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Graphic Design: A User's Manual. Review

Updated on June 12, 2015
Graphic Design: A User's Manual
Graphic Design: A User's Manual | Source

Adrian Shaughnessy's essential graphic design book

This respected and experienced British designer's book should be essential reading for everyone in the design field; from those who are merely considering the career to those who have been working in the industry for many years. It's for all.

The unspoken aspects of design

Yesterday I wrote an article on the subject of design and, almost in passing, remarked that the discipline is so much more that just making things look great. But there is a lot more to the job than that and they are rarely, if ever, taught or discussed.

Design students often don't realise that the client / designer relationship is a matter that should be carefully considered.

Some examples from my career

It's only when you've been working in the industry that various dilemmas come to light. Here are just a few:

  • What do you do when a client wants work that conflicts with your own ideals? For example, the client who wants you to create a porn website or promote activities you disapprove of?
  • How do you deal with rejection? When you're in the 'real world' your work will be criticized more than it ever was at college.
  • You know that you've been sent copy that is just plain wrong. Facts are incorrect, figures are falsified. Are you going to accept it and add it to the brochure or advert?
  • How do you 'train' a client to give you plenty of notice about deadlines?

  • By the time your client has decided to employ you you, to create a new brand for example, they tend to have distinct and definite ideas about what they want. But you disagree...
  • Where do you find the balance between creating work that you're proud of (and that will be added to your portfolio) and the work your client wants you to do?
  • How do you deal with a client who has firm ideas about their website but knows nothing about the web?
  • How do you explain to your client that they cannot use copyright material?
  • How do you develop relationships with the other people in your industry? In the real world, you have to deal with printers, publishers, web hosting companies and many others.

I could carry on writing examples all day, all week, possibly much longer.

Listen to the author of this essential manual

How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

This book, by the same author is equally essential reading. We used to keep a copy of this in our studio and refer to it often.

In fact, junior staff were informed that they had to read it as their first project when they started working with us. This was also the case for non-design staff such as production managers.


Design tutorials

I have written many design tutorials on this site. Please see the information and links below where I have added a small selection. If you have any specific questions do let me know - I'm happy to help.

I hope they are helpful.

Create your own brand without a logo
Create your own brand without a logo | Source

When you are starting up a business, there are some huge expenses.

Eventually, you'll want to employ a design company to create your brand - your branding is such an important aspect of your company. But what can you do when you don't have the money ... or even a logo?

Create your own brand

Author resource box
Author resource box | Source

Why is it a good idea to create a graphic author resource box? If you're a writer, or if you have a blog, then this can be important for several reasons.

Find out more and see examples.

Design a graphic author resource box

Create photographic business cards
Create photographic business cards | Source

When money is tight, you might find that you have to design your business cards yourself. And do you really have to pay to have hundreds or thousands printed?

With this tutorial it's easy to create striking and effective business cards yourself.

Create and print photographic business cards.

Working with ampersands
Working with ampersands | Source

The humble ampersand can be a beautiful design object in its own right - if you choose the right one.

See how this beautiful glyph can be used in design work using text and see which fonts provide the finest examples.

Use the link below to learn more about this splendid and overlooked character.

Working with ampersands


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    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @smine27: It truly is. Thanks for dropping by!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      You point out some interesting things here. A great review on a book that sounds like aust read for graphic artists or those working towards becoming one.