Design is a Job

Design is a Job is a book by Mike Monteiro. He runs the design agency Mule Design and speaks on his own podcast Lets Make Mistakes. He’s a straight talking guy (watch these two talks and you’ll see what I mean). He’s the perfect person, in fact, to write a book on how to get clients and get paid.

For the most part, we’re all good at our jobs. We spend most of our day in Photoshop or a code-editor. We’re thinking about responsive design, grid systems or typography. We’re good at that stuff. That’s only half of our job, though.

By and large, we’re not good at the other stuff. Valuing what we do; setting the right price for what we do; using contracts; presenting to clients; getting clients or even getting paid. If you’re like me, you’ll find that stuff hard. And if you find that stuff hard then you should go read this book.

The best part? It’s short and succinct. You’ve got work to do, but that’s Okay because this book will only take you a few hours to get through. It’s worth investing those few hours.

I’ve read the book twice now and on the second read I made rigorous notes. Here a few gems I picked up:

“Arguments are things to be designed.”

“Confidence doesn’t come from knowing you’re right – it comes from being okay with failing.”

“My friend once said that if you hand a client an estimate and slap them across the face and they complain about the slap, then the estimate wasn’t high enough.”

”… the value of your work to a particular client depends on what the client has to gain from that work. And the client is not buying time from you. They are buying work. The value of that work is what you need to charge them for.”

“First step to designing anything: Ask ‘Why are we doing this?’ If the answer isn’t clear, or isn’t clear to you, or just doesn’t exist, you can’t design anything. Stop working. Can you help set those goals? If so, do it.”

If I ran a design agency, I’d have one simple rule: everyone should read Design is a Job.