Design Is a Job, by Mike Monteiro

I’m very excited for our latest release from A Book Apart available today, Mike Monteiro’s Design Is a Job. I’ve been working in design a while now and good handbooks on how to do it right are few and far between.

Years ago, I read Norman Potter’s What Is a Designer, a thin yet surprisingly dense book that attempts to quantify this dear profession. There’s truth to be found there, but the language is terse. Perhaps it’s an effort to dissuade all but the most brave; if you get to the end and you still want to be a designer, you may have earned it. This industry can beat you down and offer little reprieve, and Potter asks that you take it on the chin and ask for more. If I’d read it when I was still in design school, I might have changed my major.

Thankfully, Mike’s book takes a different path. Rather than trying to scare you off, it nudges you forward and says “I’ve got your back.” From the book’s introduction:

So I wrote you a book. It has a spine and by the time you’re done reading so will you.

Our reviewers who’ve read it remarked they wish they’d had this book before starting out. I gladly count myself among them, but its impact is bigger than that. Mike provides solid advice without attempting to chart a mythical single course that works every time. He speaks from experience, but doesn’t preach. He lays out what’s worked and what hasn’t for him and what he’s learned along the way.

If you’re smart, you can see how these lessons apply to doing business on your own or with others, but also how damn easily these things extend themselves to dealing with other humans in general. And it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a designer or not, what’s laid out here is universal.

Books like this are rare, people don’t typically talk about how they do business. When they do, it’s usually a snoozefest or some sort of smarmy business book. This is practical, honest, earnest, and from the gut.

You can preview a chapter from the book over at A List Apart, or see the talk that started it all, Mike Monteiro’s “Fuck You, Pay Me.”

I do wish I had this book when I started out, but hell, I’ve got it now and I’ve got the spine to show for it. Get your spine today.