Book Review: Burn Your Portfolio

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Hi readers! I came across this book unexpectedly at my local Barnes and Noble and have been wanting to share it with you ever since. In a nutshell, Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, But Should, recognizes that it takes a lot more than a design school degree and a killer portfolio to succeed as a creative professional. Written by Michael Janda, owner of the design firm Riser, this book spews out a ton of real-world advice in a relatable and funny tone. With chapters focusing on relationship building, managing difficult clients, effective production processes and more, Burn Your Portfolio opened my eyes to the many working parts of the design industry beyond stellar knowledge of Adobe CC. While I highly recommend giving this book a read as it is jam-packed with far too much knowledge for me to share with you, I will include a few of my favorite tips that I highlighted as I read. Enjoy!

  • “Teamwork, client skills, communication, social aptitude, production speed, and business savvy all play a GIGANTIC part in what will make you successful as a graphic designer.”
  • “…your friends will willingly and freely market your business, so it would serve you well to make a lot of friends”
  • “You want to be a graphic designer? That means you’re a designer, a writer, a programmer, a photographer, and sometimes an illustrater…you often have to fill the holes left by your client’s inability to deliver necessary assets.”
  • “Bad FPO image usage can scar a great design and keep a client from recognizing the greatness behind a comp…”
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The Book with No Pictures

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a nice and relaxing holiday season. As I was finishing up some of my last-minute Christmas shopping I came across this children’s book at Barnes & Noble. The contrast of its plain white cover and straightforward title against the surrounding illustration-heavy children’s books caught my eye. Upon further investigation, I was delighted to discover that the book relied solely on typography for visual interest. I found this concept to be extremely refreshing and intriguing. After a bit of research I learned that the book is a #1 New York Times bestseller and written by B.J. Novak, the Emmy award-winning actor, writer and executive producer of The Office. The Book with No Pictures calls for the reader to say aloud every word, no matter how strange or goofy they might be, leaving kids giggling, laughing and I’m assuming begging to hear the story again and again.

Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

I came across this novel as I was browsing Barnes and Noble and it quickly became my favorite book that I have read this year. In brief, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore tells the story of Clay Jannon, an out of work San Francisco designer who currently finds himself working as the late-night sales clerk at a bookstore. But this is no ordinary bookstore as the customers are few and far between and never make purchases but rather check out single volumes full of unreadable code. The story goes on to follow Clay as he tries to unravel the mysteries behind the bookstore and its patrons. While the average reader will find the plot fun and suspenseful, I think this book would be truly appreciated by those in the graphic design field. The story is told through a designer’s mind and thus there are many inner dialogs appreciating the beauty and details of typefaces and hand bound books. The story also manages to weave in elements of letterpress printing as well as new technologies in development at the Google campus in Silicon Valley. I found it to be a refreshingly modern and relatable novel. If you have some spare time, I would definitely recommend adding it to your summer reading list.