such jobs is usually to boost the variety of work in our portfolio. We rarely get paid, and if we do, it’s measly. We don’t choose our clients and our clients don’t choose us: these relationships are the result of circumstance and convenience, not typical scenarios that pop up in the “real” design world.

A place to talk to clients, in the Minneapolis studios of Eight Hour Day. (Via sharesomecandy)

I also liked the idea of a craving for authorship as being the impetus to start one’s own studio. At least for a while, I’d like to continue having support to ease out of the school environment. But as soon as the work I’m making under the direction of others starts to feel stagnant or separate from my creative input, I’ll get my own digs. I’ll keep the notion of authorship in the back of my mind to help me pinpoint if I’m getting bored.

Can’t stop gawking at dream workspaces. APAK studio via sharesomecandy.

Considering authorship is another way to tie these three separate (but related) design existences together (working for another studio, being freelance, setting up your own studio.) In a freelance situation, you retain sole authorship of your work, your voice is heard and your aesthetic is obviously stated. This appeals to me the most, but I also am wary of diving into a situation where my skills and work are judged so directly until I feel comfortable in my design shoes! Must find that voice, must have that commanding use of type, must be SO GOOD before I break out on my own.

Some beautiful personal work by Lisa Congdon. (via sharesomecandy)

Margaret Richardson said in Art History class the other day, “Your life will start as soon as you start thinking of yourselves not as design students, but as designers.” She meant, “Do it now.” Make that mental switch and things will start to make more sense. The transition out of school won’t be so difficult.

Thanks, Margaret. Now, can you get me a job at Nike? (Just kidding.)


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