Customer Reviews: How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer
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on June 17, 2009
The title is all wrong! This is NOT a 'how to' book and it does not teach you how to think like a designer. I wish the title were not so deceptive.

Having said that, what it is, is a mesmerising collection of interviews with 20 well-known names in the world of design... Milton Glaser, Peter Saville, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, Neville Brody to name a few. It is an absolutely delightful read.

At the end of the day, you may not learn anything from reading this book (what with one designer contradicting the other), but what you do get is realization that there isn't one single formula that makes a designer... they're all so different and unique in their thinking and their methods.

(This book would be a 5-star, but I HAD to deduct a star for the wrong title!)
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on May 19, 2009
This book peers into the world of who's who in the graphic design profession. To a graphic design student, these luminaries are like the mythological Greek gods and goddesses of whom unyielding worshipers pay endless homage to. But you're in for a surprise, because in addition to them sharing their success stories and process, they become mere mortals as they also share their shortcomings, insecurities and vulnerabilities--causing them to appear that much more real, human, and "approachable". We see what makes them tick and what ignites their passion for design. There seems to be a common thread among many of the interviewed designers in the book--that they constantly re-evaluate and question their own work--just as any budding or seasoned designer does.

It's a relatively quick read. You can easily get immersed in the content, as it is very engaging. When reading, each designer's personality leaps off the page. You can get a sense of who the ego-maniacal type-A people are--who seek objective approval or validation of their work--and who the far less self-centered ones are, as they are not interested in "proving" themselves worthy of being called a designer. Some designers appear confident and overzealous, while some seem to be weathered and despondent. Overall, it's a good balance. ( sidebar: Chip Kidd is pure comedy gold!)

After reading this book, I would feel more comfortable initiating a conversation with Paula Scher if I randomly bumped into her in an elevator, or subway platform, rather then get all choked up in awe and fumble my words.

The book appropriately closes with an emotionally charged interview with Massimo Vignelli, which put quite simply is hilarious! Vignelli is funny without trying to be funny. I found myself laughing out loud as I imagined him in his well intentioned, passive, yet comically dismissive Italian accent as he repeatedly proclaims his disdain for vulgarity in design. His playful, yet calculated madness is palpable. Wonderful!

This book won't teach you graphic design, nor does it claim to. It merely offers insight into the world of graphic design's usual suspects, and then some.

Highly recommended for students, professors, designers and design enthusiasts alike.

Bravo Debbie!
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on October 26, 2012
The title is a little misleading and might make you think it's a weird how to/recipe book for aspiring designers.
It's none of that. It's actually an excellent collection of interviews with top designers. They answer questions in a honest, open way.
And their experience is too valuable to miss.
Read it and keep it to read again as your career progresses.
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on May 17, 2012
In my personal design career I haven't reached out to many other designers besides those that I've worked with or knew in school. Over the years I've generated many ideas in isolation, both positive and negative, about the industry, processes, industry's future, my own future, and my own viability and longevity within the industry. This book was interesting because at different points I actually found it as a pep talk cheering me on as I read about designers with similar, or even dead on exact, ideas as I had come to on my own. Other times, for the designers with different ideas, I found my mind opening up to their different concepts. Over all this book was very much worth the cost and the time to read. Interestingly though, as the author points out herself, the book really didn't have anything to do with 'how to' do anything! It was more of an over view of different designers and their ideas which I actually found more valuable than a traditional 'how to' anyway! Thanks to the author for putting it together!

-Zombie Jake
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on November 29, 2014
You get a glimpse of the diversity of personalities that have made a name for themselves in design. The book, like many others have noted, has misleading title. But it piqued my interest like it was intended to. I'm glad I came across it mainly because it is a breath of fresh air,
taking the focus off design technique and allowing one to understand the context of field of graphic design better. You get a little history and a little insight into common struggles facing designers. I wasn't wild about Millman's interviewing. I recommend "creativity" by mihaly Csikszentmihalyi if you like this book's style.
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on January 9, 2015
Love this book! It would be 5 stars but how far off the title is from what the book actually is lost it a star. This will not teach you to think like a graphic designer. However if your a graphic designer it's like learning our history straight from the heroes who were there. I love these interviews so much. This book is just fantastic!
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on June 2, 2009
The biggest flaw of this book is maybe it's title. It makes it sound like a cheap "how to..." book, making you think you'll be told some sort of very secret graphic design techniques. The book however is a collection of interviews with some of the best designers nowadays. Some funny, some eye-opening, some already classic and maybe some even out-dated, all of them are a pleasure to read, that's for sure.
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on September 13, 2013
I'm new to the field of graphic design, so I hadn't heard of any of these designers before, but I loved their various approaches to the field and beautiful remarks on life, love, and success. Debbie Millman does an outstanding job of interviewing and probing in the right places. It's inspired me to not only delve more deeply into the field of graphic design, but also to possible write a book with a similar format one day.
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on November 9, 2008
It's really "The Best How To..." book, because it's not a "The Best How To..." book. Nice to see the "human side" of Design Gurus like Glaser, Bierut, Scher or Vignelli among many others.
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on February 1, 2013
This book has been very inspirational to me. I finished within a few days. It's not only about or for graphic designers. They interviewers touch on design of course, but also philosophy, religion, anecdotes for life and everything in between.
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