We're big fans of the A Book Apart series of books and have previously reviewed Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter. This month Rob read Design Is a Job and has since insisted that everyone else in the studio gets stuck into it too. He told us that no matter what role we play in the team we will all get something from this book, so it is currently being passed around. In the meantime, you can read Rob's full review below.
Before I had even opened Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro, I had heard nothing but rave reviews for this book and had high expectations. Those expectations were exceeded and it is quite frankly one of the most important books I've read in relation to my career.
Design Is a Job is the seventh book to be released by A Book Apart and it is summarised on their site as:
"Co-founder of Mule Design and raconteur Mike Monteiro wants to help you do your job better. From contracts to selling design, from working with clients to working with each other, this brief book is packed with knowledge you can't afford not to know."
That's so true. There's nothing like hearing about the experiences for someone who has been there and done it and Monteiro certainly has.
The key thing I took from the book as a whole is that it was reassuring. It was reassuring that we were doing a lot right at Toward but also reassuring that the issues we face as a creative agency aren't isolated to us. That leads to the second thing that I took from the book, confidence.
It's easy in any job to fall into a routine and be reactive. We're all guilty of that at times. Design Is a Job was a nice reminder that we need to step back and look at what we are doing and how we are doing it. It gave me the confidence to tackle certain issues and make changes as needed. Not being afraid to say no, standing your ground with certain decisions and sticking to your process are all vital, which the book details.
That's not to say that we trample all over clients in a stubborn manner. As Monteiro says in the book:
"Clients are the lifeblood of a healthy business. They are the oxygen in your bloodstream that keeps everything going."
He's so right of course and the book really did hammer home that we have a responsibility to educate clients rather than blame them and moan about them. I found the sections about relationships, feedback and payment to be especially useful and informative as they are things I deal with on away to day basis in my role as a Studio Manager.
That's another beauty of the book though, it's by no means only suitable for designers to read. Developers, project managers, copywriters, anyone in the industry would gain a lot from the book. With an engaging tone it was almost like I was chatting with a pal over a pint. I was learning lots without actually feeling like I was learning.
A clear sign that a book is good is when you finish reading it, open it back up and start again. That's what I did with Design Is a Job. A must read for anyone in the web industry. If you liked this review, take a look at the 'Designing for Emotion' review. Have you read it? Let us know what you thought in the comments.